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1. Bitch all that you want. But those annoying flaws in technology are the reason you’re employed.

Let’s face facts here. If technology was perfect,  it would configure and repair itself. It would even upgrade and fine-tune itself as well.  Then what would they need to pay you for? Maybe to press the “download” button.

So, get used to the imperfections, the quirks, the patches, and shut up. If vegetables could walk to every home on their own we wouldn’t need farmers, truckers and stores. Most of what we humans do, besides arguing and fighting over different stupid beliefs, is put things together to make other things. And they pay you for that too. Consider yourself human.

2. Calling something”dead” and making it “dead” are not the same.

Windows XP. KiXtart. LISP. ASP. Sybase. Setup.exe. Lotus Notes.  Scripting. Radios. What do these all have in common?  They’ve all been claimed as “dead” by vendors, resellers, editorial writers and so-called “pundits”.

If you really poke your head outside of your daily bubble it won’t take long to find any of these still being used somewhere. In fact, more businesses and organizations of all kinds are still relying heavily on “old technology”. Why? Because they either can’t justify the balance of upgrade-costs vs. efficiency-savings, or they haven’t heard a convincing argument as to why their current toolset is broken. Or maybe it just works and things are good.

Technology vendors have done an incredible job of convincing customers that newer=better; that every day without the newer tool means that the house is falling apart even faster. While it’s often true that newer technology could translate into better results, and increased profit margins, it really comes down to why most people put off going to a dentist.

3. That old “rule” about “Good, Fast or Cheap: You can only pick two“, is True.

I have nothing to add for this one. Just read it again.

4. It’s not a career for those who want to build things that last.

You might want to sit down first. Are you ready?  Okay, here goes…

As an IT professional, everything you create will be gone within ten years. That’s if you’re lucky. For most of us it’ll be gone in five. Furniture makers make things to last. We build things to solve problems right now and only until a better solution comes along. A cheap date.

That’s a bold statement.  I’m sure some of you are smirking and shaking your head in disbelief. But unless you feel you’re inventing the next Windows,  or Android, it’s not going to be in high use as long ad those pesky vendors are doing their job pouring the Kool Aid. (See item 2)

Remember where Android was ten years ago? How about BlackBerry?  Remember NetWare? 8-track tapes? CRT monitors? Case closed. It’s a career of making sand castles on the shores of business, and the tide is always near.

5.  Education and Certifications are not for what you expected them to be for.

For those of you who have a college degree working in the IT field, ask yourself when was the last time that your degree really helped fix a problem you were facing. Not the education you gained from going to school, but the degree itself. The education part you could’ve got on your own (and probably have saved a ton of money).

Some of you may be doing “real” architect and engineer work. But the vast majority of us in the IT field aren’t doing that. We’re putting out fires. If all of us were architects and engineers there wouldn’t be anyone left to run and fix things.

Honestly, most of us spend way too much time dealing with stupid office politics and human challenges (meetings. Forms. Procedure documents, etc.). If we’re lucky we may get some time to build something and finish it.

On the whole what you learned in school is either tempered by, or overruled by what the vendors put in front of you. You can scream and cry about a setting that doesnt follow the textbook definition. But guess what?  You can either check the box or not. End of story. Join a forum and share your complaints with the vendor if they really care.

And what about those certifications you crammed for? Do you actually use the information you gained from that on a daily basis? Like education, its likely you use bits and pieces of it every now and then.  Once in a while at best. But if you honestly add up all the costs incurred (tuition, books, fees, exam fees) would you say it was hands-down more fiscally prudent than what you could’ve gained from self-study and determination?

So, why then do employers lean so heavily on those things? It depends on the business you’re in. If you’re a consultant, it’s needed in order to qualify for contract bids and vendor partner programs. But that still doesnt answer the base question. Why?

It’s because it provides the closest thing to a quantifiable measure of your efforts to stand out among the crowd of applicants they’re screening. They don’t usually know you or your abilities. But if you got that degree and those certifications, it tells them you put in some serious effort. It’s like bringing the bigger bouquet of flowers to a date when other suitors are coming with their flowers too.

Conclusion

Depressed yet? It could be a few of the reasons we take blood pressure medications with our coffee and beer. Relax. It’s both fun and rewarding. 🙂

Summary

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