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TOPIC: Keeping up with Technology – Your experience…

Keeping up with Technology – Your experience… 11 years 11 months ago #20076

Keeping up with Technology – Your experience…

Hi everyone. Forgive me if this has been discussed elsewhere. If so, feel free to refer me to a particular post where this topic has been discussed. Before I get to my questions, let me introduce myself and explain where I’m coming from first. Afterwards, I’ll post my questions regarding this topic below so you can feel free to cut and paste them in your post if you’d like.

I’m going to school right now for an A.S. degree at a local community college in Computer Information Technology with an emphasis toward Networking. However, prior to this I had no networking experience and little computer knowledge beyond that of a general computer user.

Since I’ve been reading about the progress of technology and understand that to work in a technical field such as a network administrator does, which I’m aiming to do, one needs to keep up with advances in his/her field of work.

1) This being the case, in your experience, do you feel that keeping up with advances has been manageable?

2) On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the greatest, how difficult do you feel it has been to keep up with it? Why or why not?

3) Is most of the time spent learning on the job or afterwards?

The reason I ask these questions is that I’m concerned about how whether or not this would be manageable. I understand that we’re all at different points in our lives so each person may have a different experience. I’m interested in the field of networking, but not to the point where it would take up most of my life outside of the job.

I don’t want this to sound like I’m not willing to put the time in to learn. I understand that classes and certifications are almost necessary and helpful, but was just curious about others experience in the “keeping up with the Joneses” aspect of it all.

Thanks for your time and input. I appreciate anything anyone could add.

Re: Keeping up with Technology – Your experience… 11 years 11 months ago #20078

Good questions.

I would say it mostly depends on the place you work or plan to work. Just because the IT field changes so fast doesn't mean the place you work or plan to work will immidiately implement the technology, thus requireing your knowledge and expertise. If thats the case, then it may not be necessary to rush to learn stay on top, although it may still help in the long run.
I think the biggest source of motivation to stay on top will be your love for technology and desire to learn technology. If those are lacking, you may find yourself in a position in which you're forcing yourself to learn something that you dont care for.

1) The place where I work doesn't require that I be on top of technology, and so there is no learning to manage, although I still try to because I love this stuff. From what I've heard, some companies that like their workers to stay on top offer tuition reimburstment, in-house training, or other ways to assist their employees in staying on top of technology. I do keep a list of "things to learn," which whenever I find time, I try to conquer. I try to use my time efficiently to learn about technology, so I keep books whereever I know I'll have free time.

2) I love this stuff, and so I can't rate it as being a pain in the rear to manage my time to learn

3) Both. During down-time at work I'm reading/studying, while at home on the computer I'm reading or trying to tackle the things that I'm trying to learn.

Also, keep note that I dont have much of a life :-P, and so I can live my life the way I do.

One thing one of my professors have told a class I was in was, "I feel sorry for you guys, you guys have to spend the majority of your time reading and studying to stay on top.......I read nothing but tech books, I do stay with the rest of the world, though, by listening to fiction audio books in car"......and I agree with him.

I haven't been into the Field very long, so my answer may vary.

Hope that helps,

Re: Keeping up with Technology – Your experience… 11 years 11 months ago #20079

Thanks KiLLaBeE for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it. Any response is valuable to me regardless of the amount of experience in the field. Again, thanks. :D

Anyone else?

Re: Keeping up with Technology – Your experience… 11 years 11 months ago #20082

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KiLLaBeE is on the ball with that answer. I have been in the field for over 9 years now and its a constant learning curve to keep up with technology. Like KiLLaBeE said though it does depend on what you are doing for your job. If you are maintaining a Windows 2003 Active Directory domain for example, then once its installed and up and running then the knowledge of Windows 2003 will suffice for a good few years until another upgrade to that comes out (Longhorn is going to be Windows 2003's successor here )

In this example, if you learn 2003, then you are ok with that knowledge for a good few years and the rest of your time is troubleshooting which means you can learn other stuff along the way to do with more in-depth topics in Windows 2003.

If you are in-charge of other stuff (like Cisco switches/routers) then you need to learn that but again the fundamentals of it doesn't really change.

You have a really large learning curve at the beginning if you are new to a technology or area, once you have learned it you then only need to keep on top of additional features that are released with new versions so the learning then dramatically reduces. For example, Longhorn will have most of the features of Windows 2003 plus some new ones and possibly enhancements on the ones in Windows 2003. Therefore the learning curve for this will be a lot smaller.

Its also good to keep reading up on new stuff in your own time though, even if its nothing to do with your work. Its good to have a broad knowledge of stuff. That’s the bit that takes time from us since to be any good you need to keep reading and studying to keep on top of the game.

Hope it helps.

Wayne Murphy Team Member

Now working for a Security Company called Sec-1 Ltd in the UK, for any
Penetration Testing work visit or PM me for details.

Yes, it helps! 11 years 11 months ago #20085

Yes Wayne, it helped. Thanks, I appreciate your insight on this subject. I was just wondering myself and it's been a question on my mind for a while now so it's nice to see what others have experienced. Thanks again. I appreciate it.

Re: Keeping up with Technology – Your experience… 11 years 11 months ago #20324

As the guys above have said, this is dependent on what you do. If your job is to run a simple network, chances are that things won't change drastically for you. The only time you'll *need* (I say need because you should be upgrading anyway) to upgrade is when the technology changes at your workplace. However, it's always good to get on the ball with new versions of the tech you use (such as newer versions of the operating systems etc) as well as stay in a position to evaluate new technologies.

There are other fields where you have to be tremendously up to date. For example, a security administrator has to be on top of every new threat and vulnerability as early as it's announced. While this is more of 'staying up to date' rather than upgrading your skills, you'll find the two go hand in hand.

Sahir Hidayatullah. Staff - Associate Editor & Security Advisor
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