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by Chin Lapidante on Academic Clinic Fanpage

BS Information Technology: Skills and Factors

What immediately comes to your mind when you hear the term “IT professional”?  Technocrats who spend time in front of their computers all day?  Off-worlders who speak an entirely different language?  Socially-inept geeks who socialize better with technology rather than people?

It’s easy to think of IT people as one or all of the above, but this isn’t necessarily the case.  Perhaps it’s time we took a look at what IT folks are really like these days..

What Are Little IT Students Made Of?

The first, and most obvious, trait of the IT person is the technical know-how.  In a field that deals a lot with computers systems, being comfortable with all this technology is important.

There’s another factor that ties in with tech-savvy, and that’s creativity.  We may think that the world of computers is based on cold, hard logic, yet there is actually a lot of ambiguity involved.  IT specialists combine technical skill with creativity to maneuver their way around this world.

E.Q.?  No Kidding?

As strange as it may sound, IT people still need to possess decent people skills.  It may have been less complicated to deal with computers than with other human beings in days past, but the truth is that there is now a greater amount of interaction between company personnel than ever before.

Expect companies to whip out psychometric measures (i.e. personality tests) to check out potential IT staff.  So start polishing up on your E.Q. now as well as on your computer skills.  As I mentioned in my other article, the good that you’ll be doing will ultimately be directed toward the human race, anyway.

Hotel and Restaurant Management: Skills and Factors

It’s easy to think that training in hotel and restaurant management automatically leads to careers in either of the two establishments.  Despite the course’s name, however, reality isn’t quite as limiting.  Other businesses that involve accommodations (lodges, resorts, bed-and-breakfast places) are also looking for the right people for the job.

So who exactly are the right people for the job?  Let’s find out.

Made to Manage

Every job has its share of pressures and demands.  Leaders and managers have the added burden of directing everyone under them, coordinating things, multitasking and just plain keeping things running smoothly.  Yes, the buck still stops with them.

This challenging job requires a good amount of physical and mental fitness on the part of the manager—long (or ungodly) hours devoted to public service are par of the course.  It goes without saying that managers must be extremely organized and must possess the ability to think ahead.

Being at the forefront also means that approachability, flexibility and the ability to communicate clearly are all must-haves.  After all, no one wants to deal with a grouchy or ambiguous manager.  .

The Flip Side

Yes, it’s definitely a lot of work, but work isn’t all there is to it:  If you’re the type who’s willing to learn new things, meet lots of new people, or work in exotic locations, then this may just be the course for you.

When you really think about it, perhaps good managers get off to a good start by managing themselves first and foremost.  That’s precisely what this course will teach you, should you choose to take it.

BS Education: Skills and Factors

As a student, you’ve probably encountered a lot of teachers—some good, some not so good.  Have you ever given any thought to what makes teachers either good or bad?

Training is one thing; individual differences are another.  There may be certain types of people better suited for the teaching profession.  Let’s take a quick look at these.

The Makeup of a Good Teacher

A member of any profession may be expected to possess a decent amount of academic skill—potential teachers are no exception.  Things can also get trickier depending on the particular field that the future teacher decides to focus on.  For example, SPED teachers also need to be quick to adjust to people with “special” needs.

That’s just the academic know-how.  An important aspect of being a good teacher involves certain non-quantifiables—people skills, if you may.  These play a big part in a teacher’s success or failure.  Good teachers are patient, adaptable and creative; they bring out the best in their students and motivate them to learn more.

Final Words

Finally, potential teachers must themselves be teachable—in other words, they must be believers in lifelong learning.  The reality is that new developments are always turning up in various fields, including education.  Teachers can’t afford to be left behind, so they need to continuously upgrade their knowledge base and skills, just like most other professionals.

In closing, I leave you with some inspirational words I paraphrased from Francis Kong:  “A mediocre teacher teaches.  A good teacher explains.  A great teacher demonstrates.  An excellent teacher inspires.”

BS Nursing: Skills and Factors

They say that it’s easy to be a parent; it’s tough to be a good one.  In the field of nursing, however, becoming a nurse and being a good one both appear to be difficult.  It seems the profession caters to a very specific kind of person.

Let’s take a closer look at what that kind of person that might be.

Nurse Savvy

It’s more or less understood that prospective nurses must possess a decent amount of academic ability—the training involves some fairly technical stuff.  Management and organizational skills are also critical, as nurses are often called upon to coordinate between different health care experts on a patient’s behalf.

For example, nurses tend to deal with the patient’s family members and friends more than doctors do.  Nurses may also play advocate and suggest less expensive medication than the one prescribed by the patient’s doctor.

The “Nurse” Personality

When dealing with difficult patients, generous helpings of tolerance and patience are absolutely essential.  Nurses who really wish to excel in their craft also need empathy—being able to genuinely care for another human being presupposes that one understands what that person is going through.

Unfortunately, the patients aren’t the only people who sometimes test a nurse’s patience—doctors and other nurses sometimes do that as well.  This is where other people skills come into play:  namely, the ability to communicate with and to get along with others.

Granted, being a good nurse has its share of challenges.  Just like any worthwhile endeavor, however, it can also be immensely rewarding for the ones who do their job well.

BS Civil Engineering: Skills and Factors

I once thought that engineers were intelligent people who could get lost in their own little worlds.  I’m happy to say that that isn’t entirely accurate.  Yes, they are intelligent, but there’s more to them than just IQ and assumed absent-mindedness.

After a little research here and there, I found out what real and potential civil engineers are actually like.  Here’s a glimpse into what I’ve found.

The Right Stuff

Civil engineers have an interest in (or at least an aptitude for) mathematics and science-related subjects.  They also possess a natural curiosity about them; they desire to know how things work, and how things can work better.  They often direct their energies toward the latter aspect.

The interesting thing about the wide world of civil engineering is that you can find yourself working in either the great outdoors or the great indoors (read: in front of an office computer), depending on your chosen field.  Love of either kind of environment, coupled with a good amount of flexibility and adaptability, can go a long way.

Getting Along, Helping Along

There are hardly any existing professions these days that are devoid of any social contact. Conflict can sometimes be difficult to avoid when different engineers work together.  Hence, generous amounts of patience, sensitivity, and all-around people skills can be a big help.

Perhaps the most important trait of civil engineers is their desire to want to help others live better lives, regardless of their field of specialization.  If using technical skills to help promote the common good sounds appealing to you, then perhaps the path of the civil engineer is the path you’re meant to tread.

BS Mining Engineering: Skills and Factors

The thought that some people would be interested in collecting rocks has never failed to amaze me.  I figured it must be an acquired taste, a passion, a result of special training, or all of the above.

The interesting thing about mining engineering training is that it not only teaches needed skills to students—it also helps to actualize what is already there.  Let’s examine what potential engineers are like, then.

Engineer Material

If there’s one person in particular who could benefit from and contribute best to the mining engineer program, it’s the problem solver.  Throw in healthy doses of curiosity and creativity, and you’ve got a formidable engineer on your hands.

The kinds of problems that engineers tackle require a respectable amount of tech savvy and proficiency with numbers, as they often involve work with machines and computer systems.

Engineering and Emotional Quotients

The student must also have a knack for breaking things down into their component parts and studying them—in a word, analysis.  As with their peers in other fields, mining engineers will also be called upon to analyze statistics and other forms of data.

Engineers don’t just concern themselves with rocks all day long, even if it does seem that way.  There may be times when they’ll be asked to deal with people as well.  Thus, a healthy amount of EQ, leadership and communication skills is in order.

Finally, the demanding nature of the job requires the student to possess a sound body as well as a sound mind.  It’s no wonder, then, that mining engineers are highly respected in their field of interest.

BA Communications Research: Skills and Factors

If there was one thing I hated when I was in college, it was conducting research.  Somehow, spending hours collecting and testing data or scouring the library for the right information struck me as tedious, boring work.

There are people who thrive on this kind of activity, though.  Perhaps it’s time we examined these kinds of people a bit more closely.

The Mark of a Good Researcher

Researchers for mass communications may be able to pass themselves off as scientists, at least at first glance.  After all, they are precise and step-by-step in their approach toward testing hypotheses and analyzing data.

Besides those, potential and actual communications researchers possess enough curiosity to fuel their research, as well as enough healthy skepticism (read: critical thinking) not to accept something at mere face value.

Disseminating your Research

As a student, you will likely be expected to publish a research paper of your own.  A little creativity and an ability to express yourself well will go a long way toward helping you achieve that goal.

If you ever wanted to develop self-confidence, then you’re in luck:  you won’t merely be called upon to produce a research paper; you’ll also be called upon to present it.  If you’ve got good presentation skills (or you’ve been thinking of honing them), then this is your big chance.

While I may not be the communications researcher type, I’m thankful that I had these kinds of people as friends during my college days.  They helped pull me through the intensive thesis preparation times, and they’re probably still doing what they do best today.

BS Physical Therapy: Skills and Factors

For me, physical therapy seems one step shy of a course in medicine.  After all, if you’re going to help treat someone’s body, you might as well become a “pure” doctor, right?

Not necessarily.  It turns out that the kind of person who’s cut out to be a physical therapist may not be cut out to be a doctor, and vice versa.  Just what kind of person is meant to pursue physical therapy?  Let’s find out.

What Makes a Good Physical Therapist?

There’s a reason they put the word “physical” in physical therapy—the profession involves a bit of physical activity in itself, so a certain degree of physical fitness is in order.  Good observation, precision, accuracy and analytical skills are the norm when it comes to this field

As with most professions, it helps if the therapist can communicate clearly.  You may know how to set someone’s body right, but if you have trouble getting your ideas across, then you’re sunk.

Dual Natures

According to a recent study, you may either be a physical therapist of the generalist type or the specialist type.  The former focuses more on precision and proper procedure; the latter focuses more on flexibility and adaptability.

Regardless of “which way you swing,” your patients will always benefit from a good amount of patience.  Enjoying working with people is a great asset—not only will you be dealing with different kinds of patients, but you’ll likely be working on or with a team composed of different health care professionals.

That, perhaps, is the moral of the story:  you may be involved in a field that focuses on technical skill and physical health, but EQ is just as important, if not more so.

BS Accounting: Skills and Factors

In a previous article, I told the story of an accountant whom my former boss had hired to help us get our financial records in order.  As I observed her work, one question burned feverishly in my brain.

How does she do it?

I later learned that it takes a certain kind of person to become an accountant.  Let’s take a look at what kind of person this is.

The Numbers Game

Accountants eat numbers for breakfast.  Thus, it helps to be able to understand and interpret the language numbers to a comfortable degree.  Accuracy and organizational skills are also related to this—no one will hire an accountant who messes things up, as one teensy-weensy mistake can cost people a lot of money,

Believe it or not, accountants are also called upon to exercise their good judgment.  Certain sub-fields like collections and credit require the accountant to think critically and analytically.  It also helps if the accountants can communicate their thoughts clearly via speech or writing.

More of the Non-Quantifiables

At the end of the day, it’s the intangible qualities of the accountant that matter most—values like honesty, diplomacy and conscientiousness are in high demand.  Technical skills can be taught, but good attitudes and personalities are harder to come by.

It eventually dawned on me that my former boss hired the accountant primarily due to her personality, not so much her technical skills.  The auditor’s confident, yet mild-mannered nature made her a pleasure to work with, and that was a big thumbs-up in my boss’ book.

BS Business Administration: Skills and Factors

When I was a teenager, my father encouraged me to take a business-related college course like BS Business Administration.  I knew he wanted me to follow in his footsteps, but I respectfully declined and marched to the beat of a different drum.

One of the reasons why I politely refused was because I felt I wasn’t the right kind of person for that kind of course.  Well, what exactly is the “right” kind of person, you may ask?  Let’s find out.

Required Skills and Traits

Leaders and managers need to be organized.  I know of someone who had this knack for compartmentalizing things in such a way that kept his entire business system running smoothly.  Being organized helps lead to high productivity levels for both you and the folks under you.

A mentor of mine once told me that ninety-five percent of business plans don’t go exactly as planned.  Thus, you will need a measure of patience and flexibility to skillfully deal with sudden changes.

Manage the Numbers, Befriend the People

Business administrators also need to attend to more mundane things, such as cash flow and accounting.  You’ve got to know where your money is coming from and where it’s going.  Good math and computer skills will be a big help here.

In a previous article, I mentioned that business and relationships were inherently linked.  If you’ve got the skills to get along with others, more people will want to do business with you.  So listen well, find out what people’s needs are and help them solve their problems.  If you do these, you’re practically doing good business already.