Is an engineering degree the right degree? What is the best job out of college?
These kinds of questions have come up more often in my life as my kids are all in or approaching college age.
When people ask for my advice, I offer something different than what they typically hear.
Having the right mindset is what truly drives long term growth. Over my years in business, I’ve seen that openness is more important than having all the right skills Day 1. Effort goes at least as far as raw intelligence. Work ethic beats pedigree. Humble people learn faster and better than proud people.
Over time, they become better teammates and leaders, who are stronger at learning, adapting, and collaborating.
Of course, skills matter. Degrees and knowledge open doors. But once you’re through that door, the right mentality allows you to fly rather than crawl.
In addition to pursuing specific skills, I advise young people to cultivate the most effective attitudes. Be curious, love learning, stay open to criticism and new things.
The world is changing fast. This rapid change isn’t slowing down. And no one knows what the future economy will look like. Just as an example, I recently read that experimental AI systems can help people create new software without actually knowing how to code. I wonder how that could impact what kind of people can become software programmers in the future.
We all want the best future for our kids. Nobody knows for sure what skills will be in demand 10 or 20 years from now. What I do know is that open-minded, hard-working, collaborative, and creative people will always find success.