Don’t follow the instructions

Ever purchased an IKEA flatpack and tried to assemble it yourself? Often, it results in a little bit of cursing, rarely does it work out perfectly the first time.

At what point did you pull out the instructions?

In this process driven world, we are led to produce endless reams of step by step instructions for our daily actions; how to prepare that report, how to install a toner cartridge, how to build IKEA furniture…

But what happens when we ignore the instructions?

Hell happens. Screws get installed into the wrong holes, shelves installed the wrong way around, everything is misaligned…

Embrace this hell!

You’re experiencing failure and using problem solving skills. And learning what to do when you find issues…You’re developing your knowledge with experience.

In my day to day job, I’ve recently been designing and building a solution for a customer, which required me to install some software on a number of servers. I spent some time reading some blog posts and instructions how to install the various components, and jumped off to go and build it out for myself in a testing environment.

I encountered a LOT of errors.

Every error I encountered resulted in some further investigation; I relied on my memory and knowledge of the software and other components first and foremost to fix the errors — reviewing logs and error messages to make sense of them and see if I could fix it on my own. This further resulted in many Google queries…sometimes resulting in fruitful results — and reminding me that I missed a step in the instructions.

Other times I referred back to the instructions…They had a place after all. What step(s) had I missed? What were the errors or issues I encountered if I skipped a step?

It’s with great confidence now, that I can go off and install the aforementioned software components; and when I see issues or errors, I’m reminded of the steps I missed. Through the experience of failure, and troubleshooting, I have a better understanding of what happens when you don’t follow the instructions. I am more useful to my colleagues and customers who might follow the instructions but encounter an error and don’t know why.

By all means, follow the instructions. But if you want to become more valuable, keep on your toes and push the instructions to the side sometimes.

Making the most of University

I feel like a bit of an IT guy, turned philosopher with most of my recent posts, but what the heck! Back to another hectic semester of uni, and I’ve learnt a very valuable lesson from one of my lecturers already.

For all the university students out there, hoping to one day make it big, and realise the potential from their university studies, it’s probably a really important point that was hidden away in a 3rd year elective subject… Continue reading “Making the most of University”

Does Resume Presentation Matter?

Last two positions I have applied for/gotten, I was scooped up with enthusiasm. I’ve seen my fair share of IT resumes (not so much as a recruiter, but advising on appropriate skills – usually to replace me), and it’s fairly evident that in most cases, the resumes were extremely basic in presentation.

Simple bold text, black and white, and nothing eyecatching. Is this the norm? Continue reading “Does Resume Presentation Matter?”

Getting your foot into the IT industry & my history

I get asked a fair bit, do I know of any jobs going in the IT industry, by mates looking to get into IT. I occasionally get asked, how I got to where I am today also. So I’m writing this post for anyone out there, who’s just finishing school and wondering what the next step should be, or older folks just looking to switch into a new career path.

I’ll start first, with an analysis of a group discussion I found and posted in on the LinkedIn social networking website (discussion thread – “Is a Masters Degree Worth It?”).

The conversation was started by a guy named Alan, working at McDonalds, and looking to get into the IT industry. He has just completed a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science, and is wondering if a Masters Degree would further his chances of initially being hired. Continue reading “Getting your foot into the IT industry & my history”

Interesting uses of Google?

I love AWStats. I literally look at the stats for this website, and my other’s, multiple times every day… Stat’s junkie much?

I’ve become quite analystic with my stats, noticing trends and changing my content to suit common searches, which I believe lead people to believe they are going to find what they are looking for. You could say I’m doing my bit to make my search results “useful” to web users…

But one particular search keyword caught my eye today…”-intitle” shows up in my search keywords… I went to my search phrases stats, and found this baby:

intitle resume for | intitle resume-of | intitle curriculum-vitae | intitle s-resume @ lawson or sharepoint or microsoft dynamics erp -intitle example -intitle examples -intitle samples -intitle sample -intitle submit -inurl edu -intitle templates -intitle -resume-parsing -inurl fake -postjobfree-com -resumebucket-com -dice-com -trovit-com

Interesting…

I’m curious if this is a new method taken by recruitment agencies and employers alike, to seek out new employees? Heck, I think it’s an ingenious idea, the amount of resumes posted on the web would outnumber Monster, Seek, and any all those other job related sites ten fold!

I hope whoever searched for this found what they were looking for, in this case, they found me, someone who has barely delved into the joys of SharePoint… I hope my resume reflected that 😛 Perhaps resumes need to be indexed better, by recognising the relevance of “little experience with SharePoint” or SharePoint falling under the heading “beginner”, or something along those lines. Something to think about, Google…