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Self Education

Self Education

Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 228).

It seems to me the AEC world is shifting:

  1. General knowledge is not enough
  2. The fundamentals of your profession are not enough, they are now assumed and considered basic
  3. Specialist knowledge and artisanal skill is the new currency and pathway to $’s

In reality, the world is shifting from traditional education plus experience i.e. a linear model and moving to rewarding skill acquisition and evidenced based output. The days of “phoning it in” are over. We now operate in a “show me” environment, a world with exponential curves everywhere. I would call it the “new age of the skilled practitioner”.

To thrive in a fast changing work environment where IoT, 5G and big data will in my opinion, change most peoples jobs, continuing “self education” will be necessary and will emerge as a massive new business sector.

What is “self education”. I think it is an attitude and a verb. It is;

  • Taking ownership of your personal development
  • Being proactive and acquiring skills the market will pay for
  •  Seeking knowledge from adjacent fields to build a high value skill stack

From a hiring and interview perspective, this would mean;

  • Any college / university education is “basic training”, it is a ticket to enter and learn in the work place
  • What you have done rather than what you think you can do matters
  • What actual skills you bring matters

In this context when interviewing for a high value team member, my interview questions include:

  • What books have you read? – evidence of self education
  • What podcasts do you subscribe to? – evidence of self education
  • What training courses have you been on or subscribed to on-line? – evidence of self education
  • Where have you traveled? – evidence of self education
  • How many e-mails in your inbox right now? – I am looking for IT organizational and delegation skills here with some knowledge of GTD
  • Is it better to be lucky or clever? – I am looking for humility and personality fit with this
  • Tell me about a work failure – again looking for humility plus self reflection and ownership
  • Tell me about your most successful project – looking for communication skills via story telling
  • What would you do with a $50m lottery win? – looking for an honest reaction with a “left field” question like this

IMHO, AEC students in particular and others in general are misled by the educational industrial complex. They are told to follow the system and keep spending on higher and higher education rather than training and skill acquisition. This is their business model, so I guess they have to push this narrative.

To misquote Tim Ferriss, “learning to learn will become the most valuable skill”.

In the next month I will writing about how in the near future, $90k to $100k will be the maximum possible salary in the AEC industry and how the built environment will digitize and change project management and building commissioning.

We live in interesting times!

BlueRithm Brand Ambassador 

Twitter: @BLDWhisperer

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