How to get your boss to approve the training you want

*This is a series.*

We’ve all been there. There’s a training you really want to take, but your boss isn’t so sure. This can be because it’s out of budget, they feel it’s too ‘off topic’ from your current job, there’s no time with your current workload, they are afraid they will lose you if you have new skills, or some other reason they won’t tell you. Let’s go through all of these reasons and figure out how YOU can get you’re training approved.

Photo: #WOCTechChat

Note: I run my own training company, We Hack Purple, that specializes in Application Security, Secure Coding and DevSecOps training. While I am definitely hoping this article helps our customers, I’m also hoping it helps everyone else who needs training! For our examples we will use the Application Security Foundations Program from We Hack Purple, and we will try to justify taking it to your boss.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you are selecting the *best* training for your specific job or career development. Don’t take the popular one, or ‘the cool one’ that people are talking about on Twitter. Evaluate very carefully which one will help you level up in your career and your current job.

Next, read about the content of the training you are taking. Make notes of what’s in there and keep the syllabus handy, as you will likely need to reference it as you write your justification. You also want to have some other links to other courses to compare it to; both to explain why the one you have selected is better and why it’s (hopefully) more cost-effective.

Let’s start creating our defenses for your boss’s potential objections.

Objection 1: We don’t have the budget/it’s too expensive.

This is the one that I personally have received the most often in my career. I have actually had a boss laugh in my face when I suggested one single course that would have cost my combined training budget for 5 years. I explained that cyber security courses are quite costly, and all of my bosses continued to reject my requests. I ended up selecting training from several different places that was cheaper, but nowhere near as good as what I had asked for. At the time I didn’t know how to get around this hurdle.

With a little more industry experience and a chance to see a lot more training, I realized that I needed to explain the value of what we were getting was greater than what we were spending. Let me explain using the We Hack Purple Application Security Foundations Program as the example (but this should work with whatever you have chosen, if you have chosen the best training for your situation).

Up next we will explore Objection #2: They feel the training you have selected is too ‘off topic’ from your current job.

PS We just launched a swag shop, just in time for Christmas! Code securely, in style!

Tanya Janca’s Application Security Adventures #WeHackPurple

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