Does your company demand that you engage in some sort of continuous education?
A couple of weeks ago I spent a day training a bunch of engineers from a company in California about firmware issues. What surprised and delighted me is the outfit's policy. All employees, from janitors to executive management, must take at least 25 hours of training per year. On the company's dime. Engineers are encouraged to get 40 hours/year--a full week away from the exigencies of product development--to learn to be more efficient and effective.
Of course, this is in California where clever accountants know how to stiff the State for some percentage of those costs. But the company still bears a substantial burden, plus the cost of yanking engineers off of their projects for a week a year.
Will your company re-imburse "certifications" such as Project Mgmt or Six Sigma or Lean? Many do not, but hire to some extent based on such certifications. No easy answers. My opinion is that engineers should save 10% of their salary to apply toward future-proofing education in their current field or a new technology that is replacing that which they have mastered, and really do the work it takes to stay valuable.
See, here's the thing. My compoany does have their mandatory training, but like most mandated requirements, it's not usually what the engineers need. Company mandated courses are more generic, some mostly geared to "covering their corporate hind ends." Things like intellectual property, trade secrets, international regs on arms trade, that sort of thing, on a periodic basis.
Necessary stuff, I suppose, but what is most important for engineers is to have instilled in them, back during undergraduate years, that it is their own responsibility to keep themselves educated and up to date. These days, that has become a lot easier to do than it was 40 years ago. This can be a combination of company subsidized courses, at the formal end of the spectrum, to individual engineers digging up reference material and putting in some serious study time.
My company encourages this. I put much more importance on this type of training than I do the company-generic mandated stuff.
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