How To Become A Technical Expert

Part 11 of 21 in the Series: Career Advice - Ask IT Career Coach

When you meet someone who is a technical expert, you immediately make a few assumptions about the person’s education, income, competence, marketability and problem-solving skills.

While you may find it easy to identify the technical experts in your industry, it is much harder to become one..

Read the rest of this article and you will learn how you can become a technical expert easily.

Who Is An Expert?

An expert, according to Wikipedia, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability in a particular area of study.

An expert can be, by virtue of training, education, profession, publication or experience, believed to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person.

The last line in the definition of an expert deserves a closer look because it mentions some of the processes that turn an average person into an expert including training, education, profession, publication and experience.

Who Is A Technical Expert?

Borrowing from Wikipedia’s definition, for the purposes of this post, I will define a technical expert as someone who has the training, experience or education to give sound advice and information in a technical profession.

The technical professions referred to in this post include those of data analysts, database developers, software developers, business analysts, project managers, software architects, web designers, testers and other software development professional.

Why Should You Become A Technical Expert?

There are two (2) main reasons why you would want to become a technical expert.

  1. Compensation:

    If you are a technical expert you are compensated at levels far above the market rate for other professionals in your field.

    You will find it easier to name, ask for or negotiate your billing rate and prove that you are worth your billing rate.

  2. Name Recognition or Star Power:

    I have been in several technical interviews where the interviewer googled my name before the interview.

    Typically the interviewer will take a note of how many times my name gets mentioned on Google, who is mentioning my name and what websites my name where mentioned on.

    My interviewers frequently comment about the books I read or the blogs I manage.

    I have received both job offers and software consulting offers through visitors who stumbled upon my websites or blogs and then decided to do business with me.

    In my opinion, one of the biggest benefits of being considered a technical expert is that you will find it easier to get job offers or consulting offers as a technical expert since you have taken the time to make your expertise known and available to the general public

What Do Technical Experts Do?

  • Marketing Rules:

    Recognizing technical expertise is not a 100% objective exercise.

    A large part of becoming a technical expert deals with how willing you are to market yourself, your skills, your expertise and your domain of specialization to the general public.

    It is a virtually difficult or impossible to become a technical expert without a fair amount of marketing or writing or speaking or presentation of your skills to the public.

    No one gets to become a technical expert in the privacy of their own room without showing themselves to the public.

    This is one of the greatest secrets or reasons why some people become technical experts and others don’t.

    Simply put, the more you get your name out there and your name is associated with a field of expertise, the more you are considered to be a technical expert in that field.

  • The Role of Knowledge:

    The other way to enhance your career or profession and become a technical expert is simply to study, educate, train and increase your knowledge in a technical subject to a level far above that of others in your industry.

    Increasing your knowledge takes time, effort and dedicated practice.

    However, if you invest the time to master your technical domain and become an expert, your technical excellence will be noticed by your colleagues, your managers, your clients or the public as you begin to solve increasingly complex or difficult technical problems.

    For example, several times in my career, I have been called to a client site and given a problem that stumped the team or the experts on the team, only for me to resolve it within a few minutes or hours.

    When this happens, my client simply reason that since I solved in an hour, a problem that has kept the team back for several days, I am worth every penny I am paid and more.

    I have actually had clients prompt me to increase my billing rate because of the perceived and real value that I bring to the table.

    Advancing your skills and knowledge is important because no amount of marketing on your part will replace your ability to resolve a client’s problem within a few minutes of you encountering the problem.

    Your knowledge, expertise and personal ability to solve complex or difficult technical problems will also earn you your client’s loyalty, respect and keep you billable on a project long after everyone else is off the project.

So, here is a role of thumb for aspiring technical experts:

Your marketing skills will get you through your client’s or employers door but your technical expertise will keep you billable or engaged with your client or employer.

How Do You Become A Technical Expert?

Here are a few things you need to do to build up your skill and become a technical expert:

  1. Education:

    You need to stay educated and abreast of all the developments in your field.

    You must master both the theory, concepts and topics associated with your body of knowledge.

    When I refer to education, I mean both formal and informal education.

    If you can afford (time, money and effort) to go to college, do so.

    If you can afford (time, money and effort) to go to graduate school, do so.

    Whether you can attend college or graduate school or not, make sure you are not skimping on buying and reading your professional books (informal education).

  2. Training:

    Get as much training as you can. It will look good on your resume and will also improve your skills, knowledge and expertise.

    Pay attention to online training classes, distance learning or training programs and other training opportunities that present themselves.

  3. Coaching / Mentoring:

    Find someone who is experienced enough in your field of specialization to be your mentor or coach and then simply follow their instructions.

    In my opinion, choosing a qualified mentor or coach can make or break your career and not choosing one is simply not an option.

    When you find someone who has built a habit of successfully mentoring or coaching others, simply do what he or she tell asks you to do.Mentoring or coaching is critical to becoming a technical expert because there are so many nuances or details particular to each professional career, that you simply would not and cannot observe or learn in a classroom setting.

    These details are meant to be passed on to a willing student by an able mentor.

    If you miss out on your mentoring or coaching opportunities, you will miss out on wisdom, the kind of wisdom that separates the men from the boys and either distinguishes your career or relegates you to meaningless conformity for the rest of your career.

    Simply put, to become truly great, you must learn how great minds work.

    The saying “The student is only as good as the teacher” is important to keep in mind.

How To Take Action

  1. Choose a field of specialization:

    Decide what you want to become a technical expert in. Choose based on market demand for specific skills, job data, your personal strengths and weaknesses or other relevant criteria.

  2. Become The Best:

    Train yourself with the goal of becoming one of the best in your field of endeavor.

    Study, get a coach or mentor, educate yourself and make it your goal to know better than anyone else.

  3. Show Yourself To The World:

    Technical experts are not created in oblivion or in the privacy of their own room.

    To be considered an expert in the public eye, you must be willing to present, sell, educate or market your credentials to the public.

    It is actually public opinion, public judgment or the opinion of others that confirms you as a technical expert.

    So, you must be willing to inform, educate, train and assert what you know with others before you can be accepted as a technical expert.

    There are several ways to do this, for example, with blogs, newsletters, books, ebooks, magazines, articles.

    Choose the media that works for you based on your budget, your personality and type of profession and then present yourself to the world.

Training Programs for Technical Experts

There are some training, coaching and mentoring opportunities right now for becoming a technical expert.

  1. SQL Training Program:

    This training program is designed for database developers, data analysts, business analysts, computer programmers, web developers and other software development professionals.

    You can read more about the SQL Training opportunity by clicking here: SQL Training

  2. Software Developer Training: :

    This is a coaching, mentoring and training program for software developers, web developers and computer programmers.

    You can read more about by clicking here: how to become an expert software developer.

About Me:

My name is Kingsley Tagbo and I’m a technical expert living in Saint Louis, Missouri.

I write about the training, coaching, mentoring and personal development of software development professionals including business analysts, computer programmers, testers, project managers, web designers, data analysts, report writers, software developers and other software development professionals .

My consulting firm, Exacticity, performs software development consulting and training for clients throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. If you are in need of software development expertise or training, contact me.




7 Discussions for “How To Become A Technical Expert”

  1. vinodh

    Hi,
    i am from india. this site is very informative. infact this is the only site of this kind when i search in google.

    I agree totally with this writeup. I am listed as the no 1 expert in linkedin in technology category.

    you can check.

    regards
    vinodh

    • Congratulations on being listed as a #1 expert on LinkedIn in the Technology category.

      Can you tell us how you achieved this? What are the actions you took to become the #1 Technology Expert on LinkedIn?

      What is your advice for aspiring experts on LinkedIN?

      What are the benefits you’ve experienced from being ranked as a #1 Technical Expert on LinkedIn?

  2. Yash

    Hi
    How would you compare Product Specialist vs Technical Expert?
    Which title is better? I am being offered one or the other, which one to choose.
    Thanks.

    • A Product Specialist may be a business-oriented career while a Technical Expert is a Technology oriented career.

      The question is not which Title is better … but which Job is better for you.

      Assuming that you have made a career development plan for yourself .. or mapped out where you want to be in the next five years. So, does your plan involve learning more technology, programming languages, software systems? If it does and you love playing about with technology then go for a Technical Expert role.

      Does your career development plan involve learning more about the business of your current employer, working with business problems and providing business oriented solutions? Are you more of a business-oriented person than a technology oriented person? If you answer yes, them take the path of a Product Specialist!

  3. Ray Royal

    I am looking for advice on how to grow professionally as an IT Specialist.

    • Hi,

      Become the Best in your Field,

      You want to become the best in your industry or field because that means you will get compensated better and you will get better jobs or get promoted by your employer more easily.

      Here are the steps to becoming the best in your industry:

      a.) Choose an industry that you are passionate about. Start with an industry or field that you are passionate about or with a topic within your industry that you are really interested in learning about.

      b.) Become the best at your field through training and personal education

      c.) Market your skills or knowledge as an expert. Becoming an expert is not enough, you must tell others about your skills or abilities

      d.) Give back to your industry. You can establish your legacy or greatness by coaching beginners in your industry and helping them to find career success.

      This is the IT Career Coach way and you may erad more about this concept in this article title: How To Become A Technical Expert

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