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Advice on how to ask for training instead of raise...

Advice on how to ask for training instead of raise...

Hey all, first off i've been a member at Tek-tips for a while and it has been very useful for me in terms of my daily work and all the initial IT headaches I encountered early in my career.

I am now at a situation where I feel I am underused at my occupation yet still responsible for daily tasks of doing everything IT-related. By underused, I mean, that I am at a level now where I am no longer losing sleep over unstable systems, network downtime, or even answering tech support calls at wee hours of the night. Everything is good and stable (courtesy of my work, which involved 60-70 hour weeks for almost  year).

Because everything is stable, I don't see much more room for growth any more. This year there was no raise to speak of and everyone at the company feels comfortable (maybe a bit too comfy) that things are working and IT is not an issue.

I've read threads like "Obtaining; A+/Network+/CCNA/CCNP, Salary?" and the one post with a Network Admin who works in a school and is the one man IT dept basically and does all the grunt work and now they want to cut back his salary by taking away overtime. I feel that i'm in the same situations now because the pay is no longer there and might not be there unless we heavily expand our business. I want to ask my boss, to sponsor my certification training, instead of me asking for more money (which i'll either get and they'll despise me for asking but will know they need me, or they'll reject it and I'll walk, and then they'll realize the next guy won't be able to manage *everything*).  

I'm in my mid-20s, making decent money, well below 6 figures though. I know I can get more money elsewhere, but am thinking that this is the time to either pursue my Masters or get heavily certified (and then do Masters in 2-3 years). Would this be a fair request? Our company is not in the IT industry, far from it, and I am the one man IT show for 75+ users, 5 servers, 3 locations, etc. etc.

The ultimate goal is to stay in the IT industry and eventually work my way up to Manager (and outsource my work to new college graduates) :)

Any advice from experienced members will be appreciated.

RE: Advice on how to ask for training instead of raise...


First, do not bargain with your management this way:


Instead of a raise, please send me to training.
Doing so immediately takes off the table, what could very well be, a deserved salary increase.
Instead, you might say:


One of my professional values is to increase our company's return-on-investment ratio. I know that I can increase my value to the company by receiving the training that comes with a <place-certification-name-here> certification. Can I please have the company underwrite my <place-certification-name-here> certification?
At least that way, if they say 'No', you then have the option to ask for a raise.

On the topic of accelerating salary increases: I have found that companies usually have in place policies which place percentage-rate caps on salary increases, which do not typically correspond to keeping an employee's salary level competative with salaries in other firms.

If you want to accelerate the salary level you are able to command, then the quickest method is typically to "jump ship" to a company that will give you the salary you feel you deserve. The best way to see if your assessment of your worth is reasonable is to go out and interview.

If no one offers you your salary expectations, then that is the first clue that your expecations are, perhaps, unreasonable.

Let us know your thoughts.

(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
[I provide low-cost, remote Database Administration services:]

RE: Advice on how to ask for training instead of raise...

Santa  - I agree wholeheartedly.

I have also found that not discussing training as if it were an option has worked well for me. I walk into my annual review with a list of the courses I expect to partake next year. I don't get all of them, but I always ask for 4 or 5 expecting to get three.

So far it's worked really well for me.


The question should be Is it worth trying to do? not Can it be done?

RE: Advice on how to ask for training instead of raise...

If you are considering leaving due to the salary issue, be aware that companies often require an additional time commitment if they pay for training. If you leave before then, you may have to pay back the training costs.

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared

RE: Advice on how to ask for training instead of raise...


SQLSister (Programmer) 2 Jan 08 9:43  
If you are considering leaving due to the salary issue, be aware that companies often require an additional time commitment if they pay for training. If you leave before then, you may have to pay back the training costs.  

The general rule is that if the COMPANY is requesting or requiring the training of you in order for you to perform your duties, then you are NOT required to pay back anything, nor is there a time commitment.  This is a cost of the company needing their work to be done.  I would not sign any agreement in this case.

If YOU are requesting the training so that other opportunities are now available either internal or external to the company, that is when a company may expect you to pay back money if you leave early. That is of course if you signed an agreement stating that you will stay a specified time after successfully finishing the course.

In either case, I would not consider taking a company paid course if I thought there was a good chance that I would be leaving in the near future.  That is just not ethical!

Insert Witty Signature Here.

RE: Advice on how to ask for training instead of raise...

I was in a very similar position a few months ago. I was the one IT guy, and the systems got to the point where they pretty much ran themselves, thru my previous very hard work.

I had been there for 6 years and altho i had seen a rise in my wage, i was no further up the ladder, and i was concerned i would be there another 6 years and still be in that position, and there is only so much a company will pay the one IT guy... well that was the feeling i got where i was at the time.

I started applying for jobs with bigger companies, and was successful- now i am part of a much bigger it department- 50+. I have maybe a quarter of the responsibility i used to, and get paid more for it. 1 week after started i was put on an IBM course (cost about £2k) with no pay back clause if i were to walk away in the next few days/weeks/months.

It is a totally different culture, and to an extent im a smaller fish in a bigger pond, but i would certainly recommend it. I think i timed it just right (also in my 20's) and i am enjoying 'raising my game' in a much more structured environment.

Like i say, thats what happened with me, something to think about maybe!

RE: Advice on how to ask for training instead of raise...

Interesting advice from everyone.
I will try to paraphrase SantaMufasa's advice as best I can because it is well worded and fits exactly into what I want to say (just wasn't sure how or if I should say it to my superior).

bchizary, I am glad you are in a better situation now. Reading your post (above) it is eerily similiar to the situation I find myself in now. I'm in my 20's, and am a "big fish in a small pond", which was 'cool' at first but now I feel that I am no longer learning anything and thus doing the same repetitive duties which is counter-productive.

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