Do IT Professionals really need a home lab for self development?

A recent article in The Register suggests a number of deeply worrying things:

  • Upkeep of the qualifications is now “un affordable”
  • Employers no longer want to pay to upkeep IT Professionals qualifications
  • IT Pros should keep a dedicated lab at home for career progression

Whilst I whole heartedly endorse the concept of being responsible for my own development the cost of training staff has never been more affordable in many cases!

Moocs and open courses provide quality education at very affordable prices and many manufacturers and user forums link to countless resources. Sites such as Code Academy can even provide seasoned programmers with a reasonable intro into a new language – anyone care to learn Python?

As for the suggestion that employers are still operating the “recruit and drop” rather than retrain model – I would hope that most employers now have a better understanding of the high total cost of recruiting and inducting a new employee, considered against the smaller cost of re-training a proven employee with experience and an established presence in the company.

Finally – as to the assertion that I need a server farm at home to develop my skill base? Much as the idea appeals to my inner geek, if I was working in a Corporate Environment a test lab would be top of my list of vital tools. It’s very poor risk management to not have a working model of your system to try out updates and reconfiguration and critically as a fall back in case of common disasters(Please see my earlier article for details).

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