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If I learn a new technology at work (Ruby on Rails), and I learned it completely from publicly available websites, does that knowledge belong to my company?

Am I allowed to teach others that technology (say, by writing some notes for them)? If I took notes on that technology at work, is it unethical/wrong for me to share my notes? What if I look at the notes whilst rewriting them? What if I rewrite them from memory?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about navigating the workplace but rather a hypothetical situation. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 2 '19 at 20:17
  • In what sense do you mean "okay?" Legally? Ethically? According to company policy? – dwizum Apr 2 '19 at 20:18
  • @dwizum OP originally included 'legally' in addition to unethical but we can't answer a question like that here. – BSMP Apr 2 '19 at 20:18
  • @BSMP - indeed, the reason why I'm asking is to help determine if the OP's original intent for the question is off topic or not. – dwizum Apr 2 '19 at 20:22
  • Are you planning on teaching a formal class or just sharing information with friends? How would your employer know that you taught someone else Ruby on Rails and why do you think they would care? – BSMP Apr 2 '19 at 20:25
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If I learn a new technology at work (Ruby on Rails), and I learned it completely from publicly available websites, does that knowledge belong to my company?

The knowledge doesn't belong to your company. Knowledge is in your head.

Am I allowed to teach others that technology (say, by writing some notes for them)? If I took notes on that technology at work, is it unethical/wrong for me to share my notes? What if I look at the notes whilst rewriting them? What if I rewrite them from memory?

You can share your personal notes with others. There is nothing wrong with that.

You cannot share your company's code. You cannot share your company's trade secrets. And you may not be able to share presentations (notes, slides, etc) that originated in your company.

For example, if on company time you develop a presentation to teach others in your company a technology, you are not entitled to share that outside of your company without permission.

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    This is deep into IANAL territory, but I'd be wary of using anything that could be considered a work product (a thing produced in the course of carrying out a project for an employer), which could include personal notes made on company time, for outside purposes. I'm not aware of a bright line standard, but the OP seems like they're interested in minimizing risk. – Upper_Case Apr 2 '19 at 20:29
  • I would guess that even personal notes would be considered a work product. – Gregory Currie Apr 3 '19 at 8:36
  • +1 Some companies have pretty wide clauses on what IP gets transferred to them when you join up. Writing a tutorial, wiki, or blog post about technologies you learn may well be part of that IP, especially when working on niche areas where doing so might (conceivably) give your competitors an advantage. Just something to keep in mind. – rath Apr 3 '19 at 11:15
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The generic "knowing" of a technology isn't owned by anyone and good luck proving you DO own the "knowing" of something. Because if that's the case we would be falling down a rabbit hole of knowledge... At some point the knowledge is what is is.

As long as you use no resources or concepts attached to your work to demonstrate or teach the technology, that's fine. However, if the company pays you to build a wiki of links of sorts, that cannot be shared. Even though that's publicly available, you can't just share that.

So, you can share the knowledge, sure. But ANY resource that is an aggregate of the effort that is paid for by the company or developer while you work for them belongs to them.

For example, if you have an excel for your dev team with all the links you found with all the resources to learn with notes and bullet points and images. You CANNOT share that.

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