What Tech Students Can Learn From Elon Musk

Tech students can learn a lot from Elon Musk.

Those planning to jump into a career in information technology would do well to look to Elon Musk as a role model. After all, Musk has all the great qualities of a tech innovator. He is an inventor, engineer and explorer, audacious in the face of some of the world's largest challenges. Furthermore, he lived out the dream of any young IT pro. Musk built the startup Zip2 with his brother, sold it for millions of dollars and then went on to co-found new companies. Currently, Musk is tackling global environmental issues such as electric cars and solar energy, and he's even looking to colonize Mars. Sounds like a hectic lifestyle, right? Well this tech genius is far from calling it quits. Tech students can take away a number of great lessons from Musk's recent projects.

Spur Innovation
As the CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk made a bold move when he open-sourced all of the company's patents. Why did Musk make this move? Simply put, he wanted to challenge the automotive industry to better itself. Tesla is a leading producer of electric cars and is continually innovating new technology to make these automobiles practical and sustainable. For the betterment of the planet,  and thereby humanity, Musk released Tesla's patents to spur innovation, accelerate the implementation of more efficient vehicles and inspire competition.

Reach For the Stars
In Musk's case, this cliché is somewhat literal. Musk is founder of Space X, a company specializing in reusable rocket technology and also looking to send humans to Mars. Space X's innovations have the potential to lower the price of putting a satellite in orbit from $60 million to between $5 and $7 million. Musk invested much of his own money in this project, and originally many believed it was a waste of time. Space X is now approaching a $10 billion valuation, and Musk has signed contracts with NASA to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

Don't Settle on Small Successes
So maybe raking in $22 million from selling your first company isn't a small success. Within a year of selling Zip2, Musk went on to co-found PayPal, which he then sold two years later to eBay for $1.5 billion. Now Musk is involved with a number of innovative and successful endeavors, proving himself as one of tech's most important figures.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers bachelor's and master's online degree programs in IT. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers_IT

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