Thursday, 6 September 2007
Posted by Dave
So, it's been over a year since I left the position of 'token student' within the clan (LCpl Beejenhausen stepped ably into my shoes, well done that man etc etc). When I left uni, I thought 'OK, it's been a good laugh, but really, four years of studying computer science, that'll do me; time to go and learn some useful stuff'.
Clannies with particularly good memories will recall that I got a 2(ii) - evidence of slackness in extremitas, also known as a 'Desmond'. And so it was that I made my way into the real world and sold my soul; to go and do 'IT stuff' for a bank.Doing a general IT job really wasn't that hard; bit of Windows, bit of Unix, bit of Perl, bit of random vendor apps, loads of talking to peons^H^H^H^H^Husers. Now, lots of people would view this as a pretty cool job; and indeed, it is, touching on a vast number of technology areas and learning how they interact. The one problem was that I wasn't doing anything that I couldn't have done before going to uni. And six months in, the question loomed in my mind - 'what have I actually learned?'. And I listed everything I could think of - time management, multi-tasking/prioritising, dealing with users, dealing with vendors, navigating a big company... and yet still the question loomed in my mind 'You're supposed to be a technologist - what new technologies have you learned?'
The answer was 'none' - and without much scope for that in the near future (I'm a grad, I'm going to get the shit jobs, and like it), I decided 'fuck it - what am I interested in?'. Long story short, this week I passed my CCNA, an entry level network certification, and am now planning on moving on to expert level network certs for next year.
This raises a couple of interesting points. The first is, had I worked anywhere like as hard in uni as I did for this exam (studying for three months in the evenings and weekends while working a full time job, and taking a week off before the exam and studying 8-10 hours a day), I would have gotten considerably better than a Desmond.
The second point, which is really the main focus of this blog, is I've realised I'm not happy unless I'm learning something new. University was an overload; learning a massive amount on loads of different technologies was perhaps a little overwhelming. But picking a specific subject and reading about it and working with it until I've gotten to a depth I feel sufficient is actually something I'm finding quite rewarding.
So, to the clan at large: am I alone in this? Do you think that you should always be learning something new in your job/life in general? Could you care less? What makes us want to work at some things and not at others? Or am I just crazy, and was this all a waste of time?