iLink has created a fun and entertaining way to inculcate the spirit of continuous learning and constant self-improvement among its employees
iLink Systems Inc. launched a unique Saturday University program for all it employees in their offices spread across Bellevue (WA), Fairfax (VA) and Chennai(India). A University calendar was published for the first trimester and it included an unprecedented 76 training hours in that period. Annualized, this works out to 28.5 training days per employee every year; well above the annual training provided to software employees in most organizations.
Subject matter for the training was spread over a wide variety of areas, predominantly based on the latest Microsoft Technologies, but also on building domain competence like business intelligence and soft-skills including communication and presentation skills. Training methodologies were also varied including formal training, in-house presentations, e-learning and self-study. Evaluation was primarily done through industry standard examinations, but also through a combination of seminars, demonstrations and presentations that helped employees hone their soft-skills as well.
A significant portion of iLink Systems projects’ involves technologies that are still a couple of years away from hitting the market. Surveys among iLinkers participating in Microsoft TechEds revealed that several participants in these forums had not even heard of technologies that iLink had been working on for several months. iLinkers typically derive technical solutions from first principles as published materials are lacking in these technology areas. The Saturday University is the place where iLinkers collaborate to find these first time solutions to brand new problems in brand new technologies.
Sridhar Mahadevan, CTO of iLink Systems “We work a lot on Alpha and Beta ware to provide our tech-savvy customers the first mover advantage. Traditional training methods do not help in these areas; hence the concept of Saturday University was born. Of course, we do have special access to Microsoft product teams who helps us solve some really obscure issues. It is definitely lonely working in the areas we are in right now, but the thrill of being the first keeps us going!”
Sam one of the employees at the India office, but currently in the US, felt the opportunities this provided were nonpareil “In none of the other companies I have been at, was employee self-development such a big agenda with the management”.
iLink Systems is an end to end software solutions provider with core capabilities in enterprise application development and integration, eMarketing and creative services. iLink focuses on providing software development solutions to the non-profit, healthcare, real estate, insurance, government and online retail verticals. iLink has served clients like Cingular, HP, Hitachi, National Guard, AARP and Arthritis Foundation. As a Microsoft Gold Partner and Vendor, iLink is positioned among the top Microsoft based solution providers. iLink operates from its offices in Seattle WA, Fairfax VA and Chennai, India. For more information on the work culture at iLink Systems, check out www.ilink-systems.com/careers.asp