(“In Case You Missed It Monday” is my chance to showcase something that I wrote and published in another venue, but is still relevant. This week’s post originally appeared on Orangematter )
IT Pro Day has always been about singing the praises of practitioners across the vast spectrum of tech specialties, from network engineers and systems administrators; to infosec analysts and developers; to storage and virtualization admins; and even to monitoring specialists (whether that’s your whole job or just part of a much longer list of responsibilities). But an important question we should consider is what, exactly, prepared you for this career? Sure, we make a point of highlighting all the ways we’re built for this, but where did those building blocks come from?
It turns out, the experiences forming the foundation of our IT successes are often found in distinctly non-technical activities. From work in customer service to a stint as a car mechanic to jobs even weirder and off the beaten track, our sources for solid tech habits are as unique as the people who now see IT as their career, if not their calling.
This led us to an observation: Your life is your IT classroom. We feel it underscores two important points in this year’s IT Pro Day theme, “Bring IT On:”
First, our work in tech improves when we bring our whole selves to the job, without feeling we need to downplay or diminish any of who we are—our values, experiences, beliefs, and history.
And second, everyone’s path to IT is valid. Anyone thinking “I could never go into a tech career; I don’t have the right experience” are encouraged to re-consider, reach out for advice, and make the leap.
We can find lessons and insights to our tech work in distinctly non-technical aspects of our lives and interests, but only if we have the curiosity to seek them out. We can recognize tech is a tent big enough for everyone, irrespective of the way we gained our hard-won knowledge or the things we may have left to learn.
This year, we’ll explore how tech practitioners can be empowered to upskill and grow professionally by putting the experiences gained in their daily lives to work. We’ll show how those skills, learned over the past year (either at home or at work, or both!) can help up-level careers and support businesses.
As part of our exploration of these ideas, I invite you to check out the nomination form for the 2nd annual IT Pro Day Awards. Take a moment to recognize the amazing trailblazers, mentors, rockstars, and rookies in your tech circle.
After all, life is your IT classroom. Bring IT On.