D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Want to boost your skills? Teach.

Thursday, January 31, 2008 8:23 AM

I've been subcontracting for a company recently, and I gotta tell you its been one of the best experiences I've had in a long time...and I'm not actually coding anything!

Hmm...so I'm slacking? Not at all...in fact this has been some of the more intense months of my life. I've been teaching two courses and gearing up to teach my third under their banner. One was an ASP.NET course that was a lot of fun (although it was an intro level so there was mostly drag/drop stuff, but still good presentation experience). The other two have been VB.NET Level 3 and Level 4 courses, with level 3 focusing on OO development and level 4 bringing in advanced VB topics and application architecture.

If you're finding that you're plate isn't as full anymore, or that you have extra downtime at work, why not create a course for your department on some topic and offer it over lunch hours or, better yet, propose it to management as another value-added service your company can provide?

There's a tonne of benefits to doing something like this:

- *YOU* will learn a tonne! Even if you've been doing this for years, I doubt you know *everything* there is to know about a given subject (especially if you decide on a newer technology). It's a great opportunity to improve your skills as well as the audience

- You get great presentation experience. If you've ever wanted to talk and speak at user group events or other speaking engagements, teaching is a great way to hone your skills. Not only does it give you presentation-only skills, but you need your audience to *get* what you're saying. Speaking doesn't mean anything if you're not communicating the concepts properly.

- You get recognition from your peers. In the course I just finished teaching, all were already established developers in the Winnipeg community. If you do a good job, then you now have a room of people that know you and see you in a positive light (well, assuming that you did a good job ;) )

- You can increase your value to your business. Offering learning, especially customized learning in the form of one-day boot camps or as full evening courses through local colleges can be a bonus to your company's bottom line. Plus, they get employees that are better educated themselves.

So don't think that "official" learning businesses like Nexient or whomever need to be the only ones providing your community with learning services. The benefits for yourself make it almost a no-brainer.



# re: Want to boost your skills? Teach.

Want to boost your skills? Try programming something.


- William 1/31/2008 8:29 AM | William

# re: Want to boost your skills? Teach.

I started doing this at my work recently. Every other Tuesday, someone from any department in IT does a session over lunch (sometimes we even cater) about something useful. It can be anything at all as long as it's relevant to the work we do. We've had presentations on .Net 3.5 enhancements, the proper use of test doubles, software factories, how to use mbunit, and usually whenever someone goes to a conference or training or something, they have a session about what they learned at the conference (my session on devteach was pretty cool). I think every office should do this as not only will it help people improve themselves by presenting, it will also help spread new knowledge around the office so that the rest of your department can become better developers. This was one of the easiest things to sell management on also. 1/31/2008 4:19 PM | Jeff Tucker

Post a comment