Over the past 20 years I've been on a journey in the field of Information Technology. Every piece of tech, every program or script written, and skill acquired is a story of growth and triumph. When I reflect back, I can't help but appreciate just how much progress we've made and what is yet to come.
Through these experiences I've recognized 7 things that really speak to what our industry is about that I wanted to share:
We Have a Big Responsibility
As technologists, we have a lot of knowledge and capability at our fingertips and what we do with that can connect the world. The ability to change the world around us through information and computation is incredible. We have a responsibility to employ it in ways that empower everyone to achieve more and to speak up against abuse and misuse that does harm. Those who are not as technologically inclined trust us to help them understand and use it. Don't let them down.
Technology breaks down barriers and provides the world with a method to communicate and share knowledge at a speed that we've not had in human history. The price of technology moves fast which enables new markets, new job opportunities, and the ability to change societies as we know them. Have an idea for software? There are endless languages, compilers, tutorials, and hardware that can allow us to achieve most anything we can think up. We can now print objects with 3D printers, which has empowered an entire new market of makers. The longer I've been in this industry, the more I recognize that the limitation to technology's potential is what we define it as.
Truly anything is possible.
Community Moves Mountains
In our industry we have a powerful community. One that is often welcoming and presents opportunities at all levels to grow, learn, and network. Indeed, the sooner you become part of the community, the more your potential amplifies. Don't underestimate the connections and friends you can make whether online, at conferences, or even at local meetups. We are stronger together than we are individually. The difference community has made in my career is something I could not measure.
Sharing Technology is Rewarding
One of the most rewarding parts of my career is being able to share my excitement, appreciation, and love of technology. It's being able to convey knowledge to newer and aspiring technologists and watching them grow and pursue their dreams. Positively influencing those around us to appreciate the vast world helps build the future of our industry, and everything that surrounds it. As you build your experience, help mentor others and be an advocate for technology. You won't regret it.
Take Time from Technology
We can be so connected and engaged in our work that we forget to take care of ourselves. The tech isn't going anywhere! Take the opportunities to go on a vacation, learn a hobby outside of technology, volunteer, and spend time with those that matter to you. Self care is important. We all deserve to disconnect in order to recharge, which makes us stronger and more capable when things get stressful. If you are running non-stop all the time, you will burn out and it's not something I recommend personally having experienced that twice. Above all, if you need help, please reach out to your fellow geeks, your family, your friends, whoever you are comfortable with. We're all in this together.
Stay Humble, We Are All Unique
Every pro was once an amateur, every expert once a beginner. We all have knowledge we can share, and knowledge we have yet to learn. Nobody has all the answers and it's OK not to know something. Our industry can be stressful, but those who depend on this technical world of ours, depend on us to show them that technology is there to make things possible. Take that opportunity to advocate for the best technology with users in mind. Our curiosity and the desire to learn and understand are the most powerful tools we can leverage. We are also human and capable of mistakes, and more importantly, learning from said mistakes.
Haters Gonna Hate, Gators Gonna Gate
If there is one thing I've learned above all, is there will always be someone out there who wants to try and tear down those of us working to improve things or achieve what was believed impossible. They will say they are better than you, that what you are doing won't work, that you are wasting your time, and the list goes on. I've heard it my entire life in IT and you know what? Prove them wrong and do it often. Then keep a record to remind yourself of the influence you've had in the world around you. We've never moved forward by always doing things the same way.
Hopefully these 7 things I've shared help you in your journey. We are the changemakers, ninja cats, and wizards that can turn yesterday's ideas into the powerful capabilities and empowering tools of tomorrow. I appreciate that opportunity every day. So knowing all this, do I know where my career will take me? No. All I know is that I'm gonna go with the flow. Stay geek my friends.