Road To MCSE: The Winners Edge Page 4

Thomas Shinder

The Winner's Edge

What seems to be even more important than the amount of knowledge the successful students has is the student's attitude. Although you've heard it before, the oft-quoted phrase "attitude is everything" is as true in IT as it is in any other profession, maybe more so.

The successful student's attitude reflects what I see as the Winner's Edge? What are the characteristics of the person with the Winner's Edge?

  1. They have a can do attitude. These guys see problems and new situations as opportunities to learn something new, to expand their skill sets, and help them move to the next level. They have the attitude that all problems have solutions build into them, and that its up to them to uncover that built-in solution.
  2. They are team players. Not only do they work well with a team, but the team also works well with them. The rest of the team looks forward to working with them. They are often reluctant leaders, being thrust into the position by team members who recognize the problem solving and organizational skills these students have.
  3. They take the initiative. When they see a problem, they try to figure it out and fix it, even if it's "not their job". If they don't know how a particular operating system or application works, they do the footwork and figure it out. They comb newsgroups, the web, TechNet and colleagues on mailing lists (and even the phone) in their search for answers.
  4. They have a "The Buck Stops Here" philosophy. They aren't full of excuses on why they haven't got the job done, or why they didn't do it right. If the job's not done yet, or wasn't done right the first time, they'll tell you so. But you won't hear an excuse. Rather, they give you the facts, and continue the project with most celerity and with the highest level of quality they can provide. They take ownership of their work.

When I spot a student with these academic and personal characteristics, I know that student is destined to end up making a lot more money than I do within two to three years.

This article was originally published on Sep 29, 2000

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