When Vendor Certification Feeds People’s Passions

– At DiUS, Employee Training & AWS Certification is a direct result of its culture of sharing.

When a company prides itself on tapping into people’s passions, fostering a culture of grass roots sharing and bolstering employee satisfaction with interesting work, something as “corporate” as vendor training and certification may initially feel a bit too structured.

“We never force certification and training,” says Ricky Yim, Head of Technology and Delivery at DiUS. “We try and find a balance between feeding people’s passion and making sure our company’s skills base is well aligned with the work we do.”

DiUS assembles teams of people with different skills and passions who typically work with different clients, technology and domains every three to six months. That means its staff need to be ready to regularly learn new technologies, businesses, niches and industries. For some, instructor-led AWS training is the best option. DiUS also provides an AWS account people can have access to for practice and self-directed learning.

AWS helps get DiUS work into its customers’ hands

“We write software,” says Yim. “We do much more than that, but we write software and to get that into our customers’ hands you need DevOps and you need AWS, among other things.”

If people don’t have AWS skills and become curious about or interested in AWS, DiUS will suggest training options and help them get the training to round out their knowledge of AWS.

“Also, when we notice new courses relevant to the business, such as specialty AWS courses like the Big Data one, we circulate them around the team to see if people are interested. People put their hands up and we make it happen,” says Yim.

DiUS does not require staff to become AWS certified, though as an AWS partner they do have to have certified people on staff. That’s where that balancing act comes into play.

How does this “follow your passion” approach work?

“The technology is quite empowering,” says Yim. “You used to be able to only do so much, then you’d hit a roadblock and need someone else to get you through that roadblock. Now AWS allows you to do so much more, yourself.”

The DiUS team appreciates the quality and automation aspect of working with AWS and doesn’t have to force the desire to learn the platform on its staff. They assemble teams of people with different skills, ensuring AWS skills are represented as required by the project, and that’s where it starts.

“People see someone else doing AWS on a project and it sparks their interest and then they talk to their peers or management about getting more knowledge and we identify training for them,” says Yim.

Some might assume the worst, and wonder if staff might abuse this type of system, mused Yim. “But the way I look at it is, we trust our staff and that’s why they work with us. This system works for DiUS and complements our culture of sharing,” he says.

Rather than assigning each person a set training budget and professional development targets, DiUS approaches training on a case-by-case basis. An employee interested in professional development must identify ways in which the training will help them as well as the business.

Practically, what does a culture of sharing look like?

Besides assembling teams with a range of skill sets, which offers the chance for peer to peer learning, DiUS runs nine special interest groups covering subject matter such as UX, cloud engineering, JavaScript etc. Its staff tend to be naturally curious people interested in broadening their understanding and skill sets. Sometimes from these brown bag sessions a staff member might identify something they want to know more about and that may result in a training course being identified and pursued.

Says Yim, “One of the reasons why people come and work with us is that they want to work with people with different skills and get exposed to different things.”

AWS is part of that. And they’ll also likely need some of their staff to learn an additional technology in six months time. That’s the nature of working for DiUS. When appropriate and required, training and certification will continue to feed the passions and interests of its staff.