June 13, 2016

Make Your Own Training Adventure

by Judith Turner, Vice President for Employee Happiness

Business vision

TCG takes a positively distinct approach to our employees’ continuing education. Like many companies, TCG provides $2,500 to each employee every year for training. TCGers can take courses, attend conferences, buy books, get certifications — whatever they think would enable them to do their jobs better. Many people use the money to take online courses; others go to conferences, using their funds to pay for conference registration, travel, hotels, and meals, and even to pay themselves for their time if there is money left. There’s nothing too unusual in any of that but it’s only half the story.

TCGers are themselves an unusual bunch, and it’s because of their initiative (and TCG’s flexible policies) that we go several steps further to ensure our staff have the most knowledge of their peers at other companies.

For example, this year several of our employees decided they wanted to learn more about big data architecture. Unfortunately, there were no courses that covered the things they wanted to learn. Beginner courses focused on understanding database theory and administration and structured data, all of which these TCGers already knew. And their interest was broader than specific tools, such as Hadoop. They wanted the theory and administration of unstructured data — the big picture of how big data works. So they contacted several online course providers until they found one who could build a custom course for them, 50 hours following a syllabus that they designed. They pooled their training budgets to hire the instructor after auditioning him for delivery and course materials. Now, a few weeks into their lessons, they are getting exactly what they wanted, a big data architecture course that is Positively Distinct.