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An Open Source World Demands Open-Minded Thinking When it Comes to IT Training

Today’s open source software (OSS) world is filled with successful organizations benefiting from the cost savings, abundant support, advanced security and overall flexibility and speed open source delivers. But the software comes with its own set of complications, especially when it comes to upskilling and on boarding your IT staff to deploy and support it within your enterprise. Keeping up with the latest technologies and IT certifications is challenging enough, but the proliferation of open source software languages, frameworks and libraries has created a mishmash of technology with obscure vendor responsibility and learning paths for IT professionals. Unlike past decades where dedicated IT products came from well-known vendors with comprehensive, dedicated training and certification programs that were easy to follow and complete, OSS has muddied the waters at a time when the pace of technological change is faster than ever. How can IT staff possibly keep up with this rapid transition – and more importantly – is your organization prepared to support these employees?

The Importance of Training Employees

Stepping back to look at the importance of IT training on the whole, IDC estimates that one hour of training saves five hours of lost productivity i, and without this ongoing learning, employee output performance drops 25% every four years.ii But what if you lose them altogether? According to The Work Institute, the number one reason employees leave their jobs is lack of career development, iii and replacing each one costs an employer 33% of that worker’s annual salaryiv. Throw in the open source technology curve ball and suddenly you’re looking at an unproductive IT staff with potentially one foot out the door.  

Ongoing IT training and certifications – and any employee training programs for that matter are about employee confidence, engagement, empowerment, productivity, satisfaction and retention. It’s proven that happy employees are more productive employees who stay longer, resulting in even more benefits for your company beyond those open source already delivers. The question is, do you want to be like Motorola who gained 30% in overall productivity within three years for every dollar spent on staff training programsvii? Or will you fall into the camp of companies losing $13.5 million a year per 1,000 employees from ineffective trainingviii?

The Impact of Continuous IT Training on Employee Satisfaction & Productivity

Although continuous technology training may seem obvious to many, 70% of executives say current employees lack the necessary tech and computer skills required for their jobsv. Companies everywhere are handcuffed by budgetary constraints, lack of employee time to participate in training and a lack of appropriate training direction. Many also fear once an employee is trained, they will leave but in a Middlesex University Institute for Work Based Learning study, only 23% of workers stated that they viewed training as a way to increase their skills before leaving for new employmentvi.

Today’s open source technology environments add another layer of complexity for these organizations and for the IT staff themselves. Knowing what training to take, when to take it and where to take it can be a mystery with so many combined technologies involved and a total lack of standardization. That’s why it’s important to find the right training programs and providers for both existing IT employees looking to elevate their skills and new hires that need to get up to speed quickly. 

What to Look for in Your Next Training Provider

  • Up-to-date, vendor-certified OSS course topics and content from the most relevant technology brands and experienced instructors. Open source is challenging enough so having clearly-defined learning paths is critical. Additionally, any IT training undertaken should be tailored to both your organizational and your employees’ needs.
  • A range of training program formats from in-person to online to ensure the right fit for your IT employees. For example, often eLearning is great to ensure IT staff is at the same baseline of knowledge on all relevant OSS technology within your organization but once that base has been established, for ultimate team productivity, more in-person courses can then be undertaken for deeper knowledge.
  • In-depth consulting time to identify what OSS-related training is really needed, what IT staff requires the training (and whether they have the right baseline knowledge to participate and learn effectively), what timeframe is really available for this training and what budget is there to work with. Every organization is different so this initial “skills assessment” may be the most important step you take to ensure the best possible return on investment down the road. 

Open source software may be free but to leverage its full potential, it’s important to have an open mind and willingness to invest in complementary IT training. It’s also important to ensure you have the right path, program and partner to conquer these challenging technology times.

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Sources:

i, IDC, Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide and U.S. IT Education and Certification Services, 2018, https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US42761218

ii, IDC, Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide and U.S. IT Education and Certification Services, 2018, https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US42761218

iii, The Work Institute, 2017 Retention Report, https://www.benefitnews.com/news/avoidable-turnover-costing-employers-big?brief=00000152-14a7-d1cc-a5fa-7cffccf00000

iv, The Work Institute, 2017 Retention Report, https://www.benefitnews.com/news/avoidable-turnover-costing-employers-big?brief=00000152-14a7-d1cc-a5fa-7cffccf00000

v, Daily Infographic, The Tech Skills Gap: By the Numbers, https://www.dailyinfographic.com/understanding-tech-skills-gap

vi, Middlesex University’s Insitute for Work Based Learning, https://www.onlinestore.mdx.ac.uk/product-catalogue/institute-for-work-based-learning

vii, Entepreneur.com, How Investing in Employee Training Benefits Your Business, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/275842

viii, HR Drive, Is Formal Workplace Training Becoming Less Relevant?, https://www.hrdive.com/news/is-formal-workplace-training-becoming-less-relevant/434094/

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