I Can Has Training Budget

We know how it goes – there is a recession, and companies try to reduce expanses. The next thing you know, your training budget is all gone. Or maybe there is some training budget left, but now 6 DBAs share a sum that is not enough for one Oracle University course. How do you convince your managers that paying for your training is the best investment they can make?

Start by convincing yourself. Remember that your manager probably got to his position because he is good at reading people, so if you don’t really want the training, or don’t really believe you need this training, he may see that and you lost. You have to be 100% sure that you want this training because it will really allow you to improve the way you work.

As an example, lets assume you want to go to Linux Administration course. Its an interesting case, because it is not even evident that a DBA should go to such course.

Then think about your boss for a bit – what parts of the job are most important to him? what are his pet projects? pet peeves.

Once you have your desire for the course and your bosses desires in mind, make a list of all the benefits you can see from going to the course. The important thing is to highlight how the things you want to learn will help with the projects that are most important to your boss, or will address his specific pain points.

So, if your boss loves automation say: “I will learn more shell linux tools so I’ll be able to write better automation scripts”.
If he is a capacity planning person, say: “I will be able to better monitor the OS so we can be more proactive about provisioning”.
If he is a big fan of RAC, say: “With my improved Linux knowledge, I’ll be able to understand low-leve clusterware issues and solve them faster!”

Now you need to decide if you make your pitch face to face or by email. I prefer email. Information I put in the email:
* Course title and instructor (or school name)
* Dates/Times
* Location
* Price
* The list of 3-5 reasons I need this course (as you prepared in the previous paragraph).

Until he makes his decision, keep mentioned once or twice a day how the things you do now will be much better after you take the course: “I still don’t understand how to debug coredumps after the process crashes, but the Linux course may help”, “It takes me 2 hours to copy old files to the second disk, but I’ll probably learn how to do it faster in the Linux course”. Don’t force it, but keep an eye open for opportunities to explain and demonstrate the value you see in the course.

And a questionable tactics that sometimes works: Get an ultra-expensive course rejected before asking for a reasonably-priced course. “I can totally understand you don’t have the budget to send me to Collaborate in Denver, but what about one day training given by our local usergroup at a near-by location?”. I’m not sure if this tactic works because the manager feels guilty about rejecting my request, or if the lower-price seminar just looks better in comparison. I’m not even sure if I recommend it, really. Consider and act at your own risk 😉

3 Comments on “I Can Has Training Budget”

  1. chet says:

    Haven’t you just shot yourself in the foot? Won’t they read this, know your tactics, and reject your request? 🙂

    Joking aside, I think your approach is sound. Convince them that it would ultimately be good for them…play to the ego in a way I guess. Confidence always helps too.

  2. Noah Yetter says:

    Surely you can’t be serious? Oracle University courses are a joke.

    • prodlife says:

      Hi Noah,

      Oracle University courses have huge variance – some are excellent and others are a joke. It really depends a lot on the instructor – if you happened to have an experienced instructor who is also an OCM, you’ll have an amazing experience.

      This is of course true for all courses 🙂

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