Re: Forcing education
All of those other professions also have accreditation boards, professional associations, state licensing, etc., who actually administer those continuing education programs, and association membership, board certification, and state licensing is a requirement to maintain employment in those professions.
Do we need to be forced to get continuing education. I certainly hope it never comes to that point; but there's no doubt that we need continuing education. We also need the awareness of our employers that continuing education is a necessary part of the job. It's no problem telling the Managing Partner of a law firm, or the Chief Administrator of a hospital that their staff lawyers and doctors need time to engage in education -- that's a de facto nature of employment in those fields. Unfortunately it's a very big problem to convince employers of IT pros that this is necessary. As pointed out elsewhere, not only is this a problem in itself, but business owners have become loathe to invest in IT pros in any form or fashion, the conventional wisdom being that they can just "buy it" when needed. That may be true today, while demand is fairly low; but when the price of those resources quadruple because there's a shortage of qualified people in the industry, it will be those very same business owners who come out on the short end of the stick. (Well, and those undertrained IT pros who can no longer find relevant employment in the industry.)
If you don't have continuing education, you won't stay relevant.
That's actually relevant itself. If the employer an IT pro works for is oblivious to the currency of the skill set of that IT pro staff member, it's not just the IT pro that's falling behind, it's also the employer. If the employer cannot be assured of implementing technology in a manner and form needed, because the staff members entrusted to do that are clueless about said technologies, then the employer is also at risk. To my point above, when buying the skills on the demand-market exceed the financial resources of that business, the business also becomes irrelevant.
The purpose of this article isn't to remind IT pros about what they should already know -- that failing to keep current can be a career-ending move -- but to remind employers that failing to create and maintain a work environment that facilitates and encourages the ability of that IT pro to stay current can also be a business-ending move.