Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic. – Arthur C. Clarke
So every person that can handle todays complex technology or IT systems is some kind of magician – right? Maybe – but to me the golden answer related to everything IT is always:
This is of course not a good answer – it is maybe the worst answer one can give to any question. But it shows the complexity and always-changing nature of our modern, technology-driven world.
And I find all of this intimidating – It opens up seemingly infinite possibilities for any individual that wants to work in a technology or IT-related field and therefore adds a lot of complex questions:
What do I focus on?
What specialization should I focus upon to secure a good or even high paying job for the next couple of years?
How do I stay ahead of the developments in my industry that seem to change how everything works by the minute?
There are a lot more questions like these that come to my mind, but I think they reflect some of the fears many people that start a career in technology/IT have today.
So how does somebody tackle all this? – I dare not say I have the ultimate solution but I can say, what worked for me so far and has kept me on the ground throughout my personal career.
- You can’t know everything – don’t let your mindset go into the direction, many people now call “imposter syndrome” – you are not an imposter. Nobody knows everything – everyone just knows things to a certain point and has to figure out the rest along the way. That is the fun in complex engineered systems – at least to me.
- Specialize in what interests you, but don’t let it be everything you know. In a constant changing field you always need to be open to learn new things – but you also can’t forget the fundamentals. So I think a good mix in specializing in what interests you and keeping an open mind to other or adjacent fields in general is what makes a good technologist. And don’t be afraid at some point to drop the specialization in favor of a new focus area – it only adds to you personal toolkit and knowledge.
- Never stop asking questions – Questions can be quite powerful..
How does this work? Why does it need to work this way? (Maybe there is a better or more efficient way) Why do I want to learn this new skill?
You don’t always need to know the answers – but finding them is what drives me always forward.
So what is a Technologist? To me, simply put, a Technologist is a person, that always wants to figure out how things work and how to improve them, never stops learning (to a certain degree) and never stops asking questions.
And the results that other see from this mindset sometimes maybe seem like a magic trick.