Learning Leonardo for Jobs like Steve

Lately, I have been interacting with two types of students. It just so happens that both students are good friends. This has allowed me to listen and observe them in real-time.

One is going to be an Engineer. He is very bright and extremely technical. The other student is equally intelligent, but in a different way. I’d say this student has more general knowledge, and less specific expertise, than the Engineering student. He also doesn’t wear Economics, his chosen major, on his sleeve the way the Engineering student consistently “talks tech”.

Both students are still developing themselves. I am confident, and believe, that each of them will be very successful. Yet, when I place their educations alongside employment opportunities (i.e., and put a future perspective on their situations), I can’t help but wonder what a winning combination it would be to have the best of both students.

Some call this combining art with science or business with technology. Others say the student tandem has both hard and soft skills. Many people see it as using both the left and right sides of their brains. That is, the linear with the whole. I like to think of it as learning the Leonardo da Vinci or developing the Steve Jobs that lies dormant in all of us. And, in times like these, we could certainly use more of both.

More immediately, I want to emphasize this perspective as the ideal to learning that will take you the furthest in today’s world. Success today requires a broader base of knowledge and deeper understanding of specific disciplines. In previous generations, I would dismiss this ideal as unlikely. With Millennials, I give it more of a chance to happen. This is because technology is central to their lives, as is the rapid-fire rate of activity and change.

When the college generation of students today reach full employment, I predict they will change jobs much more often than 7 times, which is a common benchmark that defines their predecessors’ careers.

Next week, I will write Part II on this series of posts. I will offer additional perspectives and provide more specific advice on how to plan your education and career for a new wave of opportunities that is happening now and sure to gain momentum in the future of work.

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