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Julien Godin-Viau
Julien Godin-Viau
Product Management

Technical training is often neglected in business. And yet, it’s essential for developers and tech players to grow. Technical training familiarizes the members of your team with a product’s architecture and operation. Accessibility to good practices is an indispensable asset for your developers’ professional growth. 

To demonstrate the importance of a well-structured technical training program, let me parallel the experience I’ve gained over the past four years as a dragon boat coach with my experience as a technical trainer. 

Onboarding new recruits

From the shoreline, it all looks easy and straightforward enough. But put new recruits in a boat and they’ll soon learn that a paddle stroke encompasses 16 movements in 46 technical points. Properly onboarding new recruits is crucial to facilitate their learning curve and their progress on the team. When initiating a new recruit, two options are available to us: 

  • Have the recruit paddle with veterans and provide him or her with a few tips or
  • Offer full technical training on a paddler’s movements. 

Without a concrete basis, a recruit will be able to make progress, but may develop poor practices that will be difficult to correct down the road.

Training and practice 

A good dose of practice and follow-through is needed for a recruit to gain confidence and expertise. At that point, having the recruit join the team is a wise choice. With a solid foundation and time, the movement becomes automatic and the paddler now has the tools needed to react in unforeseen situations. 

With assistance from coaches and by putting theory into practice, elite teams can be challenged with their head held high. Unforeseen situations can be approached with confidence. Training and practice are key components to getting off to a proud start.

In technical training, trainers play the role of coach. They design a training program that aims to push participants’ limits and provide them with the tools they need to get off to a successful start, without being a drag on their team. A training course is designed to teach initial steps and provide a forum where participants can ask questions and obtain help from the trainer.

To get training off on the right foot, technical trainers distribute documentation in advance. Participants can thus familiarize themselves with the content and complete practical exercises to save valuable classroom time.

Theory and demonstration are not enough

The course’s structure and the technical trainer’s level of preparedness and enthusiasm are key to participants’ success. Contrary to popular belief, theory and demonstration are not enough. Participants need to take part in as many practical exercises as possible to speed up their learning curve and increase their productivity. This strategy helps participants memorize the sequence of actions they need to take and feel at ease when performing future tasks. 

Discussion is also an excellent method to verify if participants properly understand. Smart trainers will use the questions that come up in class to improve course content.

At the end of the course, participants go back to their teams with the new skills they’ve acquired so they can take their place and add value to the business. 

Technical training is often perceived negatively: not enough time, staff constraints, etc.  And yet, developers who are up to speed on the technology and have good knowledge of tools can display autonomy, efficiency and creativity in the performance of their tasks. 

In conclusion, a coach and a trainer have a common goal; at the start of a sprint, participants need to feel confident that  they’ll successfully reach the finish line with proper technique, free of injury or technical debt. Training is a key ingredient for helping the members of your team brave wind and stormy seas.