I am an embedded developer who is undergoing his 4th year in his first workplace. The relationship with the companions is great, and I have no complaints at the moment for work conditions (timetable and salary).

The problem arises when I look back and see that along these four years, given that:

  1. Our projects have a scope of years
  2. Our boss wants to constantly reuse the hardware developed previously, which can be understood cost-wise

...my spectrum of knowledge is very limited when it comes to tools, workflows and technologies, whereas other companies are always dealing with cutting-edge tech.

Therefore, and given that neither the boss nor the company is willing to invest a single penny in my training (as I do perform well in my project) I had to decide between jumping ship or self-directing my training in the company.

I decided the latter, as my boss is indeed very receptive to new tech and workflow proposals. So I train myself at home and in idle moments at work, and propose new developments to the boss.

  • Do you think I took the right decision?
  • From an employer point of view is it the right way to tackle with the explained problem? Mean, in a hypothetical job interview tomorrow, is it a thing I could take advantage of?

Any suggestions are welcome, thank you beforehand and sorry for the huge brick of text.

  • 1
    Very related question I asked about a year ago. Not sure it's the exact same but a very similar situation.
    – enderland
    Sep 10 '14 at 14:40

I think everyone should take responsibility for their own skill development in their career. Ideally, everyone would put more emphasis on working at companies that provide training and employers would get the message. You did the right thing.

Make sure there aren't any unintended consequences of your actions.

  1. Don't stop asking and suggesting the company look into new things and provide training. If your boss does any type of performance review or wants feedback on how to make things better, don't give up on this issue.
  2. Don't leave your colleagues out of this solution. You're improving your skills and that is good, but be willing to share with others and encourage them to look into new things as well.
  3. Don't assume new is always better. Try to learn enough about new technologies to be objective when evaluating them AND make sure they are a good fit for your situation. Hardware may be cheaper than developers in some areas, but embedded isn't always one of them. You have to realistically consider the constraints.

Unfortunately, this may be something you're going to mention in an exit-interview.

  • 1
    "Don't assume new is always better." - this alone is gold.
    – NotMe
    Sep 10 '14 at 15:37

You are always the party most responsible for your own professional development. While there is a huge body of knowledge showing that learning organizations are organizations that last; unfortunately, many small companies either don't realize this or don't have the funds to support it.

Because your company falls into this group of "un-learning organizations", you are going to have to build your skillset yourself. Honestly speaking though, its in your best interests to continue to hone your craft. What you don't want to do is get very comfortable with a niche technology for a lengthy period of time. If you do, when that job is no longer there, you will be amazed at how hard it will be to get a new position.

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