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Analog Watch in a Digital World

Posted by Jon Ryan on Nov 17, 2015 10:46:33 AM

It’s easy sometimes to feel comfort where you are sitting with your technical aptitude. You feel that you have a general understanding on server and networking infrastructure, understand the concept of virtualization, and know enough about the cloud to consider playing with it or staying away from it. But, unless you are a 1’s and 0’s kind of person, how can you really understand the complexities of these technologies on a deeper level? You don’t want to fall behind the times and become an ‘Analog Watch in a Digital World.’

How We Got Where We Are

Everyone builds their IT experience differently. Some have built a lot of their technology experience from more real world applications than text book study. I’ve known IT managers that have been forced to learn technology on the fly right before or during an installation. Especially where they were not necessarily involved in the planning or selection of the technology but more as a byproduct of the install. “This new technology is going to impact my gear, so what is it and what does it do exactly?” 

If you are not working directly with the technology, we often rely only on text book, or now internet resources for education. Not only just text resources online but video through sites like YouTube or CNET. The issue with online or text book self-learning, is absorbing and applying (if possible) what you learned.

You Can’t Get There From Here

So where do I take my self-paced, homebrew learning from here? Comprehension can be difficult to gauge unless you are directly applying what you learned to a real environment. So unless you apply it right away, you will likely lose it and have to start the learning process all over. Time is money and extra time spent re-learning everything is time wasted.  Keeping that information fresh in your brain is a difficult and on-going task.

How to Make Your Brain More Fantastical

Obviously they don’t make an NZT pill that can make your brain Limitless like the movie/TV series depicts. If you can’t do it alone with just knowledge, what options are out there to help make all that valuable information stick in your brain?

Test Environment: Applying your new found knowledge in a test environment would be ideal, but not always practical. If you have the capacity to build up a test environment, we recommend writing a base image. Just in case things go awry.

Live Environment: Arguably the most dangerous way to ‘tinker’ with new technology, but will really put your newly found skills to test if something blows up as a result.

Online Lab: Many vendors provide an online lab environment for free. The best part about this is you can pretty much do anything to it without any consequence. Even on a test environment, most times you would want to fix it to keep the environment useable.

Free Online Testing: We all hate taking tests. But free online tests can help keep you sharp and gauge your technical retention. The only thing it is missing is the hands on aspect. But it will at least help you retain some of the book smarts you have.

Retaining and expanding your technical abilities will help you support your environment more efficiently as well as enhance your skillset to newer technology. We encourage you to explore new technologies and keep looking forward. In this ever changing technical world you have to keep moving forward in your technology and your technical skillset. If you don’t, you’ll just be another Analog Watch in a Digital World. 

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Topics: technology, test environments

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