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Technical Expertise

Definition
Technical Expertise is possessing depth of knowledge and skill in a technical area.
Behaviors
An employee demonstrating this competency:
  • Effectively applies technical knowledge to solve a range of problems
  • Possesses an in-depth knowledge and skill in a technical area
  • Is able to develop technical solutions to new or highly complex problems that cannot be solved using existing methods or approaches
  • Is sought out as an expert, to provide advice or solutions in his/her technical area
  • Keeps informed about cutting-edge technology in his/her technical area
Importance of this Competency
A company’s technical knowledge and capability is one its most important and often undervalued resources. Senior individual contributors and many managers need Technical Expertise to make decisions and to perform non-standard technical tasks. As more and more tasks requiring basic technical knowledge become automated, a larger proportion of jobs will require technical problem solving and creativity which depend on Technical Expertise.
General Considerations in Developing this Competency
Technical Expertise requires some technical training and/or education, together with experience using that training and knowledge in applications developed into work processes and methods. Technical Expertise begins with the ability to perform a limited range of technical tasks. With experience, this ability broadens and deepens, so that more complex, unusual, and difficult problems can be solved.

Developing this competency requires reading, attending conferences, and taking technical training courses to keep your technical knowledge current. You must also use that knowledge by attempting new and more challenging technical problems.

The two most important ways to develop this competency are self study and working in partnership with someone more technically skilled than yourself.
Practicing this Competency
  • Take a technical course that will enhance your technical skills in ways that will benefit the business.
  • Read professional journals and other technical publications that will keep your skills current.
  • Volunteer for an assignment that will require you to learn new technical skills.
  • Look for opportunities to work closely with others from whom you can learn new technical skills.
  • Attend professional or industry conferences to learn about technical developments in your technical area.
  • Volunteer to work on a team developing new technical processes.
  • Obtain information about new technology, tools, hardware, and software being used in your technical area.
Obtaining Feedback
Prepare a sample of technical work (such as a technical paper, a set of technical recommendations, or a technical tool or process) and ask someone whose technical judgment you respect to critique your work.
Learning from Experts
Look for opportunities to work closely on technical tasks with people from whom you can learn new technical skills.
Coaching Suggestions for Managers
If you are coaching someone who is trying to develop the compentency, you can:
  • Provide assignments which will develop this person’s technical skills.
  • Make technical training available.
  • Involve this person in meetings where technical issues will be discussed.
  • Review and provide feedback on this person’s technical work.
Sample Development Goals
By June 1, I will attend one professional conference.

By July 1 I will complete a course in Microsoft Access and plan an application to manage competitive product information.

I will join the Extrusion Process Reevaluation Team and attend all meetings, beginning November 1.
Resources

Books

Consult experts in your area of specialization to identify books, articles, and professional journals to read.


EXTERNAL RESOURCES

See Appendix 


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