I work for a large hardware manufacturer in Europe. I work on the software development required for products. Since it is a hardware manufacturer I work for, which does software required to sell their hardware, but is not known for producing software, I have to teach lots of software skills to myself, working on weekends and evenings. The skills that I want to pick up are generic -- e.g., software design patterns, LLVM, Algorithms, etc., with an intent to:
build up my public portfolio
speed up development while I am at work.
Without the extra time I put over evenings and weekends, I do not think that I can call myself a competitive software developer. I would like to stay competitive to keep my professional options open as long as I work.
I asked my company to acknowledge that I work in the evenings and weekends using my own time and resources, and sent a link to my public respositories. As expected, the company came back claiming ownership of my work, or as an alternative, asking me to commit in the name of the company.
I am reluctant to commit in the name of the company since it will take away the freedom to experiment (company guidelines, etc), and also do not want to stick the company name for free. Second, I am unwilling to pass the ownership of my weekend work to the company (at any cost) since it is part of my public portfolio, and my creative expression.
I understand the legal standpoint, but how does it work for people who are constantly upskilling themselves via courses (e.g., Udemy, Udacity, Coursera, which require software development that ends up in some public repository)? Relying on my company alone to keep ahead of the curve in terms of skills is unrealistic (it is not a software company, but a hardware company that also does software). Additionally, lot of employers expect to see code samples before interview, so my public repository serves that additional purpose.
What are my options?
Clarifications, based on discussions so far:
- I am not asking the company to reimburse me for my off-time work, nor do I intend to ask for any compensation.
- I told my company about my evening and weekend "work" for (a) transparency (b) Avoid that in future all my work could be claimed as an IP of the company under a (seemingly) over-arching legal provision "we (the company) owes IP for anything even tangentially related to our business"; or in other words "Any code you write belongs to us because you're our employee, period?" (thanks, @BSMP).
- No company resources (e.g., licenses, hardware, time) were used. My public projects rely on open-source tools only.
- The work I do is purely for developing my skills as a software developer with (obviously) an intent to improve the productivity and quality in office (or, anywhere I professionally work).