Paying someone to learn for you?

In my previous post called Nobody is an expert at Oracle Database 18c I said,

“There will be lots of people and companies who will happily take your money to learn the new tech, but that’s probably the subject of another post…”

Here is that post. 🙂

I see two distinct scenarios, and have two very different attitudes to them.

The Good

When something is new to the market, there is nobody that has the skills you need, but there are people/companies with a wealth of experience and a proven track record of picking up new skills and delivering good results.

I totally understand someone wanting to pay these types of people/companies to help them get to their goal. This is mutually beneficial as the customer gets to their goal in a shorter space of time than if they did it all themselves, and the person/company doing the investigation and work gets new skills and real world experience at the new tech.

The important point is both sides need to clearly understand this situation before work gets underway, as it might affect timescales and cost of the work.

The Bad and the Ugly

There are a lot of people and companies that are using their clients to improve their skills without the customer being aware of the relationship they are in. To me this is robbery. They have represented themselves as something they are not and that is a problem.

In some cases they might still deliver a reasonable product in a reasonable timescale, but in some cases not. 🙁 In some ways the result is not really the issue, it’s the deceit that is the problem. It’s usually really easy to spot, as the saying goes, you don’t have to know how to swim to recognise when someone is drowning.

Solution?

I’m surprised how many people don’t ask for reference customers, or if they do, they never follow up on them properly. You can tell a lot by what is said and what is not said if you are asking the right questions. If the person/company doesn’t have a track record of delivering the thing you are asking for, do you really want them?

I emphasised the thing you are asking for, because it is a really important point. A person/company might be awesome at some related stuff, which might not be exactly what you are looking for, but might fool you into thinking they know what they are doing. To use myself as an example, I know a bit about Oracle databases and WebLogic, but does that mean I’m the right person to work on OBIEE that uses Oracle databases and WebLogic? I can tell you the answer to that. It’s NO! If I were an expert at eBusiness Suite does that mean I’m the right person to work on Oracle Cloud Applications? I can tell you the answer to that too. It’s NO!

As I mentioned before, if both parties understand what they are getting into I totally understand why you would want to pay someone to learn some new stuff for you. If you as a customer don’t know this is what is happening, that’s a problem!

Cheers

Tim…

Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

3 thoughts on “Paying someone to learn for you?”

  1. Great Piece of writing. If there is one fun spot in that article if i may say ,it is “I know a bit about Oracle Databases”

  2. Another problem is the customer not knowing exactly what they want. Vague/incomplete specs in which the customer is relying upon the vendor to fill in the gaps with existing and new technology (that the vendor doesn’t know) are just compounding the problem.

  3. Eric: Agreed. When I said, “If you as a customer don’t know this is what is happening, that’s a problem!”, the problem goes both ways. The person/company should have explained their position, including if the requirement was too vague, and the customer should do enough due diligence to know if the person/company they are dealing with is telling lies. See reference customers. 🙂

    There are bad people/companies and bad customers. The worst case scenario is when bad people/companies work with bad customers. 🙂

    Cheers

    Tim…

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