Difference between Experience and Expertise

Key Difference: Experience is knowledge or skill that is acquired over a number of years. Expertise is knowledge or skill that is acquired irrelevant of number or years, but rather from practice.

When looking for jobs, the terms ‘experience’ and ‘expertise’ are very common. Certain jobs require that a person should have prior knowledge about the field and or have experience in that particular field. These two terms help cut the company’s cost of training and developing an individual. Because of their similarities, these terms can become quite confusing as it seems they both are asking for the same thing. However, these two terms are different.

Although, these two terms are more commonly found in technical fields, they can be a part of almost anything including cycling, reading, editing, video gaming, etc. The term ‘experience’ refers to acquiring skills and knowledge in a certain field over a number of years. Experience has mostly to do with numbers and how many years spent in a particular field or doing something particular. Experience can also be referred to in the context of life. A person who is 50 years old is said to have immense life experience. However, in terms of job and a particular field, experience refers to the knowledge and skills acquired by being on the job for a number of years. For example: Jim has 5 years of experience in IT, working for XYZ company.

Dictionary.com defines ‘experience’ as:

  • Knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered, or undergone.
  • A particular instance of personally encountering or undergoing something
  • The process or fact of personally observing, encountering, or undergoing something.
  • The observing, encountering, or undergoing of things generally as they occur in the course of time

The term, ‘expertise’ has to do more with skills and knowledge and is irrelevant of the number of years in that particular field. Expertise can also be naturally found in terms of talent. For example: Monica is an expert tennis player and she has only been on the court a few times. Expertise requires an interest, if a person is interesting in a particular field or subject, he/she will work to learn as much about it and earn expertise. Expertise can also be gained by experience. If a person constantly works in a particular field, he is bound to learn more and more about it and become an expert in that field. However, not always does experience gain expertise. Many people work in a particular field and still never manage to learn anything new about it.

Dictionary.com defines ‘expertise’ and ‘expert’ as:

  • Special skill, knowledge, or judgment; expertness.
  • A person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority.
  • Possessing special skill or knowledge; trained by practice; skillful or skilled.

Image Courtesy: andertoons.com, glasbergen.com

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