More good thoughts from Greg McMillan — this time about training and developing expertise. Part of the thought is that you never stop learning. Greg talks a little about his development. Most of what got me where I am is due to my drive for continuous learning. It started early. I could do a lot of electronics math before I graduated from high school. I headed off to engineering school full of optimism. They crushed that. In my day education was very regimented. If you went off on your own path, it was at your own peril. So I did something I don’t even think is discussed these days–classic Liberal Arts. That doesn’t mean taking easy courses to get a degree. It means you can learn just about anything if you apply curiosity, learning skills, thinking, reading and experience. It’s important you never stop learning–ever.
The other thing Greg mentioned was training on-the-clock. At one time skilled trades were learned through apprenticeship programs in a company. My grandfather dropped out of school at around 16 when his step-dad told him to get a job. He got into a program at The Monarch Machine Tool Co. and learned to be a machinist. That led him to jobs where he was eventually a plant superintendant in a General Motors plant. When I was very small he taught me about manufacturing engineering when he described turning the plant from manufacturing refrigerators to machine gun bolts during WWII. He took classes at the General Motors Institute.
So, hats off to Greg for this great post. Share this with your young colleagues.