I’m constantly amazed by how many people sweating away their days in the businesses I’m involved with, often refer to themselves as professionals, but equally often fail to act as such. Instead, many of these people often display a high degree of non-professionalism in much of their professional endeavor.
[One interesting observation is that the opposite of a ” real pro” is rarely an “amateur” – many amateurs in any given field actually display much more professionalism in their work than the ones who get paid for the same or similar job (the “professionals“) – take the folks developing open source apps and programs on their spare time as an example…]
Being a real pro is more about a “state of mind” and attitude than it is about fancy certifications or exams. Nor does the fact that you are getting a salary or payment for your efforts make you a Pro.
Being a real pro demands not only theoretical knowledge, but more importantly constant, continuous and lifelong learning & practice.
But be aware, not just any practice or learnng will do, despite the saying “practice makes perfect” – far from it: often when people claim having 10’s of years of experience of something or other, it’s actually 1 year of experience repeated 10 times…
For any practice to make a real difference, your practice must be perfect too! Have a look at this article by Jon Auerback, based on the findings by Anders Ericsson, a researcher and psychologist at Florida State, of 10000 hour fame, having performed deep research into what it takes to become a real pro.
So, to become a true pro, you must pay constant attention to your attitude and actions, and seek ways to constantly improve them.
To me, to become a real pro, it is far from sufficient to have a fancy sounding title, or a degree from some university or other type of education or training. Nor do any of the today so popular professional certifications impress me much – I mean, if I can become a Certified X (replace x for any fancy title you want, such as ‘Master’/Architect’/’Project Mgr’/’Financial Planner’ etc) of Y (replace y with any process/product/workflow/domain) – by attending a day of two of “training”, most commonly sitting in a class listening to a “guru”, then, I doubt the actual value of such a “degree”.
But since we live in the age of Grandiosity, I doubt these more or less meaningless certifications and attempts to academization of everything will go away anytime soon – au contraire, will will most likely see much more of it in the future.
Talking about Grandiosity, I’m nowadays constantly amazed and amused by all the skills I’m endorsed with at LinkedIn – for many of those endorsements my LinkedIn-profile is attributed with by all those kind folks out there, I have no clue about what that skill is all about…! 🙂
To summarize: the next time you are going to meet with someone with a fancy tag line on their business card or email footer, a tag line such as “Certified Master of Something“, no need to get neither impressed nor intimitated: in all likelihood, all that the tag line says is that the person you are going to meet has attended a nice socializing session for a day or two, and gotten a diploma to place on the cubie wall.