There’s a great blog over on MS Born to Learn entitled “Never stop learning, simple.” by Andrew Bettany, posted on 12/3/2011. He remarks about mentoring technology start-ups in their early phases, and how they devote the bulk of their efforts to utilizing their skills and knowledge to deliver products (and services, too, I’m guessing, even though he doesn’t explicitly make that connection). He calls such organizations “agile, knowledgeable, and very hungry to succeed and to create.”
His point, of course, is that such organizations not only make things up as they go, they also learn constantly and incessantly as they go as well, and then goes on to make the point that this is a good model for how IT professionals should approach the tools, technologies, and subject matters that make up the focus for their work. His next remark explains why this is necessary: “With cloud computing, mobile computing, and social media now becoming the current ‘bubble,’ I realised just how easy it is for anyone in IT to become out of date quite rapidly.” I couldn’t agree more profoundly or enthusiastically.
These days working in IT means constantly reinventing yourself, updating your knowledge base, learning new tools and techniques, and keeping a close eye on what’s new, what’s trending, and what kinds of technology adoptions are gaining momentum. It’s important to pay close attention to the present wave, and make sure you keep back-filling all the knowledge and skills gaps that will keep opening up in front of you. And when you can jump onto interesting or even exciting new tools and technologies that promise to catch on, you can even help to push the envelope yourself, in your own way.
For some, this may be frustrating or disheartening. But for those who wish to succeed, this is just the kind of constant churn that presents ongoing opportunities to learn, to stretch your boundaries, and really enjoy your work. It’s what keeps me going, and always points me to opportunities of all kinds. You can put the same mindset to work for yourself, too, as long as you’re willing to “do the homework” necessary to keep up. So thanks, Andrew, for a truly great blog and reminder of what it is we really should be doing with ourselves at work, above and beyond mundane matters at hand (and thanks also to commenter Wayne Hoggett, who supplied me with the completely-apt title for this blog).