Autodidact- (au-to-di-dact) defined by Websters dictionary as a self-taught person. Autodidacts are generally recognized as individuals who have self taught themselves a skill without going through formal training or education. In the world of the internet there are a growing number of autodidacts. With lifetimes upon lifetimes of information at our fingertips everyone has the ability to grow, learn, and advance their knowledge.
While you shouldn’t necessarily hire a “doctor” or “Lawyer” who has no formal education or degree there are plenty of areas in which hiring an autodidact could be beneficial. Here are 5 Reasons to Hire an Autodidact.
#1 If your business is centered around social media, you will want an autodidact on your team, because the world of social media is constantly evolving and changing. “Only 10 years ago the social media manager role was not even a job or a career. It didn’t exist,” Jeff Bullas wrote in an article explaining the 10 essential skills of a Social Media Manager. An autodidact is malleable, and quick to change course of action. Algorithms for keeping your webpage on the front of Google or maintaining and growing your web traffic are liable to change by the day, week, month, and year. When you have an autodidact on your team, they will be keeping up with the major transitions and learn quickly what is necessary to keep your site and organization relevant. Colleges are only just now starting to offer courses on the subject of social media marketing. When hiring a social media manager, you want someone who is capable of “viewing the whole picture,” as Jeff Bullas describes.
#2 Autodidacts are also all over the world of IT. With technology evolving at an unimaginable pace and speed, you want to hire someone who will evolve with the times. Look for those people who are in the side hustle of building apps and software. These people know the ins and outs of the IT world and will be productive employees while your company goes through the process of launching a new product or service.
#3 Are you looking to solve a world problem through the set up of a non profit? An autodidact who is especially interested in solving the worlds problems may be just who you need. Saga Briggs a managing editor at InformED, wrote an article in 2015 breaking down the habits of the worlds greatest learners in it she mentions Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. Bill Gates dropped out of college during his second year. She quotes him in his 2007 Harvard Commencement speech,
“Don’t let complexity stop you.”
There are people out there who have the knowledge that you need, or at the very least are willing to find it for you. An autodidact never stops once they have developed a passion. They will be constantly looking to know more and be more.
#4 Autodidact’s are voracious learners and researchers, if your apart of a company who needs people to constantly be spilling out new ideas, then an autodidact is who you need on your team. If they don’t know the answer to the question you are asking them, they will by the days end. Whether your a company with a lot of numbers to run or a lot of paperwork to sift through you want someone who is self taught on your side. They have a process for finding answers quickly, without resorting to the brood of “well according to dewey,” (dewey decimal system anyone?) the answer should be right here.
#5 Autodidacts are out of the box thinkers, because as our friend Saga Briggs puts it autodidacts or self taught individuals are open-minded. She states, “It’s important to remember that being open to all backgrounds and perspectives will only aid us further in achieving our goals.” Without formal backgrounds in art or music, self taught individuals within these fields are often able to blossom, because they do not have the strict and structured knowledge in the back of their sub-conscious telling them that something is wrong. Someone who has no experience in the field, but has skills that may transfer over should be looked upon with a mindful eye. These are the individuals who can bring creativity and new insight into company problems.
All in all, as you are running through your candidate pull, try and find those freelancers who have been going about it on their own for awhile and who may want to play their hand in the larger honey pot that is big business or the corporate center.
Tell me what you think in the comments. Have you come across an autodidact in your line of work? Are you yourself a self taught person?