Cross training can help you grow

My manager wants me and another .NET programmer to cross train each other on the applications we support. Does this put my job at risk?

My gut feeling is that cross training will not put your job at risk. From an IT manager’s perspective, it’s very uncomfortable to only have one programmer who knows how to maintain a specific application. Cross training is an ideal way to remedy this issue. This is particularly true if the software is part of an important company process. The issue for your manager is that if you (or the person whose application you are learning) cannot be reached, goes on vacation, changes jobs, or leaves the company, then there is no one that can fix the software. This will make the manager look ineffective and raise issues regarding his/her ability to manage.

This cross training may be a big win for you for a number of reasons.

First, having another programmer who can support your application will make it easier for you to take vacation, get assigned to a new exciting project, or even get promoted.

Second, by being cross trained on the other person’s project, you will be expanding your knowledge and versatility, thus, increasing your value to the company.

Third, by explaining your software to another person, you and/or the person you are training, may think of ideas for future enhancement or find places in the code that need improvement.

Next, by being trained in the other application, you may learn some interesting programming tricks that you can add to your programming repertoire.

Lastly, after being cross trained, you will have the ability to maintain both software applications. This makes you more valuable to your manager because you can perform more tasks within the department.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.

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