Pursuing education beyond an undergraduate degree can give you the opportunity to fine tune your skills and zone in on a speciality within your chosen field. Mike Balog, the chief technology officer and co-founder of Zonoff, found the right direction for himself after getting a taste of what was out there.

(Photo Courtesy of Mike Balog)

(Photo Courtesy of Mike Balog)

What education is needed to do your job successfully?

“In my role as chief technology officer, it has been extremely helpful to have my Doctorate in Electrical Engineering. While it’s not a necessity to carry out the position, my education and time spent at Drexel University has allowed me to be more successful.

I decided to get my master’s and later my doctorate. Those years taught me how to immerse myself in one area and become a subject expert. I enjoyed this, and it provided me with extra time to make sure I was entering a field that was right for me.”

Do you believe education plays a vital role in landing a great job in the technology field?

“An education teaches you the theory behind a skill and not just the specific practice. The practice you can learn on your own. Learning the theory behind what you do allows you to grow and apply your specific practice to different aspects of the organization. It gives you more flexibility to test out and try new things because you have a larger background.”

What is the most relevant aspect of your education that applies to your day-to-day job?

“School forced me to get my feet wet, learn about and become an expert in a range of subjects, and that’s pretty much exactly what I have to do now in my current position.”

What is the most fun aspect of your job?

“I get to do research in many different aspects and test out a ton of things in order to find innovative ways to solve problems. In some ways, I’m a trailblazer that gets to work with top-notch talented co-workers that take these ideas and concepts and make them into real products.”

Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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