Aug 03, 2011

What would you have told yourself 10 years ago?

For all the IT professionals out there, I am curious:

What do you wish you would have known before you got into IT?

What would you go back and tell yourself?


Have a mentor (or many) as often as you can.


I'd tell myself to NOT stay in I.T.  I'd tell myself the jobs are going to be outsourced, leaving the junk behind, and that you're going to do nothing more than work for a bunch of asshats that couldn't spell I.T.  I'd tell myself to go and get a real degree, and from a real school.  Advanced COBOL as a requirement to graduate anytime after 1978 should tell you all you need to know about that school.  I'd tell myself that you're going to get sucked into long nights and many weekends, ending up loosing your wife cheating while you're too busy working, to only end up getting fired from a 6-figure job ending up working at bars.  I'd tell myself it's going to be a long and crappy road with nothing to show for it at the end, and whatever you *THINK* you've got will go up in smoke in seconds.  Mostly I'd tell myself I'm not "office" material and probably won't like MOST of the idiots that surround you, or the non-IT people that just can't figure out how to right-click a mouse.  I'd tell myself it's going to be a life-sucking, dead-end career that you're going to hate and regret, and it's going to keep you in places you don't want to be and around or with people you can't stand.  I'd tell myself do yourself a favor and jump in front of a bus now!


Go into healthcare. That's a growing field where they need people. With the consumerisation and monopolization of internet hosted services (the cloud) the number of IT people needed for support will drastically plummet beyond the paltry levels left after most large US corporations have outsourced their work to India and China. H1B visas won't be reduced until the economy crumbles in 2011, so start prepping now for a new career.


Don't take yourself too seriously!


35 years ago I would have told myself to get that Bachelors degree! At the time Computer Science was in its infancy, and I had already done 4 years of cutting edge software on about 5 or 6 different technology areas. When I looked at the courses available I had already learned the stuff for most of the offerings, so I felt like it was pointless to spend the money and time to get a degree. Since then I have lost out on positions and had several gaps because of the lack of the paper on the wall, even though the knowledge is in my head and my history proves it. (E.g. was told that I would have to go to a week long course in four months to learn some “necessary” things about a system for the project. Finished the project in three months using available reference material.)


BTW: Still looking for my next position



a. Invest in Google

b. All those servers will be virtual in a couple of years

Work/life balance is important!

Don't burn bridges. The people who do IT well are a small community, and getting smaller as the jobs go away, so it's always better to play nice.

Great question! I would tell my younger IT self to find and take advantage of the advice and experience of mentors earlier in my career!
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