September 26, 2007

Street Smarts or Book Smarts

Street Smarts or Book SmartsA fierce debate was initiated a few years ago with the contention what EQ or Emotional Quotient is more important than IQ or Intelligence Quotient. EQ roughly translated into street smart and the thesis asserted that high EQ was more important than high IQ for success in life.

The jury is still out on the above argument but there is something to be said about street smarts. Numerous research and success stories are available to back up the fact that - extreme success comes to the unconventional and innovative. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell never finished college but started global IT trend setting companies.

In today's dynamic and evolving technical industry, book smart translates into more education, degrees, courses and certification. And there is no death of educational choices from IT technical courses, certifications and advanced degrees. But do these acronyms give you an edge.

I contest that success awaits the street smart. The proactive and assertive individual who learns the relevant lessons on the job and from successful IT professionals. Succeeding in the IT industry requires

  • Learning to communicate, articulating your ideas, listening, empathy and assertiveness
  • Learning not to repeat mistakes already made but investing in mentors, relationships and a network of smart resources
  • Learning to manage your own career and not expecting your manager or company to look after you
  • Investing in yourself, regularly assessing your growth, having goals (short and long term) and making needed changes
  • Learning to understand the trends and the future of the industry so you can be ahead of the curve
  • You can tout your academic credentials to faceless job postings or define your own career path and job function by leveraging your expertise, experience and network - in other words your street smarts.

    No comments: