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Expertise in your career

Milpool

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Are you an expert at what you do? How do you know? Is expertise even important to you? Is it important in your line of work?

I had an interesting lunch time discussion about expertise vs competence and what is better. Lots of interesting viewpoints. I'd like to hear a wider variety of views on the topic.
 

longskate88

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I'm just getting started, but it seems like expertise isn't required in my field (audit). I'm seeing the way it works is you have the staff plow through most of the work, then the senior reviews and makes changes, and finally the partner reviews again. I think due to the review process there can be small errors/omissions or things you simply don't know how to do, because your work will be reviewed. Competence seems like enough initially, you gain more expertise with experience.

On the flipside, if you're a brain surgeon or in a field where no one reviews your work, expertise would be more important. I'm curious as well...
 

Milpool

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So that brings up one of the points in the discussion I had: what is more economical, lots of competent workers or one expert?
 

GQgeek

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Originally Posted by Milpool
So that brings up one of the points in the discussion I had: what is more economical, lots of competent workers or one expert?

Depends on field, but in IT, there are tiers of support for a reason. you don't want highly skilled people wasting their time fixing printers and showing idiots how to use their mouse (not to mention it also kills their morale b/c that kind fo work is soul-sucking and mindless). You don't want an army of just competent people that can't figure out really tricky problems either. Better to compose your workforce intelligently... Get some low-paid, low-level helpdesk guys, an appropriate number of mid-level guys, and an even smaller number of really expert people that you pay big bucks to.

As for me, I would say that i'm an expert in some things, but not everything, but that's to be expected as IT is a wide field. How do I know? Performance vs my peers, ability to figure things out and solve problems others can't, etc.
 

globetrotter

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I'm an expert in my field. what I do is pretty specific, and there aren't that many people who do it, and I am really among the best. I take a huge amount of pride it that, and in having people respect my professional opinion.
 

Mr Herbert

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im a generalist in my field and competence is far more important at my particular company. we contract all the specialist technical work to people who work in windowless offices.
 

JayJay

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Originally Posted by Milpool
Are you an expert at what you do? How do you know? Is expertise even important to you? Is it important in your line of work?

Yes, because very few people can do what I do or know what I know.
 

Piobaire

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I have neither expertise nor competence. However, I am a commanding figure and know how to impress people.
 

rjakapeanut

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i'm an expert in my field, yes. of course my field is "maintain lackluster study habits and a hearty diet of doritos and beer."
 

acidboy

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can't say I'm an expert in my field, but I seem to do well with my job responsibilities
 

Flambeur

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I am an expert in pretending to be an expert on the internet.
 

Milpool

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Originally Posted by Flambeur
I am an expert in pretending to be an expert on the internet.

This gets to one of the points I made. I think there are lots of "self-titled experts" that really have not put themselves up against any kind of true metrics to make that determination.

Maybe they are simply "the guy" in their workplace that everyone goes to for a certain type of problem. . . is that expertise or simply being good at what they do?

What metrics are useful for determining expertise? Number of invited talks you give around the world? Nobel prize? Paycheck size?
 

Milpool

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Originally Posted by Piobaire
I have neither expertise nor competence. However, I am a commanding figure and know how to impress people.

Are you an expert or competent at impressing people?
 

Piobaire

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Originally Posted by Milpool
Are you an expert or competent at impressing people?

Expertly competent at it.

My core competence is expertise.
 

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