Like it or not, your success as a professional (be it software development, network administration, or anything) depends on how the marketplace accepts the value that you bring into the table. That is, the more value you give that the customers are willing to accept in exchange for something of value, the more successful you become. Increasing your value in the marketplace, therefore, is a necessary ingredient for success in your chosen field. And a sure way to guarantee failure is to contribute nothing of value to others.
I personally know of there are three potent weapons available to any professional who is serious about increasing his value in the marketplace. If you want to DO more, HAVE more and BE more… well, READ more of the following…
It cannot be denied that someone who graduated from a 4-year degree is generally more capable in performing a professional service than someone with, say, a 2-year diploma. I said generally, because there are exceptions. And the main reason why companies would prefer to hire a degree holder over a non-degree holder even in jobs requiring no special skills is that the years spent in school is enough proof that the person has gained enough discipline and willingness to be trained or educated. The more educated a person is, the more value he can contribute to the company that employs him.
Did you browse the Job Market lately? No matter who is hiring what, one thing is commonly being sought after: experience. Solid experience counts solidly. Experience exhibits a multiplier effect to the one who posses it.
As a matter of fact, education means nothing in the marketplace if it is not backed by experience. The business world is filled with sad tales of over-educated (in reality over-schooled) professionals who could not make it competitive marketplace. A professional who is serious about getting ahead in the ladder of success will certainly make sure he doesn’t join their ranks.
All the great leaders you can think of certainly demonstrate excellence. The good news is that is not just a commodity of great leader. Any professional can achieve a high degree of excellence. As John W. Gardner puts it, “Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
As you already know, it’s the combination of the three factors that make them more potent. I’ll be glad to hear how you creatively use all three to your advantage and in solving your client’s problem. Drop me a line or two.