Patrick Hourigan has spent nearly 12 years at IBM, initially as a systems telecoms engineer and then as a software developer.
Three years ago he moved into the security division and opted for a course in machine learning and AI.
It took him around 50-60 hours over six weeks. "Technology is continuously moving," he says.
"Last year's tech becomes a stepping stone to this year's tech."
IBM is far from alone in emphasising the importance of training.
In 2013 AT&T, a telecoms giant, launched a training initiative called Workforce 2020.
Part of the programme was an online platform with a tool allowing employees to analyse hiring trends within the company
and find out which skills are needed to qualify for the jobs.
Together with Georgia Tech, a university, and Udacity, an online education group, AT&T offers a low-cost master's degree in computer science.
As multinational tech companies, AT&T and IBM have all the capacity they need to offer substantial training programmes.
Smaller firms may find the prospect daunting, but the existence of online courses means that it is not beyond their abilities.
And they need to try. American businesses will have to fill an estimated 1.4 m new computing and engineering jobs by 2020.
Many companies worry about a shortage of talent in some critical areas.
A recent survey by Enterprise Strategy Group, a market-intelligence firm, found that
51% of companies were short of cyber-security skills, up from 23% in 2014.
The problem may be even worse in Europe.
A European Commission report last year found that 15% of workers lacked even basic digital skills,
while 88% of companies had taken no action to deal with the problem.
A survey by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants found that
a quarter of British workers had received no in-work training in the previous12 months.
Yet managers know that technological change will require their workers to acquire more skills.
The supply from higher education will be insufficient because of students' subject choices,
and immigration may not be able to solve the problem given the political mood.
So firms will have to train workers themselves. The recent increase in spending is only a start.