Not to beat on a dead horse…

…but this article brings up some very good points for consideration on the topic of the IT business arena.

As eksith mentioned in one of his own posts (as a response to one of mine), one of the most dangerous characteristics of anyone in a leadership position is going from knowing nothing to knowing little.  If the person recognizes they know nothing, then they’ll inquire for recommendations from their subordinates on rational courses of action.  But if they know little, they’ll often make the decisions on their own, albeit without nearly enough information to make a rational decision.

The article points out that “to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”  They know enough about the function of a hammer to understand its purpose, but nowhere near enough as to how it should be applied.  In my personal experience, the most annoying cases of IT support are those when my help is requested, and as I am diagnosing and fixing the problem, the customer sits there and tells me what to do.  And in the lovely case of the woman this past summer, she saw her own (admittedly) extensive professional resume and (mistakenly) translated that to imply a broader competence.

This, I think, is the main point:

If you are managing an IT shop and can’t write the code to render “hello world” in C, html, php, and pull “hello world” from a MySQL database using a perl script, then YOU are in the wrong job.

Though, brilliantly, the author’s next lines will keep those unfamiliar with programming but savvy enough with Google to believe they can sidestep this simple but crucial self-examination:

I should point out that these latter tasks can be copied and pasted straight from properly composed Google queries. They aren’t a test of programming knowledge at all, just of the ability to use the Internet. Yet many technical managers will fail and should get the boot as a result. You can’t manage what you can’t understand.

You can’t manage what you don’t understand.  It’s as simple as that, and applies to any field, not just IT.

By the way, Hubble just discovered a stellar object that nobody has been able to account for yet.  Anyone want to take a stab as to what it might be?  Or shall we just go with the recommendation given by a scientist at the LHC, that it is “similar to the flash that an Imperial Star Destroyer does when reaching Warp 10”?

Oh.  And by the time this article is posted, this blog will probably have reached 2,000 total visits.  I don’t know who is finding this blog so interesting, but if you’ve been sticking around to read regularly (whether it is to agree or laugh at my many follies), thanks. 🙂

And finally, because I know this is the real reason anyone reads this blog:

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About Shannon Quinn

Oh hai!
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2 Responses to Not to beat on a dead horse…

  1. eksith says:

    “They aren’t a test of programming knowledge at all, just of the ability to use the Internet. ”

    Bingo!

    And, realistically speaking, there are many situations where Googling will only get someone into deeper trouble if they find an inappropriate solution or, worse yet, a dangerously insecure one.

    You definitely will come across some terrible mess caused by someone eventually. Cleanup duties are a bit like your initiation into the IT field.

    As for the mysterious object in the sky… We’ll just add it to the several thousand already recorded throughout human history. 😉

    BTW LOLCATS FTW!!

    That should probably be its own meme 😛

  2. magsol says:

    Hmm, I want to learn more about Obama’s policies. Let me Google him…

    WHAT?? HE’S SECRETLY A MUSLIM TRYING TO WIN OFFICE SO HE CAN DECIMATE OUR GREAT COUNTRY FROM WITHIN?? EFF THAT, I’M VOTING FOR MCCAIN!!

    A commenter on Slashdot suggested that the flash may have been an alien civilization incinerating itself because all its investments were tied up in Lehman Brothers stock. ZING

    Haha, I have a lolcats widget on my MacBook. Keeps me in touch with the latest from icanhascheezburger 😛

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