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I'm a junior developer and I really want to learn the technologies I use in the company I work for (mainly web development). However, they don't offer any training courses because most, if not all, of my peers are senior developers. The only resource they provide is a library of books, but most of the material is advanced and of reference.

Now, I was thinking about asking them to buy me a subscription to Pluralsight (online videos). I had a trial subscription and I loved it, I learned a lot. It costs about 300 dollars a year, which is about a quarter of my monthly salary. I have absolutely no idea how much it could cost for more people.

I'm really not sure whether I'm supposed to pay this myself or ask the company to do it. Technically I can afford it but since this would greatly benefit the work I do shouldn't they support it in a way?

Also, the company needs certain amount of people to be certified in some technologies to be able to improve its status. Taking these classes would enable me to sit for these exams and get certified too. Granted, this would also improve the looks of my CV when it comes to look for a new job, so it isn't just a benefit for them.

What should I do?

EDIT: the only big downside I see in them paying for this is that I assume that they will want to make sure that I'm actually learning. I really don't want the pressure... I prefer to learn for fun and at my own pace.

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    It never hurts to ask. All they can say is no :) But if it is what they are paying you to do then training should be something that they wish to invest in you. – Jane S Jun 25 '15 at 4:57
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    “I prefer to learn for fun and at my own pace” — well, if you’re set on doing it for fun and don’t want any obligations attached to it at all, then paying for it yourself it definitely the way to go. – Paul D. Waite Jun 25 '15 at 11:04
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    @JaneS In Europe (or at least in Italy) the only normal way to discuss a salary is monthly. Week payments simply don't exist (you get paid every xx day of the month, not every week) and yearly salaries are seldom used in everyday usage. 1200€ monthly is about 16-18k€ a yearly depending on how many months you get paid (you generally get paid 13, sometimes 14 month salaries). Not a huge salary but surely not a salt mine. – Bakuriu Jun 25 '15 at 11:56
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    @Bakuriu In Australia we always use annual salary. And given the "300 dollars a year" preceding it, I simply assumed like for like :) – Jane S Jun 25 '15 at 11:58
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    If you are in the US and you purchase it for "work purposes", which you are since naturally you want to learn, you can write it off as a tax expense. – JonH Jun 25 '15 at 13:39
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I'm really not sure whether I'm supposed to pay this myself or ask the company to do it. Technically I can afford it but since this would greatly benefit the work I do shouldn't they support it in a way?

EDIT: the only big downside I see in them paying for this is that I assume that they will want to make sure that I'm actually learning. I really don't want the pressure... I prefer to learn for fun and at my own pace.

Normally, this would be a no-brainer. Seeking training to make you better at your job is something most managers I know would welcome. Far too often, folks don't bother putting any extra effort into learning and advancing.

If you need training to do your job well, you should come up with a learning model that works for you (courses, seminars, books, websites, mentoring, etc), and present it to your company. You would explain what you are asking for, the costs, the benefits to you in your role, and the benefits to your company.

Most companies have a training budget. So if you approached them at the right time, in the right way, with reasonable requests, you would often get a Yes.

But your last paragraph could be a bit of an issue.

Whenever I've had folks on my team take some paid training, I do indeed want to make sure that some real learning is occurring. Sometimes a certificate of completion or an exam provides that. Usually, I expect the newly-trained employee to prepare and present materials to the rest of the team. That demonstrates learning, promotes the training process as a good thing for others, and often helps the rest of the team learn as well.

Since you indicate you don't want such "pressure" and want to do things on your "own pace", your request may not fit into the model of paid training in your company. As @Wayne wisely suggests - there are many free ways to get training that you might consider.

The only way you'll know for sure is to ask.

Talk about the specifics of what you want to do and why. Make sure you mention the cost. And then learn what it is you'll have to do in return. If it works for you, then you are on your way to learning!

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    +1 for the comment on the "at my own pace" observation. If you want to learn at your own pace, pay for it yourself, or find free resources. If you want someone else to pay, you learn at their pace. – Wayne Jun 25 '15 at 12:09
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    Thanks Joe. Indeed, my company pays for our exams (which are pretty expensive I think). I think I'm gonna pay it myself. – Maria Ines Parnisari Jun 26 '15 at 3:29
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    Heads up: I bought a suscription for pluralsight for $10 + the company is giving me 2 weeks of paid time so that I can train myself. So I think I got the best of both worlds: time to study provided by the company + resources paid by me :) – Maria Ines Parnisari Jul 6 '15 at 4:54
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    Ok new heads up... A colleague (older than me) sort of joked around the fact that I'm not doing any actual work. How do I deal with this? Technically I earned this training because I worked hard (my boss told me), but I was told I shouldn't disclose this. How should I respond to the jokes / jealousy / etc? – Maria Ines Parnisari Jul 30 '15 at 5:44
  • @MariaInesParnisari looks like a new question :) – nha Aug 28 '18 at 16:40
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Ask

You really have nothing to lose. By asking you show that you are motivated to learn, ready to research where you can do so and by checking for group discounts you show that you are not doing it for purely egoistical reasons (which would be ok, too).

If your boss declines your request, nothing bad happened. You can still do this privately. If you have to, you may want to check if it can be used for tax deductions, as it's for your work. In some countries, you will get back almost half your money.

  • If I have to ask my boss, I'll prefer doing it through an E-Mail rather than in-person to make things less awkward in case the answer is no. But that just me. – user10125 Jun 25 '15 at 14:20
  • in most cases, i agree with this answer. but in some workplace environments, making a request like this might cause you to be seen as high-maintenance. if this is a large company, perhaps training was not offered because it was deemed unnecessary -- in such a case, asking for training would make you appear less competent than your coworkers. – Woodrow Barlow Jun 25 '15 at 14:54
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    @WoodrowBarlow We are talking about software engineering training here. If asking for additional education would paint you as a less competent than other employees, than it's raising so many red flags, they are visible from space. – StupidOne Jun 25 '15 at 15:15
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    Instead of asking for this specific subscription, you could ask whether the company offers any type of tuition reimbursement program; some of those are not limited to traditional academic courses, especially in the tech space. – Dan Henderson Jun 25 '15 at 19:01
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    @WoodrowBarlow - The OP states he's a junior working with all seniors who I'm sure had some previous training and would be foolish to look down on someone who is going through the same process as they did. – user8365 Jun 26 '15 at 13:47
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We do have a rule in my company for all sort of certifications , the training is almost free but certification is paid, and if you pass the company will pay 100% (they already have) and in case you failed you need to return that money (Well it never happened because no one failed , but no newbie is going to pay that lol)

In Your Case Ask them , ya there is nothing to lose, but if they are paying they will expect something extra from you after you have completed the training.

In Second case you can ask them to compensate it with your bonus, or you pay 50% and they pay rest, some thing like this may work out.

at last If they realize that they are going to benefit out of that they will agree,

also you can suggest them that for all trainees .

I see You have nothing to lose here

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First of all, for your specific situation, bring up your proposal to your boss as an opportunity to improve yourself and better contribute to the company - list the specific technologies you'd be able to be certified in with that training as benefits to receiving that training, explain the cost, and explain how your certification would allow them to fill those positions and reduce the cost of hiring someone new or otherwise seeking out other methods of finding that certification. Don't mention your CV - that's really not appropriate for this type of discussion. Just lay out for your boss the benefits of paying for this training.

There is a chance they'll ask you to prove you're learning something from the training, and if that's the case, you'll have to do it, no two ways around it. This is the cost of getting your work involved with your training - but most training provides certification of completion as you do it anyway (if this doesn't, you'll have to work out some other way of proving you've done the training) so while it is a valid concern, you'll more than likely have no problem proving it, as long as you put in some effort.


That being said...

Why Not Do Both?

While for this specific circumstance your job has a reason to pay for your training, there's a chance they won't, and a chance they won't be willing to pay for other training in the future.

But if you feel that certain types of training would be beneficial to your career, and you have the money and personal time to do it, then by all means do it. You'll improve your standing in the company by being able to use those skills for work, and you'll be able to apply them towards any future job you might go for.

Ideally, you want to have your company pay for your training first - because this allows you to possibly do the training at work as part of your job and cuts the cost to you down considerably. But if they aren't willing, there's no reason you can't make the effort on your own.

Just don't make a habit of it if your job has a clear path towards requesting training and they constantly deny it 'because you can do it yourself', and definitely don't mention that you'll do it yourself if they won't pay for it - because that's one surefire way to make sure they don't pay for it.

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