Re: Professional development; employer expectations
15 Jun 2005 - 11:01pm
9 years ago
I definitely agree with you on the creativity and inspiration part.
Part of the reason that I left my last job is that I wanted to publish a use case and make a presentation on some of our findings, but had no support or interest from senior management. I can't say I've really had any interest in attending conferences for the past several years, other than obscure conferences that had no relation to my job at the time.
The other thing though is that ultimately if the organization is not willing to support the professional development of the designer, it's up to the designer to do it himself. It would be nice if employers are "responsible" for professional development but employers aren't responsible for anything except paying you to perform your work. (sorry but I get cynical here).
I think that it is the rarity for employers to pay for professional development. It is a nice thing to have but not up there with medical insurance. I think that it has to be a fundamental value of the company for them to actively provide professional development for employees; with most companies that is not the case.
There are inexpensive forms of professional development, such as attending local SIG meetings, going to the museum to look at design or art, and taking classes at a community college or university. Get a bunch of designers together, find a random problem and come up with an interface solution. I've found a lot more inspiration for interaction design in the past several years at less expensive level, as opposed to going to a conference or publishing a paper.
That's not to say that I disagree with you. It'd be nice to have, and if I was in a position that it was something that I had to consider I'd definitely have a budget and promote professional development for design resources. However, a designer should not go in to an organization expecting that the organization is going to pay for X, unless that was written into their offer letter.
In the alternative there are companies that do have a good track record of promoting professional development, like Adobe, Yahoo, SAP, SAS, Cisco, etc. I know more about software development side, very little about the consultancies.