Business leaders have been looking to increase their competitive edge in recent years by investing more money in learning and developing (L&D). A 2018 UK L&D survey revealed that 94 percent of companies consider L&D essential to their commercial success. Gartner’s 2020 HR Leaders Report revealed that 86% of HR technology leaders consider building key skills and competencies a top priority. Addressing skills gaps is essential for growing the business.
Software development companies must have a deep understanding of technology and adapt to industry changes. Continuous learning is a key component of software development.
Software developers lack the necessary skills and knowledge to overcome their skills and knowledge gaps. Software developers must problem solve and apply theory in a real work environment. This article will discuss why on-the job training is better for creating a culture of continuous learning within a software development organization.
Online learning platforms and software development courses have their limits
Popular online platforms include Udemy, Pluralsight and Cloud Academy. These platforms offer a wide range of educational content. These platforms offer software developer courses that combine traditional classroom learning with e-learning.
Digital learning methods are flexible and can be used to help software developers develop their skills and knowledge. This allows developers to have immediate access and professional development. However, these online learning platforms use traditional learning methods that are not the best to enhance software developers’ skills.
Pluralsight allows software engineers to choose modules that best suit their knowledge and skills. Online training platforms allow developers to concentrate on modules that will benefit their technical skills. Developers must anticipate which areas of expertise they will use within the online learning platform.
The gap between developers’ needs and educational content can negatively affect their productivity. Because the content of the courses is not relevant to their work environment, this can negatively impact their productivity. Situted learning environments are more efficient because they put learners in real learning situations, which improves their problem solving skills.
Software developers need practical knowledge to benefit their teams’ work flow. Online learning platforms do not necessarily offer a secluded learning environment. They only provide traditional learning environments. Online learning platforms still use instructors whose curriculum does not provide real-world learning opportunities.
Training on-the-job is provided while someone performs relevant tasks for their profession. It is a vital tool in professional development. HackerRank recently found that almost 60% of developers would like to acquire new technical skills while on the job. If they want to see tangible improvements in the skills of their software developers, management must learn problem-solving skills.
Enhancing developer’s problem solving skills
Software development is primarily about solving problems. Coding code is secondary. HackerRank’s 2018 survey revealed that 95 percent of industry leaders value problem-solving skills more than programming language proficiency when hiring software developers. Technology leaders who emphasize problem-solving skills in their hiring decisions will encourage collaboration within engineering teams.
The Harvard Business Review published a 2019 article entitled “Where Companies Go Wrong With Learning and Development (L&D),” which revealed some alarming statistics. Only 12 percent of L&D graduates used the skills they learned in L&D programs to their professional lives. Online learning platforms users will face the same problem. It requires processing and retaining the knowledge but not immediate application in a professional setting.
Instead, on-the-job learning uses knowledge to encourage knowledge sharing and problem solving. It is therefore more effective. This type of training promotes collaboration within the software development team workflow and is directly applied in the workplace.
Software developers can learn continuously by creating a learning environment
Organizations must encourage knowledge retention and immediate application. It can have a negative impact on the company’s codebase maintenance and cost valuable resources to find solutions. To create a culture of continuous learning and provide on-the-job training, technology leaders can follow these steps:
1) Promote Individual Learning
Senior managers can encourage self-learning by creating customized training programs tailored to their organization’s needs. Developers will learn how to fix the specific issues identified in the files by using relevant, focused educational content. This will allow all parties to identify and fix the root causes of developer mistakes.
Developers must take the information they receive in small chunks that are easy to incorporate into their work flow. Research has shown that learning in bite-sized chunks is more effective for retaining and better using the knowledge. This method of learning can quickly fill a skill gap. According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, this knowledge transfer to the desk is 17% more efficient.
2) Mentorship to encourage knowledge sharing
Organizations should establish mentorship programs to allow software developers to work together and receive support from more experienced engineers. Encourage senior developers who have solved certain issues to accept mentees to increase team productivity.
Mentorloop’s research found that leaders in the industry use mentoring to gain competitive advantage. An estimated 71% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs. Mentoring junior developers is a cost-effective and efficient way to improve their problem-solving skills and knowledge retention.
3) Enhance the Code Review Process
Consistency and compliance with software development best practices will improve the quality of code review processes. Developer code contributions are cleaner and, therefore, of higher quality before the code review process.
Software development teams can only achieve their potential if they have a culture of continuous learning and on-the-job training. Online learning platforms offer a wide range of educational resources. However, industry research has shown the limitations of traditional education and poor application of new knowledge.
To enable their companies to adapt to rapid technological changes and thrive, senior managers need to establish effective programs of on-the job training (such as mentoring plans).