I am a software developer and I have worked at this company for over a year. This is my first job.

I am the only developer on this project and there is a project manager beside me who doesn't have so much technical knowledge or time for answering my questions. The project didn't have any documentation. I had to learn everything about work on my own so far. At some point, I feel that I stuck to the same things. I am saying this because there is no one in the company who could help me to solve this problem.

Recently, they said me that they want me to have more responsibility and make decisions about new versions of the product. For example, they'd like me to decide which technology would be best to use. I don't have that knowledge or experience. I can research on the internet, but I don't have time to learn all of the possible technologies in-depth and compare them because of my current work load.

I think that if I undergo training, it might be helpful and give me the time to learn things I need to know. How should I bring the subject up to my employer? Should I research about possible training courses first, or ask for training and wait my boss to decide?

Of course, I can say that I can't take the responsibility, but that could mean that I miss possible opportunity to improve myself and go forward. What should I do in this situation? If anyone else had similar experience I would appreciate if they share what they did.

edit: I looked this question.


6 Answers 6


Since you are tasked with the project completion and you know you own skills set best, you should be able to figure out what you know and what you don't know and what it is that you don't know that you need to learn. At which point, you must have a pretty good idea what training you need.

I have been proceeding so far on the implicit assumption that there is absolutely no one at your company that you can consult and ask how to solve your problem and how to get up to speed to solve your problem. If my assumption is not correct, then you should contact your in-house experts and pick their brains as to how to solve your problem. As for locating the in-house experts, your project manager and your management may be able to help you.

Your next step is to do some leg work and work out the training options that are available and screen for those which are most likely to be helpful and most comfortable to you. If the training options are technology specific, then you need to work out which technologies are most likely to help you finish your project.Asking for expert help on forums about the technologies within the context of the problem you are trying to solve may point you in the right direction if you don't have any in-house experts to turn to.

I don't think that showing up at your boss's office and asking for training without any idea as to what training you need - I don't think that doing that reflects well on you. I don't like showing up at professional meetings unprepared unless there is nothing I can do about it.


Get out of there. This is a bad situation for both you and them. Someone's first job should never be the only role of that type in the company without a senior person to learn from.

The company should have known this. The fact that they hired someone into this role means one of:

  • They have no understanding for the role you are performing. All they know is they need some "code written", so they hired a software engineer. Since they don't know anything more, all software engineers look alike. This means you will be blamed for anything that doesn't work, and won't get any appreciation for anything clever or above and beyond you do.

  • They bought on price only. Again, all software engineers look alike to them, so the cheapest one right out of school will do.

You should never have accepted this job, but being right out of school you can be forgiven for not knowing that. The company should have known better, so they are being stupid, cheap, and/or simply don't give a crap about your professional development.

Like I said, get outta there.

  • 1
    "... there is a project manager beside me who doesn't have ... time for answering my questions." - I can't imagine any more obvious sign that you are in a dysfunctional organization. May 30, 2014 at 15:08
  • 3
    I would downvote this answer if I could. It doesn't answer the question asked, nor be very helpful in truth. Everything you say MAY be true, but the OP asked a question and you are not answering it.
    – CGCampbell
    May 30, 2014 at 15:57
  • @CGCa: This may not be a direct answer to the question, but nonetheless I think it is important information relevant to the OP's situation as he described it. Not all valid responses to questions are direct answers. And yes, I think it is helpful to the OP. It is suggesting a course of action to directly deal with the stated problem. May 30, 2014 at 18:16
  • I would put my signature here same as well. Jun 1, 2014 at 22:49

Sounds like you are at the point where you are trying to transition from a Junior developer to a Mid-Level. These transitions are tough and are going to take a lot of your personal time. You should look into training sites like PluralSight and Wintellect.

Now, to answer your question, how do I approach my boss about training. Bosses don't like to spend money on training for the sake of making you smarter. They want ROI on any investment they make. So, you'll need to do a lot of research before approaching them about a training. You need to make sure whatever training you are taking will directly benefit the company (help start/finish/improve a successful project) once the training is done.

At my previous job, I was very successful in getting my boss to approve trainings. Usually, I would do LOTs of research on my own time and even start the project using the new technology. Once he saw there was a benefit to what I was doing, he was willing to pay for training "to get me to the next level".

He told me during an annual review that he approved most of my trainings (and did not do the same for a co-worker) because I got started on my own and had proven the class to be beneficial before even asking for the training. Where as my co-worker was just asking for classes in a technology that he had no knowledge of and most of his time would be spent learning the basics.


From what you're saying, you think you would be capable of making more senior tech-related decisions, if only you had more time to research and learn about the relevant technologies, but your workload prevents you from doing as much as they'd like.

If you want to continue in a decision making role, quite often you have to give up on doing all of the hands-on work yourself - it's just the nature of having broader responsibilities.

I'd suggest you try and schedule a meeting with your boss, project manager, and/or whoever else is appropriate and explain that you love the way things are going, but is there any scope for taking someone else junior on, as the workload is too great right now?

You can also mention that you think more training about areas X and Y might be helpful to take things forwards. If you have your eyes on any training courses make sure they're priced up and you have dates and justifications as to why you think they'll be useful.

Remember that if a position of seniority seems useful to you, you'll impress everyone a lot more by showing initiative rather than waiting for opportunities to fall into your lap.


I think that if I undergo training, it might be helpful and give me the time to learn things I need to know. How should I bring the subject up to my employer?

Hopefully, you have some sort of regular one-on-one meeting with your manager. If so, this would be a great topic.

Simply say something like "Hey, boss. I know you want me to have more responsibility and make decisions about new versions of the product. I'm really excited about doing that, and I think with a bit of training, I could really hit the ground running."

If you don't have regular discussions, just ask your boss for a few minutes of her/his time, and bring up the same topic.

Should I research about possible training courses first, or ask for training and wait my boss to decide?

It's always better to approach your boss with a solution, rather than just a problem, when you can.

If you do some research ahead of time, you can add to your discussion by saying something like "... and here's a course I found that would fit into my work schedule and really help me be even more productive."

When people on my team come to me with a problem, along with a proposed solution, not only does it make it far more easier to approve the expense, but I gain a sense of "ownership" from the individual. I get a sense that he/she really cares and really wants to succeed, as opposed to just complaining about a problem.


If you do some research ahead of time,you can add to your discussion by saying something like:

Here's a course I found that would fit into my schedule and really help me be even more productive.

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