I recently had the opportunity to interview a wide selection of professionals working in the tech industry. CIOs, CTOs, software developers, IT managers - a real cross section of the our industry's strata. In polling each of these people about what skills it takes to be great, two things came up again and again: Passion and curiosity.

Passion is one of the things that separates the good from the great. When you're passionate, you care deeply, and when you care deeply, you pay attention. If you're passionate about helping users solve the problem they've called in about, you're going to be a great tech support specialist. If you're passionate about server and network performance, you're going to be a great sys admin.

Curiosity is what makes us read the latest Head First series and follow the blogs of leading tech thinkers. It makes us try new and interesting things, broadens our knowledge, and keeps our minds fit. Curiosity also fuels our inventiveness. It's the cool stuff that happens after we ask ourselves, "What would happen if...?"

Taken alone, passion and curiosity are powerful allies. Together, they're a potent force. And generally, where you find one you'll see the other. Passion and curiosity tend to feed off of and fuel each other, and can propel you to greater heights of achievement.

So in thinking about your current career path, ask yourself if you're passionate about it. If you're not, life's too short to waste slaving away at something just to pay the bills. Go on a course of discovery to find out what your passions are, and then create an incremental path to getting there. Odds are you'll be able to make the switch leveraging your current skill set.  It could be a switch from IT to product development, or from tech support to sales engineer. The key is to find your passion, follow it, and stay curious. Success and joy will follow.

-- Chad Broadus