Understanding how persistence and curiosity can impact one’s career goals is important for anyone at any stage of career development, particularly in light of our continuing transformation into a knowledge economy, and the critical importance of embracing lifelong learning. It is especially important to recognize how the skills you learn, the knowledge you accrue, and the experience you gain, can translate to “value” for both yourself, and for employers. Finally, it can be instructive to explore concepts like planned happenstance and growth mindset, and to investigate differences between persistence and resilience, in order to effectively identify your personal strengths, and those areas you want to improve on.
The two most important traits in a job candidate
A recent Business Insider article highlighted an episode of Reid Hoffman’s podcast “Masters of Scale” that featured Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt as the guest. In the episode, Schmidt identifies what he believes to be the two most important traits in a job candidate—persistence and curiosity.
When choosing a career, there are safe paths to pursue, and there are risky ones.
A career in data offers the best of both worlds. On the one hand, it is a secure choice—demand for data talent continues to increase, and shows no sign of abating. With data skills in your toolkit, you’re going to be in demand in virtually any industry. On the other hand, it’s a brave new world out there. We’re producing massive amounts of data, and that data is making amazing new things possible. But, the methods and strategies we’re having to continually invent to harness all that data means the future is continually being redefined in real time. Those on the data front lines are at the forefront of technological progress.
The good news is, that no matter which route you take—the secure one, the risky one, or something in between—there are ample career opportunities out there for anyone interested in data.
But, how do you actually get started?
That’s where this guide comes in. At Udacity, we’re extremely fortunate to collaborate with some of the most forward-thinking companies in the world, and we work with some of the most innovative thinkers and creators in the data space. Our hiring partners represent some of the best career opportunities in the field, and are a critical source of information about what companies are seeing in their data hires.
We’ve marshaled all these resources together to create this guide for you, and all of our expert contributors offer unique perspectives and experiences. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in data, this is your complete guide. To access the guide, just enter your email address below:
There was a time when we spoke of education in the singular. Tell me about your education. One must have a good education. She is pursuing an education. Then came the binary world—“traditional” and “alternative” educations. Running parallel to of this, but operating in a sort of educational netherworld, was the ever shape-shifting concept of “vocational” education.
Now, as we enter what is being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution (”characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres”) we are experiencing a disrupted world of learning; a kaleidoscope of theories, strategies, and approaches each trying to gain a foothold, each making a case for being the most strategic path to a secure future.
The “Prove It” Economy
As it turns out, there may be no one right answer. Each of us may instead need to assemble our own personal learning construct—an aggregate of experiences, skills, and accomplishments that together symbolize our leverageable “value” as contributing members of a workforce. A recent article in The Atlantic offers a succinct description of this new reality:
“The country has entered a “prove it” economy in which codified skills are currency.”
I remember the day my boss told me I would never be an engineer. I was sitting on an itchy gray wool sofa in a glass-walled conference room, hands under my knees, eyes on the floor. I looked up startled at the words: “You want to be an engineer, don’t you? Well, you’re never going to be one.” The possibility had actually never crossed my mind, which made the accusation more intriguing than insulting, so I just laughed and shrugged it off. Looking back, I see the young woman on that couch. And while I hardly recognize her, I know now that she is a future engineer.
I got hired. Three magical words. It sounds so simple, but the process itself often feels like a fragile house of cards, capable of collapse after one wrong move. That said, understanding the hiring process as a process is definitely the right way to approach things. There are steps you need to take, and one success leads to the next, until finally, the BIG success. The three words. I got hired.
Grit. The word seems to be everywhere, and every hiring manager and recruiter seems to be on the lookout for candidates who possess it. But don’t be suspicious of it as a trend—grit is real, and it’s an important trait to nurture within yourself.
But is it everything?
The Biggest Skill You Need
We are in an age when all job-seekers must understand personal branding, and everyone must be a lifelong learner to succeed. What then, do we make of advice like this?
“The biggest skill you need to have these days is curiosity.”
Marketers love to talk about “brand.” So do recruiters. Company brand, personal brand. In the weeks leading up to—and in the days following—the Super Bowl, everyone talks about brand. Which means, whether anyone realizes it or not, everyone is talking about storytelling. This year’s assortment of Super Bowl ads were heavy on story-as-brand. A recent Forbes article noted that:
- Some companies are using their ads to make a political statement (intentionally or not).
- There seem to be more ads focusing on the brand level instead of individual products.
For some, this was a successful approach. For others, not so much. One thing we can all agree on, is that story works, when it comes to provoking emotion. Whether you liked the Audi and Coke ads or not, chances are you discussed them. A very good friend of mine worked on the Airbnb ad, which was a textbook example of story-as-brand in action, and by almost all accounts, a very successful version thereof.
But what does this have to do with getting a job?