On expertise, self confidence and job hunting
Every time I go through a job search as I am going through right now, it is always surprising to me how much of an humbling experience it becomes. Reading job descriptions is a good way to quantify and effectively gauge what you have accomplished, that you might not even value as actual skill, and how to express it to a potential employer. My own conundrum is, to express it in a medical allegory, that as far as my web development background, I am a generalist, I’ve dealt with different architectures, frameworks and languages, and reached a point where I am trying to become a specialist. It is a little like trying to go from being a family doctor, to a foot surgeon.
That brought me to this excellent article here I ran into today called “Do You Suffer From The Dunning-Kruger effect“, by Jeffrey Waywhich to makes a long story short, totally related to what I am feeling right now. The Dunning Kruger effect, as defined in the article:“The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to recognize their mistakes. The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their own abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority.”
and it manifests itself through “self-proclaimed” experts in a way that they:
- tend to overestimate their own level of skill
- fail to recognize genuine skill in others
- fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy
- recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they can be trained to substantially improve.