I both agree and disagree… As does everyone else.
I _do_ care what background one has, what sort of projects they’ve worked on, and what environments they have thrived in or left behind. Experience is what helps you grow.
I do _NOT_ care what school they went to, if any. I learnt everything useful in my job on my own, after completing my obscenely technical — and not directly useful — bachelor’s degree.
I _do_ care whether they have a hacker mentality of “let’s fix this”, and an obsessive quality to their observations on humans. I like thoughtful people who get things done.
I do _NOT_ care whether they can solve problems by themselves, as long as they can come up with more than three ideas for how they MIGHT solve a problem.
I _do_ care about whether they can listen, if they read enough, go to museums, browse the internet, visit galleries, travel… generally expand their horizons beyond their desk. I need people who collect dots for fun, so they may connect them in their work and build a more brilliant future.
But most of all, I care about whether they can laugh at themselves, cheer after a day’s hard work, stand their ground on What Is Right despite pressures from management or development or whoever else, and will always, always, Always aim to build the best possible system for their users.
The one thing I believe every UXer absolutely MUST know, is HOW the things they are designing are MADE.
Otherwise it’d be like Alexander McQueen never having wielded fabric, scissors, or a needle and thread. No. You cannot design something if you do not have at least some understanding of how it will be made, and respect for the people who make it.
Design flair alone won’t cut it when designing technology for humans.