Experience vs. Education

The USA Today’s Snapshot for today indicated that the IT industry prefers to hire experience. 84% of those hired have previous IT experience, over just 16% of new college graduates. As an IT professional getting started I had the opportunity to start my career during college. Even though that really helped me overall, it took a while for me to understand what “experience” really meant.

The best career advice that I can give besides having a strong resume is to start working in the field of your choice before you graduate. While co-op programs are great, I believe you have to take your destiny into your own hands and try to get into a company doing the “grunt” work of your field while you go to college.

I still would like to stress that Education is the best way to get into the corporate world. That diploma is your passport into companies. However, experience is that elite club that will get you to the head of the line. I am careful not to say that without a diploma you cannot get into the IT business, I know a couple of people that made it in without one and are very successful, but it does make it easier to get a better pay from day one.

Speaking of pay, experience will get you better paid… but you might have to sacrifice pay while getting experience. Something that you should always keep in mind is to never step backwards in pay unless you are going to gain experience.

You might be asking yourself what is experience really? My simple answer is that it is the ability to deal with situations that someone without “real world” work experience cannot handle. A little more in depth answer is that it is the skill of being able to apply self tested solutions to problems.

Education makes you trainable, experience makes you valuable. People that go back to school to change careers later in life will tell you that most of the skills that made them great at one profession will count towards the experience in the new field. Human relationships are a huge part of experience. Learning how to deal with clients and peers are things that are hard to teach, they are things that someone just has to learn on their own.

Today when looking at someone that I would like to bring onto my team, their experience is a huge factor. However, I understand that new graduates still need an opportunity to gain that experience and I am trying to come up with ways to expedite that process. Technical knowledge can be “boot camped” however, I don’t know of a good way to cram experience into a class.

I tend to agree with the figures that USA TODAY presented. I with it was not the reality, but Education and Experience are not mutually exclusive. They complement each other well, but the most powerful candidates will always have a mixture. In the end Experience still wins.

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Tagged and Challenged 24 things about moi

Static brain has challenged me, to post 24 things that are unusual about me… I have posted 100 already so it will be hard not to repeat but I must try… must I callenge the usual suspects or find 6 new victims?

1. Out of all the icecream flavors, chocolate is my least favorite.
2. I like hot cocoa.
3. Overall, I am not a fan of ice cream.
4. When I must have some, I prefer a banana split.
5. I do like wipped cream.
6. I am not a fan of sweet candy.
7. I like sour and tart candy better.
8. Hard coffee flavored candy rocks.
9. I like Naruto

10. I know how to say I love you in 5 languages. (Sp, En, It, Fr, Uk, Pt) Plenty more here.
11. My first phrase when I was a baby was “Leave him alone”
12. I took my first steps at 8 month’s old, but due to an accident had to relearn when I was about 2.
13. I have never had surgery.
14. I wake up before everyone in the house most of the time.
15. I like flying.
16. I dislike hotels.
17. I don’t like riding in a bus or a train due to motion sickness.
18. I have seen the Milky Way.
19. I can count in 6 languages up to 3, 4 languages up to 10, and 2 all the way.

20. I am not afraid of animals in the water, however seaweed just grosses me out.
21. I climbed a tree last year.
22. I can rollerblade backwards.
23. I like Oolong tea.
23. I miss eating fresh tropical fruits, especially all the different kinds of mangoes.

So consider yourselves tagged!

Do you Google?

I am not talking about just the best search engine there is, I want to talk about all the other things that google offers but you probably have not taken the opportunity to check out.

If you don’t have a Gmail account, get one… if you need an invite just leave a comment or e-mail me. If you cannot figure out what my gmail account is, maybe you don’t deserve the free account 😉 kidding. Gmail is the e-mail service that got all others to not only step up their storage space but also their interfaces. It is an excellent tool because it lets you search your e-mails like no one had done before. It makes it very simple to organize your e-mails and my complainst have all been taken care of as development has moved forward.

Once you have gotten into Gmail and moved all your contacts from everywhere else (it is easy), then you can start enjoying their web enabled, no fuss chat program. Google talk rocks. It interfaces with your e-mail and makes it a lot easier to communicate. They also offer a fat client that is pretty good. But wait, if you have trillian or gaim don’t despair, you can still use the google chat.

You would think that it would stop there right? No… you don’t use outlook already to keep your calendar… you have never used one. Enter Google Calendar. An excellent web calendar that even lets you make things public so that others can see when you are busy or not. A calendar can really help keep things straight for you and having it online makes it accessible from any machine… better yet, you can export your outlook right into the Google calendar!

And there is more, a lot more. Are you a blogger? Or a news junkie or have an RSS addiction? If you don’t know what an RSS is, then we need to send you to internet rehab for sure… but before you download any other RSS reader, use the Google RSS Reader and be amazed at how well it works.

Are you a Mac User that switched to PC for whatever ungodly reason? You miss iPhoto? Do you have tons of pictures in your computer but no way to really organize them? Do you have a need for a little picture touch-up but Photoshop scares you? Then download Picasa and feel right at home.

Don’t have an antivirus right now? Getting more adds than your finger can click off? Then download the Google Pack and get 6 months free or Norton as well as ad aware, on top of that you get Picasa too :) all in one neat package!

Lost? In need of directions? then Google Maps can save you. I have not seen a more accurate one in quite some time… I was an avid mapquest user but google maps really rocks. I still have not even gone to their free sms services, google earth and many other things that make google great… so go and get Googled, it is even a dictionary word now! Happy Googling and what’s best its FREE!

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Moving to a new place is not easy, it is worse to have to move to a whole new state alone. I’ve done it before and I feel that I need to share what made a difference for me so that if anyone finds himself or herself in this situation they can experience things differently. I am lucky this time because when I move to KC I will have family with me, that makes things a lot easier to deal with.

First and most important is positive attitude. If you look at the situation with happy glasses it will be so much better. When you talk to family and friends back home be sure to always include the good and exciting things that you have found. Reminding yourself of all the negative things is only going to make it more difficult to adjust.

Find places that remind you of home. If you are a pizza lover, make it a quest to find the pizza that reminds you of home the most. Find that small coffee house that might have your favorite brew. If you are into movies, see if there is a local video store (I know- a dinosaur now-a-days). If you love pets find the local pets store. The Internet is a great resource to find places that might remind you of things from home, but in some smaller cities the yellow pages can be a better resource.

Meet people. It is important that you meet people. Start with the people around you, at work, neighbor’s maybe even coworkers. Getting to know people is the easiest way to start making a place feel like home. Join a church, local Gym, Martial Arts School or a local club. Getting to know people with similar interest will make it a lot easier to start conversations and find friends.

Drive around until you get lost. Once you get lost buy a map. You will be amazed at the places you can find while just cruising around a new place. Driving without a set destination is also fun, like lets say you want to go get dinner, but you want to find a Chinese place… then just drive around and I am sure a China Palace will just pop out of no where.

Last but not least, find a literal happy place. Find a place where you can either just park your car and stare at the scenery. Find a lake, a park or an open field. I am a sky lover, so pretty much anywhere I can see the sky can be a relaxing place for me. Other cool places are rooftops, but again find a place where you can get away and just relax.

If you have other suggestions, please share, I am sure that someone out there will appreciate the advice :)

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1 a : not easily pulled apart : COHESIVE -a tenacious metal- b : tending to adhere or cling especially to another substance -tenacious burs-
2 a : persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired -a tenacious advocate of civil rights- -tenacious negotiators- b : RETENTIVE -a tenacious memory-
synonym – STRONG

One of the favorite words around the company I work for is tenacious. That is how the company approaches every single project… we will stick to it until we achieve the goal we seek. Tenacious is a word that is used in Spanish quite a bit. It is an adjective that is very common used to describe people and situations. English has a lot of words in the vocabulary but are not used as much as they should. I find myself running out of words to describe things when I write in English, and it is not for the lack of language register but rather because I would either sound elitist or be accused of using “big words.”

Languages are a beautiful thing, and I believe that English is not used to its fullest potential. While I believe that one can be a lot more descriptive in Spanish, I think a similar level can be accomplished in English if more people accepted a wider range of vocabulary. Stories told between friends would be a lot more picturesque; story telling would be revived as an art form. You first have to love the language, then learn it and ultimately use it with tenacity.