Feeds

You can't know it all

So ask someone who disagrees with you

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

In practical terms this translates into a simple rule: ask other people for their advice. In the age of search engines and instant access to information we have become so indoctrinated to “just Google it” that the concept of seeking out other experienced and knowledgeable individuals is sadly considered archaic. The advice I have for you on any IT project, not just ones which involve group policy, is to find other people who work in your profession and spend some time with them. For real, in person.

If nothing else, having a network of friends and colleagues with whom you maintain contact means you can discuss your work, and gain access to their knowledge in real time. They do what you do, which means they to do research into various things. Even if they don’t have the solutions to your particular problems, the chances are that the research they have done can save you quite a bit of time.

Also: don’t evangelise. People hate being preached at. It means that in the end you only end up hanging around with other people who think exactly like you. Talking to a fellow evangelist about a problem isn’t getting a second opinion: it’s the same opinion twice. We can all do with broadening our horizons, and that means taking the time to listen to people who talk about things that might go against the preconceptions and prejudices we hold.

I am saying this because from a cold blooded business standpoint, if you have two people who agree on absolutely everything, then one of them is redundant. Diversity of thought process leads to new and innovative approaches to solving problems, it leads to different approaches to research and it leads to re-examination of previous “facts” to determine if they are still valid.

Maybe I’ve just made the case for the existence of a few different flavours of IT consultant. The more important the project, the bigger the budget, the more formalised these outside opinions should probably be. I know that in my own mind it is making the case for professional social networking. By this I mean friendships with other IT workers, groups like your local LUG or the Spiceworks community. Even the comments section here on El Reg, Ars and similar sites can be gold mines of differing opinions and varying levels of professional advice.

There is no greater honour than to be asked by another professional in your field “what do you think?” Somewhere along the way many of us get caught up with thinking that we should - or worse yet, that we actually do - know everything about a topic; that asking for help or advice is weakness; and that if we disagree with someone, their opinions lack value.

There is nothing further from the truth. In a rapidly-evolving field like IT, opinions from people you disagree with are critically important. Asking for help and advice isn’t a failure, it’s a sign of professional maturity. No individual can be the ultimate programmer, systems administrator, network jockey, interface guru, web designer, rack monkey, tech bench, hell desk, project manager, MacGyver, logical thinker and all the other hats out there that need to be worn to make IT work. We all do the bits we’re best at and rely on others to get the rest done.

I am saying that none of us is as capable as all of us, but also when you lack proper management, the statement that none of us is as dumb as all of us is equally applicable.

It is difficult to temper personal and professional growth with the maturity and self awareness to look outside ourselves for answers to our problems.

You can’t know it all, and you’ll kill yourself trying.

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.