Recently, we’ve been looking to hire someone to help deliver training.
From these interviews, I’ve met many great individuals all with different talents and abilities, but I find that the role of trainer has a negative view point.
If you’re training, then you’re not engineering therefore you can’t be as good as an engineer.
I have never seen this personally, and I feel that being a trainer has increased my skills as an engineer more than anything else I have done in my career.
Firstly, being a trainer isn’t about knowing everything, it is being honest. If you don’t know something then say you don’t know it. Even better, work as a team with the people that you’re training to figure out the answer. Because when we’re working on projects, the majority of the time we’re trying to figure out the best way to create a solution.
Our skills are in finding the best solution to a problem.
As a trainer, I get to work with people from a range of teams with a wealth of experience over numerous careers. I’ve taught people who originally worked on the project that I was teaching about, to people who have made Hacker News for turning off really, really old servers. Each person coming to the course is looking to learn something new, they want to succeed at learning something new. In sharing something new with them, they give me something new to learn.
Being honest and saying when you don’t know lots about a certain thing (for me its networking), people have shared with me their experiences helping me learn more.
The pace of learning is important too, usually we have 2 days to learn something that can take months. Its important to address this and not to force feed everything into this time frame, but to put an approach together where people can grow with the training. Give the resources for people to be able to advance and they will remember the training you delivered.
Today I feel 5 times the person I was than when I started training. This isn’t just a technical viewpoint on my career but myself as a person. Not everyone is going to like me and thats fine, as an engineer its a problem I solve by ensuring that there is training material that is neutral to my delivery. As a person, I have grown to realise that I can’t win every heart, but to really appreciate the people where there is a connection.
We didn’t start our careers to know the technologies that we use today, for most of us they weren’t around when we started with our first computer and they will likely fade away in the not so distant future. We started by solving problems. Whether that was to use Java to process a csv file, create websites for friends businesses or socially engineer out parents to stay off the telephone line.
We solve problems, take the problems away from us and we’re lost. Give us a problem and the only issue is losing track of time and working late into the night to figure out the last piece to our puzzle.
To me, training forces me to do this in a high-pressure environment. Will I be a trainer forever, no. Will I continue to learn forever, yes. Will I continue to help and share with others, yes.
All of this is just another step on another path to the next puzzle.