During your interview, you were most likely asked the age-old question of ‘where do you see yourself in five years?’ You may not have given it much thought, or may not know what career paths are open to developers. But once you’ve settled into your new job and feel like you’ve gotten the hang of everything, it’s time to start thinking about your progression.
Climbing the ladder takes considerable time and effort and has to be done alongside the daily tasks and responsibilities associated with your current position. Whether you are hoping to become a senior software developer or specialise in front or back end web development; chances are at some point you’ll need to take on additional training to learn the ins and outs of the biz.
Asking your new boss not only for funding but for scheduled time to complete a training course can feel extremely daunting, particularly if you’ve never done it before. But there are things you can do to help you feel more confident to submit the request and increase the likelihood of it being approved.
Is training classed as working?
Any activity that is carried out for the benefit of the company you are working for is considered to be work. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will be paid to undergo training. Your employer may demand that your training be completed outside of working hours or that you take it as unpaid.
Hopefully that won’t be the case for you, and your employer will see that any training will directly benefit the company, but it’s important to be aware of the company’s viewpoint.
How do I convince my boss to pay for training?
A genuine concern for businesses is that they will spend considerable resources training a member of staff, only for them to use these skills to land a new position elsewhere.
One way to relieve these concerns is to include in your initial training request letter or email how you’re planning to use your learnings to help the company grow. Perhaps your training can help them offer a new service, or you can use what you’ve learnt to train new staff members as they join the business.
Reiterate this in your meeting with them, where you will naturally go into more detail as part of convincing them to not only allow you to undergo training as part of your working week, but also to pay any associated costs.
How do you ask your boss for training?
The process of asking your boss commonly involves sending an initial training request letter outlining your request, followed by a face-to-face meeting where you will present your reasons for wanting to take on a training course. Your boss may then take some time to consider before informing you of the outcome.
This is a generalised overview; therefore, it’s important to speak with the HR department or your line manager to ascertain the official process for your company, as it may differ slightly.
This is a straightforward procedure, however, there is a lot of work to be done and you need to think like your employer if you want your request to be approved.
Below is our advice on how to increase the chances of your training request being approved:
Get someone to back you
Whether it’s your line manager or someone else in the company that holds some sort of sway, having someone ‘on your team’ and offering advice is invaluable; especially if this is your first official request at the company.
They can offer advice on how to phrase your request, what is likely to be accepted or rejected and essentially increase your chances of being approved.
Find three courses
Your boss will always be short on time, so it’s vital to have everything to hand before you send out the initial training request. The first thing to do is find a selection of courses for your boss to consider. The general rule of thumb is to put forward three suggestions.
Summarise the syllabus of each course, any additional perks (like the mentoring and portfolio creation that comes with our course), the cost of each (including any finance options) and how much of your time each course requires so your boss can quickly compare and contrast.
If there is a course you particularly want to take, find a cheaper course that doesn’t offer the same standard of learning and a more expensive course that concentrates on the same topics as the course you want to take. This will showcase your favourite course in the best light and increase the chances of it being chosen.
Outline the skills to be gained from the course
And how it will benefit the company. We recommend putting together short and long term skills to be gained so that your boss can see an immediate return on their investment.
This is an instance where your line manager or mentor can help.
Can you find a skills gap in the company that you can fill if your training is approved? If you can highlight this as a missed opportunity and solution, it will show your boss that you care about the company and are invested in it.
Think about why your training request could be rejected
Again, your line manager or mentor will be invaluable here as they will have a ton of knowledge on why not only this request, but previous requests have been rejected and you can use this to your advantage.
Of course, you can’t think of absolutely every outcome, but having an immediate response to one question and then saying you’ll get back to them on a solution to the next is better than not being able to answer their concerns at all.
For example, one reason may be that there isn’t enough funding left in the annual budget. Your response to this could be opting for a course with a financing option to bring the initial cost down.
Another concern could stem around how you will keep on top of your usual responsibilities and train at the same time. That’s what makes courses like our FastTrack option great, as they only take place two days a month. It would help if you also give your word that all of your work will be completed, but only do this if you are willing to see it through.
Consider the timing of your training request
There are two additional things you can do to further increase your chances of getting your training course approved, and both revolve around timing.
Every company will work towards annual budgets. If you can, submit your request as soon as the budget is replenished; where there is more money in the kitty to play with.
Another way to increase your chances of success is to send the request after you have done something impressive. Has a project you worked on performed really well? Did a client leave excellent feedback about you? Did you help someone in another team troubleshoot a problem that affected the company? Your employer will be more likely to grant your request if they have recently heard fantastic things about you.
Finally, monitor your boss in the run up to sending the initial training request letter. If they are in a particularly bad mood or are heavily stressed, hold back. The mood your boss is in can have a direct impact on their response.
A little time, research and consideration can drastically increase the chances of your training request being approved and you learning new skills that will help you progress in your career.