“How Do You Respond When Technology Changes Under You?”
As I like to say, I’ve been using SQL Server since the last millennium and I’ve seen a lot of things come and go (to echo my inner Han Solo).
While the moment you think you are an expert and there is nothing else left to learn, that’s when you are in trouble. There is ALWAYS something new to learn as one perfects one’s craft.
Only the Paranoid Survive
Years ago I read this book by Andy Grove, one of the founders of Intel called Only the Paranoid Survive. It can be summed up by looking both inside and outside of your organization and never settling for thinking you know everything about everything. It was great advice then as it is still now. Sadly the executives at Intel, IMHO, got “Fat, Dumb, and Happy”- a colloquialism meaning they allowed themselves to get comfortable and took their focus off things. Today AMD is eating their lunch in the processor markets- how did they let this happen when they used to be number one by a large margin?
Before that book came out and after I had graduated from college and did a brief stint at Radio Shack, I worked at a market research company. They specialized in competitive intelligence in the energy industry. We stored our primary research in you guessed it, a database system. This was my first exposure to using SQL on a green screen. The datacenter contained a system by Sequent Computer Systems.
Only the Plugged-in Survive
Today we don’t use paper-based media monitoring services anymore- everything has gone digital. But it is still “catch as catch can” even using things like Google Alerts. Keeping up by using social media? Good luck with that, even with aggregation tools. You could miss something if you are not looking at a computer screen. FOMO is real for the paranoid!
Let’s see; I am on and try to keep up with: LinkedIn, Discord, Slack, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I tend to let serendipity and dumb luck drive some of my viewing habits. I read books (!), and go to several Meetups (100% over Zoom at the moment, ugh). Same for on-line conferences. I listen to podcasts. I subscribe to too many e-mail newsletters. I watch streaming shows. I have conversations with people. And yet I could still miss something important!
My lingua franca today is Python 3. I’m using it more and more in the things I’m interested in both personally and professionally.
I’m currently going through a book (second edition) and Udemy course called Automate the Boring Stuff with Python Programming. NOTE!!! The author has generously created a Creative Commons version (free) available on the book’s website. So why mention the book and course? Because I am learning about web scraping for personal use- please don’t break the law.
RAPIDS is Rapidly Changing
In my last post I talked about how I’m taking a new, technical, immersive, deep dive into RAPIDS. Since I wrote that, I have acquired (again through dumb luck), an NVIDIA RTX 3090 for my gaming, VR, and data science interests. This card requires three (!) power connectors. It is a beast!
Alas, even as I’m taking copious screenshots and notes using OneNote, they are releasing new features with every release- roughly every six weeks, which at times feels like that is faster than I can learn about them. And they are re-naming things too. So even as I’m documenting and coding my personal corpus on RAPIDS, I’m performing find and replace on content. On newly learned info! I also have to change some of my mnemonics to reflect new changes too which is frustrating to me.
Even if I get the chance to write a book about it, like Andy, imagine the overwhelming feeling of writing something that parts could be obsolete by the time it is published! Ah, the joys of being a technical writer 🙂
Learn and try to stay plugged-in. Talk to people. Ask questions on forums.
People, there is life outside of an electronic screen. Just do the best you can and don’t sweat it. The chances that I’m going to be blindsided by some new hotness is slim to none. Even if I’m not the first to know, I’m sure that if its important, somebody in my social circles will hear about it.