In the age of the internet, knowledge is literally at our fingertips. Information that was available only to university students and doctoral candidates a few decades ago, is now just a click away, but the amount of information available is growing at an exponential rate. It’s growing so fast, in fact, that we are having to develop new technologies just to cope with it all. This arms-race between information and technology is growing faster and faster. Once can almost drown in it all, and experts are relatively few. In fact, the concept of an expert in information technology is almost a misnomer. Not only does technology grow, but it also changes. This evolution is so frighteningly quick that new positions and titles are being created every few years just to have something to call the experts who work on it. Currently, I’m a Voice over IP engineer. That didn’t exist a decade ago, and wouldn’t have been dreamed of twenty years ago. When I entered the information technology arena, I had no idea what VoIP was, nor that I was going to become an “expert” in it. But what did it take for me to gain this expertise? It certainly wasn’t a college degree, I only have a GED and when I went to college it was for anything but information technology. I became an expert because I had to. It was a strategy of adaptation. I took something new, and I figured it out. I studied what I could, both online and off. But is that all I know? Am I a VoIP Engineer, full stop? No. I had to become an expert in quite a few different kinds of technologies, on-the-fly, and without an iota of an idea of what I was doing. This didn’t come from some cowboy ideology of not needing the “system” to get by, in fact, there weren’t any classes at my local college that even covered this subject. The technology was brand-new and I was growing right along with it. There were no experts, just devices and instruction manuals.
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