#BlogElul Day 3: Search

In the context of IT, searches are an every hour, if not an every minute, experience. Almost nothing that we need is at our fingertips.

Which is interesting, since IT Professionals tend to make a big deal of knowing things by heart. Can you calculate subnets off the top of your head? Do you know these OS commands (and all of the sub-commands)? Can you set up this-or–that without referring to the manual?

Back in High School, my best friend was on the path to what would turn into a very fulfilling career as a micro-biologist. I vividly recall sitting in the hallway before school and I would quiz her on the periodic table of elements for her chem exams.

Several years after graduation, I reconnected with her. One of my first calls to her started with me demanding to know the atomic weight of germanium. She knew immediately what I was asking, but responded with: “I couldn’t care less.”

I was surprised, and asked if it was an example of things you learn in school that turn out not to be important later on.

“Nope, I use that kind of thing every day.” she said.

“Then how come you don’t know it?”

“Because,” she replied. “I don’t have to KNOW it. I simply have to know where to find it. What is actually important to KNOW,” she explained, “Is what to DO with that information once you have it.”

I think that’s what differentiates experienced IT professionals from so-called newbies. The new comers focus on (and stress out about) specific fact-oids. The atomic elements that make up a particular technology.

The veterans know that it’s not so much the specific commands, verbs, or syntax but the larger patterns and use-cases which make or break you as a professional.

Everything else is just a text-search away.