Do IT before you get done in by IT.

Past, present and future – tense

So I was fiddling on LinkedIn and saw what endorsements I’ve received from peers, clients and friends. And that set me reminiscing the past (which currently dates back 18 years in IT or related fields).

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To put down a list of things I’ve been involved in (and pardon me, but I have forgotten a lot of them):

  • OS’s I’ve used (Linux, Unix, OS/2, AS400, VMS, MVS, Windows all flavours, Android, Mac (yuk), iOS, Symbian, Windows Mobile)
  • Roles I’ve fulfilled
    • computer aided audit techniques (CAAT)
    • authorised system breaching (and sometimes unauthorised) / vulnerability scanning and explotation (man, that was long ago)
    • ETL specialist
    • data recovery specialist
    • IT driven forensic auditing
    • data warehousing
    • data analysis / statistical analysis
    • architecture
    • business analysis
    • business development
    • disaster recovery
    • system analysis
    • system integration
    • system implementation
    • system design
    • desktop support (mostly virus removal, installations, formats and bug resolution)
    • hardware technician (didn’t enjoy this much)
    • webmaster & web server manager
    • network administrator (wasn’t very good at it, I admit, was a bit tedious in a small network)
    • IT manager
    • general “figure it out” guy
    • developer (in so many technologies and languages and by FAR my most favourite as it incorporates so many of the other roles) in / of (COBOL, SAS, ASP, VB, SQL, PHP, VBScript, JavaScript, CSS, HTML 4, XML, XSL, DDI, ActiveX, FoxPro, .Net, mySQL, SQLServer postgreSQL, Access, Firefox addons, opensource project addons, Raspberry, Arduino, embedded systems, IIS, Apache, arg, I run out of names and memory to recall them all)

I must say, the thing I have loved the most of it all was the internet related development. Not the lamo let’s build a website stuff, the system stuff. And I think the biggest compliment is a system I developed in 1999/2000 which is still being used as is without any major changes today.

Now I’m not saying all this to impress, I’m saying it to impress upon you something: I don’t have a degree. Not even a diploma. Not even a full course completed. I learned early on how to search the net and absorb information.

Thing is, Spanish has over 100 000 words in it, but to be able to have a normal conversation in Spanish, you need to know about 3 000 words. I learnt the important stuff and used brute logic to do the rest. I never took anything on face value, I always got second and third and mostly fourth opinions.

Now, a lot of the young IT guys come out of university thinking they know everything. In the early years I was offended by these blokes. But in due course, they all learn just how wide the IT field is and how little they actually know at that age.

My advise to new (and also existing) IT guys: never stop playing. Never stop learning. Never stop questioning. Never accept something as perfect. Never except the words “it can’t be done”. Always do more than expected. Always think the problem through. And ALWAYS have a sense of humour in and for your work. It’s what sets us apart from the other professions.

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