By John Mark Ivey
Recently on Spiceworks, a user posed the question, "How to ask the boss to pay for VMware Certified Professional Course?" The user was a network/systems administrator for a manufacturing company with fifteen years of IT experience.
"I want to take the VMware Certified Professional course. I was wondering if anyone has asked their employer to pay and how they requested it," he added. "I think I will need to sell it for them to agree to cover the cost. What are some benefits to the company for me to get certified?"
A lot of IT pros would like to get their work to fund their training and certifications, but if the issue isn't approached with care and forethought, it can be dangerous territory. So how do you justify the costs of training? Luckily, a help desk tech in the healthcare field named R. Lee Young offered up some great suggestions.
"I think it is important in a situation like this to ask yourself several questions first. These will directly relate to whether you should even consider asking your workplace to pay for it," he wrote.
First and foremost, he asked if the questioner actually used VMware or if he planned to in the near future. The questioner had some VMware experience. Three years earlier, he had setup VMware hosts and migrated almost all their physical servers. His company now has roughly twenty-one server guests across three ESXi hosts. This was helpful, because if not, there was probably no way his company would be willing to foot the bill for VMware training.
Young then asked, "How often are you required to make significant changes to your VMware? Do you normally need to hire out for a third party to make these changes? If you do hire out to a third party, then how much do you spend per hour for the third party and how long do they spend there?"
He explained that these are important questions because, "if you almost never need to hire a third party and spend very little on their support, the company probably won't go for paying for a course for you."
He also asked, "What benefits other than costs for changes will it bring the company? Are there some complex problems you think you may be able to solve or do you expect to make the system more efficient?"
If there are other benefits to list, then the scales are more likely to fall in your favor so give this a good amount of thought before making your request.
"How does training YOU benefit them? Why not another technician?" Young asked. "A key concern for many businesses today is that they may pay to enhance the skills of a tech who may use those skills to get a different job and leave them behind. While this may happen at sometime, how is it cost effective to the company? Will you guarantee a period of time before you even look at other companies? Will you be training your peers to a point on what you have learned?"
It's essential that you make the decision makers at your company see that this is a worthy investment. Be honest with yourself and them. You don't want to oversell it and then be unable to provide the payoff.
"If you are looking at this as a way to become better and seek better pastures then forget about it now," Young suggested. "If you seek to better your knowledge so you can serve them better and eventually use it to peruse a position elsewhere, then that is another matter. Expect to do some giving for any taking."