Bottom-up opportunities, self-directed learning, and external expertise

raffaella rossini

This is the last blog post of our small series about the Learning and Development landscape for tech people at We are going to explore the learning opportunities emerging bottom-up from our people, as well as the way in which we leverage external resources and expertise.

Raffaella is part of our People Culture team, working to craft an employee experience that can nurture engagement in the workplace, thus sustaining productivity, innovation, customer satisfaction, and, on a personal level, happiness and wellbeing.

Bottom-up opportunities

In addition to all the ‘official’ internal activities mentioned in the previous posts, my amazing colleagues are also coming up with their own way of making good use of their FriYAYs: some are offering mentoring to others in the form of pair programming sessions on anything, some others are doing R&D, some are developing additional internal training courses, others are writing blog posts to extract learning from their day to day work, some are hosting informal group discussions around trending tech topics…and I’m sure new ideas and initiatives will pop up in the next months.

Self-directed learning

During the FriYAYs people can of course also study on their own to further develop their skills, or acquire new ones. To do so, our Tech people can leverage all the contents in O’Reilly, a platform that grants access to an immense catalogue (around 60,000 titles from nearly 200 publishing partners including Pearson and Harvard Business Review) of ebooks, videos, live training, certifications guides, interactive development environments, and bite-sized tech conferences. Licences to this platform have been made available for the past four consecutive years and also renewed for 2022.

The challenge for self-directed learning in Tech isn’t to find materials to study (there definitely is no shortage), but to invest learning efforts in the best materials, given our context and goals. This is the reason why, when it comes to the most relevant topics for us this year (eg. DDD, Event-driven architecture, Cloud…), our internal subject matter experts pulled together curated lists of materials in the form of playlists on our Learning Management System (it’s a mix of internal content, O’Reilly content, and content available on the Internet, from books and articles, to videos and exercises), plus companion Slack channels, to discuss, exchange ideas, and solve doubts.

External expertise

O’Reilly is an amazing external source of knowledge and expertise that we can count on, and it isn’t the only one! Over the years we have had the opportunity to host industry experts who delivered in-house training, or who worked side-by-side with our people to provide support, consultancy, mentoring and coaching on the job, leveraging the projects at hand in our roadmap.

The most recent examples are:

  • AWS classes on Architecting on AWS
  • Consultancy and training on DDD theory and techniques by Nick Tune, Author of Designing Autonomous Teams and Services, and Mathias Verraes, DDD expert and Founder of the DDD Europe Conference.
  • Co-delivery and capability development with Thoughtworks, that will be supporting us in the next months. Thoughtworks engineering teams will work side-by-side with our teams, in a co-delivery setup, on the most business critical technologies and architectural challenges. The co-delivery work will be supported by coaching, training and mentoring sessions aimed at boosting our ability to deliver engineering excellence and our ways of working.

We usually also have a dedicated budget, whose amount varies from year to year, that we use to enable people to attend external training and conferences. It’s easy to get trapped in the bubble of work: the main value of these initiatives is to bring in outside inspiration, foster open-mindedness, and network with other professionals.

With this, our small series of blog posts about the Learning and Development landscape for tech people at is over. If you like what you just read and if you would like to contribute to shaping our culture of continuous learning, have a look at our open positions: we are hiring for several tech roles, and we offer the possibility of full remote work across Europe.

Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

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