This article describes some work in progress. I’m sharing to get feedback form the community and there are questions in bold. You can answer in the comments, by replying in social media or emailing me.

This is an oft misunderstood topic. I used to put a low value on training. During my time in tech I am mostly self-taught, figuring things out with the help of Google, reading documentation and generally looking to see how others have solved similar problems. This has worked for me on the whole, but on some occasions it’s definitely extended my learning period. Stepping out to take a course could have helped me understand some fundamentals sooner, which would have allowed me to build up my knowledge more quickly.

I have also come to learn through life that what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for other people (obvious, I know, but I was stuck in that rut for a long time). For some training is the best way of learning, for others like me, figuring stuff out in a more ad-hoc manner is our normal approach. I’m no expert in learning styles, but I’m sure there are many nuances to this. Our job as leaders is to allow our people to tailor their learning experience to their needs.

Certifications & Training Paths

Having said this, I also am aware that we need to level-up the skills of our team. I find most engineers, even senior ones, have gaps in their foundational knowledge. This is only natural in such a complex and dynamic environment as ours, but what can we do about it?

This is where structured certification or training paths come in. These gather together the knowledge you need to be an expert in a particular technology. They ensure you fill all the gaps, and in the case of a certification, they provide a nice certificate to prove that to your clients or future employers of your team members.

At Nolte we are working to put together a list of certifications or training paths to cover off on the requirements for different engineers. It’s still in its early stages, but I’d like to share some important ones:

In addition to the above we also expect our engineers to train on core web and engineering principles, such as performance, SEO, accessibility, security, systems design and engineering fundamentals like object-oriented programming.

And we expect training on the “soft” skills, which are so important to being a successful engineer. These include problem solving, technical writing, presentation of ideas, risk management, mentorship and business analysis. Do you know any certifications focussed on the general soft skills required by all engineers?

It’s not one-size-fits-all

Our training paths provide guidance, but it’s up to individuals to figure out what’s required with their managers. Certifications or the completion of a path are not necessary for promotion at Nolte, but they will help accelerate the process in most cases.

We’re still in the process of defining our training paths, any feedback would be wonderful. How do you organise training for your engineering team?