When working in IT, technology is always changing and one is always struggling to keep up. Therefore, whether you are a support engineer, IT Pro, developer or DevOps engineer, you rely a lot on the internet for things you don’t know, or need to learn more about. When answers cannot be found in the offical documentation or technology site, you rely on the community.
The leecher in me
I owe a lot to the community, whether it’s Windows-related, Linux (community saved my a$$ a million times), PowerShell, or whatever you can think of. I don’t know how I would do my job without the community. There’s just too much to learn and master these days, so without the people that take the time to write blog posts and answer questions on IT-forums, work would be hell. But it’s been mostly one-way traffic…
I search for answers to problems I face and when I find them, I use them for my own gain, but I don’t give back much. If I’m generous, I give someone a thumbs up or a short thank you-message in the comments, but that’s about it. Sure, I had a blog for a couple of years (a Wordpress site with the same domain name as you’re visiting now), but my posts were sporadic and I never got much further than 20 posts or something around that number. But some of those articles good some positive feedback and a few of those messages were actual: “thank you so much for posting this, this helped me” kind of messages and the satisfaction of this kind of feedback was wonderful. Fact is, I like helping people and I like teaching people, but I don’t feel very quailified to do so. Having imposter syndrome held me back in this for years, telling myself I’m not good enough yet and that I need to get better first. That, and the thought that someone else might already have posted it somewhere and the “I don’t have time for this“-excuse
But the last couple of months I’ve realized that I want to help and teach more, although I will never feel ready, when I do help someone or share some information, it feels very good to give back to the community and very satisfying when you get feedback from someone that it actually helped them. You never know beforehand if it will help someone, but even if it won’t, I discovered that I still like writing it down, just for myself. My memory isn’t very good, so I rely a lot to writing down things to help me solve the same issue or task the next time. And if I write it down good, it will cost me far less time and mistakes to get to the same result.
I also discovered I need to be reminded and inspired to do so on a regular base. So I read and listen to stuff to keep me inspired and up to date about PowerShell, soft skills, automating, coding and the fun and joy of writing and giving back to the community.
One of the gamechangers for me was reading Own your Tech Career by Don Jones, a book that was previously known as Be The Master, but this latest revision is even better. This book discusses career path and branding, the value of community, learning, time management and setting your long-term goals. I hardly recommend this book to anyone in the IT Ops/DevOps profession.
Other things that help me is listening to podcasts while taking the dog out for a walk. Most of these podcasts are IT-related, like The PowerShell Podcast These help me to keep inspired, informed, but also to help me realize most people in IT struggle with a lack of time, how to keep up with things and choosing the right path for personal growth and sharpening my skills.
The new me (I hope)
In regards to giving back to the community, I am taking two important steps:
First of all, this blog: I have started a new blog some weeks ago, ditched Wordpress and am now using Github pages and Jekyll to be able to write in Markdown and use VSCode to write my blogs; my favorite tool next to the PowerShell commandline. My intention is to write more often about my own journey and struggles during my IT-career, technical articles like solutions to real-world problems using PowerShell and things like that.
The second step is helping people out with PowerShell related questions on Stackoverflow Yesterday, I provided my first answer and never thought it would be so satisfying. It’s a great way to improve my own PowerShell skills with real word questions and challenge, while helping someone out. I’m hoping to become an active community member that will be recognized for providing good help and decent technical knowledge.
I will therefore also focus more on PowerShell: I’ve been trying to learn a bit of everything lately, and although that’s good, I really want to be fluent and recognised mostly for my PowerShell know-how.
I hope that I will keep to my promise and will make te time to blog and help people out. Who knows where this journey will bring me, but for now, I’m really enjoying the ride and the energy it’s giving me.
In conclusion to this post I want to sum up some of the things that helped me and the people and communities that inspired me:
- Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches, Second Edition - Still absolutely essential
- Learn PowerShell Scripting in a Month of Lunches
- Own your Tech Career
- The Lonely Administrator - Jeff Hicks blog. If you want to learn PowerShell, he’s the absolute master.
- Getting Started with Microsoft PowerShell - if you prefer video, these videos with Jeffrey Snover and Jason Helmick are excellent (and funny too sometimes)
- Powershell Tips and Tricks | Jeff Hicks - This page is such a great start
- DuPSUG - The Dutch PowerShell User Group. We are a wonderful community and organize some great meetups during the year.
- DDOG - Dutch DevOps & GitHub Community. Also a great community with some wonderful people and speakers
- PowerShell related tweets | Twitter.com
- The PowerShell Podcast
- Hanselminutes - probably of the longest running podcasts, long before podcasts got cool
- Computer Stuff they didn’t teach you at school | Scott Hanselman (YouTube)
Some of the people that inspired me somehow, as public speakers, bloggers or speaking to them in person: