Feb 20, 2012

Experience can't be counted in years

People always talk about experience with years. In job adverts the requirement for a job might be x years doing something specific. The same goes with articles and resumes, everyone is always talking about years of experience. Funny thing is, that years of experience, doesn't really tell anything about experience or expertise.

Experience is actually learning. Experience means, that someone have learned from what she has experienced doing something. So experience as such includes the actual learning. So it can't be counted in years.

I've seen many people who have history of working years in some area, but still they seem to lack some basic understanding on their area. Experience requires that when you encounter something, one learns from it. So one needs to know how to adapt previously learned experience to the new situation. One needs to know how that situation suits the overall environment in their experience area. This will help them for a better outcome from the situation.

What experience should not mean is that someone will do the things in the same way as they did the last time. That's actually the worst kind of experience there is. This is what I call stubborn experience. People who have used to do the things in, once a good way, does the things all the time the same way. That's not learning at all. That's an experience that should be avoided.

I know years is the only easily measurable unit of experience. It's easy to say that 5 years of experience is better than 1 year. That one most people can agree. But what if there is 3 years compared to 5 years. You can't really tell the difference in which is more competent, can you? Experience in years is not a good measure and no one should ever count on that only.

Don't be fooled or afraid of experience. If you are a recruiter, make sure that one has actually learned something from those years of working in area. If you are someone trying to get a job, make sure the other end understands that you have a learned knowledge in year working in that area. Maybe it would be better to say in CV that " I have x years of continuous learning in the area", instead of just stating that "I have x years of experience in that area".

Today is the best day to learn something new.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

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