Last year I posted a question on GeekSpeak, asking what it was about what they knew or did which defined them - in their own mind - as a particular kind of IT Pro.
The discussion which followed was exciting and enlightening and left a deep impression on me.
Once of the things that really struck me was how learning, rather than existing knowledge, was a common thread among most of the comments. So many people expressed an almost ravenous hunger for new information, for the chance to acquire new skills.
Maybe that's what sets IT Pros apart from other professions. Or maybe that shows the kind of personality who is drawn into a career in IT in the first place. Is it nature, or nurture?
There's another hidden nugget in all the comments: a preponderance of folks who indicated that teaching - whether formal or not - was part of what defined them as a "pro".
Why was that important? Because in some languages (Hebrew among them), the word "to learn" is identical to the word "to teach". The only thing that changes is the directionality of it (do you teach me, or to I teach you?) The importance of that concept can't be understated:
In order to learn, one must also be committed to teaching. And in order to teach, one must be prepared to learn.