Jack of all trades, master of none.
This singular saying—a misquote of Benjamin Franklin (more on this in a moment)—is the defining statement of our time. An alternative form might be the fox knows many small things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.
At first glance, it would seem like the history of a technology would have little to do with teaching that technology. Jacob Hess of NexGenT joins us in this episode of the Hedge to help us understand why he always includes the history of a technology when teaching it—a conversation that broadened out into why learning history is important for all network engineers.
At what point in your career do you stop working towards new certifications?
Daniel Dibb’s recent post on his blog is, I think, an excellent starting point, but I wanted to add a few additional thoughts to the answer he gives there.
Daniel’s first question is how do you learn? Certifications often represent a body of knowledge people who have a lot of experience believe is important, so they often represent a good guided path to holistically approaching a new body of knowledge. In the professional learning world this would be called a ready-made mental map. There is a counterargument here—certifications are often created by vendors as a marketing tool, rather than as something purely designed for the betterment of the community, or the dissemination of knowledge. This doesn’t mean, however, that certifications are “evil.” It just means you need to evaluate each certification on its own merits.
Over at the ECI blog, Jonathan Homa has a nice article about the importance of network planning–
In the classic movie, The Graduate (1967), the protagonist is advised on career choices, “In one word – plastics.” If you were asked by a young person today, graduating with an engineering or similar degree about a career choice in telecommunications, would you think of responding, “network planning”? Well, probably not.
Jonathan describes why this is so–traffic is constantly increasing, and the choice of tools we have to support the traffic loads of today and tomorrow can be classified in two ways: slim and none (as I remember a weather forecaster saying when I “wore a younger man’s shoes”). The problem, however, is not just tools. The network is increasingly seen as a commodity, “pure bandwidth that should be replaceable like memory,” made up of entirely interchangeable parts and pieces, primarily driven by the cost to move a bit across a given distance.
On this episode of the Network Collective, we are talking about the value of certifications. Outro Music: Danger Storm Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
While at Cisco Live in Barcelona this week, I had a chat with someone—I don’t remember who—about certifications. The main point that came out of the conversation was this: One of the big dangers with chasing a certification is you will end up chasing knowledge about using a particular vendor feature set, rather than chasing…
Should you be a johnny do-it-all, or so deep that no-one understands what you are saying? It’s time to talk about the shape of knowledge—and how important it is to be intentional about the shape of your knowledge.