What is an Expert?

Created on: December 7, 2019   |   Last Updated on: December 7, 2019

Javascript Expert

Over the past few weeks, I've taken various online courses, read countless blogs, finished two certifications from freeCodeCamp, all of this really dealing with one over-arching area of expertise, Front End Development/Engineering. More specifically, to improve my JavaScript skills. But recently I was caught off guard.

I went to Pluralsight and seen that they had an assessment test to figure out what my gaps of knowledge were. So I took the test and the results were shocking.

At least the result was shocking to me. I took the assessments for HTML5, CSS3, & JavaScript. Unsurprisingly, the assessment considered me an expert in HTML & CSS. I figured I would rank 'high because I love to keep with writing semantic HTML and CSS that doesn't get in the way. So, that wasn't really what surprised me.

The surprise was that I ranked so high with JavaScript. Even with JavaScript, I was ranked as an expert! The assessment still pointed out where my gaps of knowledge were but it was two areas. While the areas that I thought I'd struggle with, seemed quite easy.

It felt quite weird, to be honest. I don't feel like an expert. There's so much I don't know, so much I need to learn. I know for a fact that I have gaps in my own understanding. So how in the world am I an expert? I began to question the very idea of what an expert is.

What is an Expert?

The dictionary definition of an expert is:

noun:
a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority

adjective:
possessing special skill or knowledge; trained by practice; skillful or skilled (often followed by in or at)

verb:
to act as an expert for.

Does this mean the person knows every single thing about his/her field, the short answer NO.

It means so much more. An expert is a person who has taken and takes time to hone their abilities in a particular field, skill, or activity. They've been through ups and downs, made plenty of mistakes and have learned from the mistakes they've made. In fact, Niels Bohr, famous for his part in the development of quantum theory, once said:

"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field." ~ Niels Bohr

But it's still weird!

Though by definition, I could be considered an expert. But, even through testing, and by some of my peers, it still just feels weird being considered an expert.

I guess it could be a result of the Imposter Phenomenon (aka Imposter Syndrome). I think I'll write more about that later.

I just find it weird to think of myself as an expert in anything. But the truth is, after going over this in my mind I do find myself in a constant learning mode building my skills for the job at hand. I'm always teaching others that want to know what I know, as well as asking my own questions to those who I believe will have the answer.

I'm not an expert, believing my time for learning is over but I'm an expert who will increase in his expertise. I will continue to improve. I will continue to learn. I will continue to teach those who want to learn as best as I can.

Conclusion (tl;dr)

An expert is not a person who knows it all, but rather someone who is highly skilled due to training, practice, and consistent learning. I find myself in this state all the time, always reading blogs and books, listening podcasts, taking courses and practicing. Below is listed some resources to help you do the same.

Resources

Disclosure: I do not get paid for any of theses links or products. These are just things I've found useful.

Blogs

Books

Podcasts

Courses

Other Resources

All these resources have helped me developed over these short few years. Hopefully, they'll be a help to you as well.


Posted In: Web Development