I’m so sorry, but I just have to rant about this: The last few years I have been part of organizing an IT-conference here in Aarhus called JAOO. Last year, when the world was in crisis mode, I could understand why people, when asked if they want to go to JAOO, said, that their boss wouldn’t let them and that the conference budget for the whole year was cancelled.
This year the economy is doing much better and still my friends are not going to JAOO even though they love the conference. Now the excuse is that they don’t have time. Fewer hands are doing the same amount of work as before the crisis, so now they are running around getting sick from stress. AND they just accept that their employer does not update their skill set because the business is too busy.
I can let you in on a little secret: The business is always busy when there is no economic crisis. Some IT-companies was even busy when the crisis was peaking. Such is IT. The diffence between now and then is that now the workers that did not get to go to the conference last year and probably wont get to go this year are outdated. They haven’t taken the time to get their qualifications updated the last few years and the tech world is moving terrible fast. Some don’t know what the whole NoSQL-thing is about, some haven’t heard much about HTML5 and some haven’t heard anything about the mobile phone development department. Now the crisis is over and companies are getting business deals that demands skills in that department and their current workforce can’t deliver. They should have been working smarter, not harder!
A lot of places they are trying to bring in new people with updated skills but this is turning out to be problematic. New workers have a learning period before they can get really started and sometimes you end up hiring the wrong guy/gal for the job because none of the people who applied was right for the job. Firing people is also expensive (at least it is here in Denmark) and if the current skill set in your workforce is outdated then you might have to.
I just think that it is very irresponsible to accept being outdated in the tech knowledge department – it could lead to unemployment. When my last employer told me I couldn’t go to JAOO, I decided to pay for the whole thing myself by taking some of my vacation during the conference (I got the ticket through version2.dk because of my blog there). Of course now I don’t have the problem of having to use my vacation time on conferences, because I quit my job to travel the world… (I’m leaving just 2 weeks after JAOO and yes, that timing is chosen on purpose.)
I’m so sorry for the rant – soon I will be back to normal and overly positive as usual.
(P.S. Of course there are plenty of ways to keep your skill set updated – I just know the conference business especially well, so I know that those few days are well spent, very inspirational and valuable enough to miss a few work days.)