What does a 45 year old technology professional who has been in the industry for 23 years do next? The thought for me is somewhat daunting; never-the-less, it is a thought I have no choice but to diligently ponder. I began my technology career going to school to learn COBOL, landing my first job writing C/C++, getting really established in IT with IBM mid-range systems and lastly paying my mortgage and putting my kids through college on Microsoft Web/Windows technologies – of all kinds. COM/COM+, Classic ASP, VB/C# .NET, Sharepoint, BizTalk, and it really does go on!
After all these years of IT work I have arrived at one word that describes a host feelings I have for where IT has taken me… Frustrated!
Ok, so I am a bit old school and have these crazy ideas that software and systems should – well, work! I am so tired of the endless cycle of new trends that leave companies in a technology lurch because the new thing implemented last week is no longer relevant for the business need today. And I am very sick and tired of poorly designed, quickly-built, over-engineered “solutions” that leave a company’s ROI in the red!
Yes, I am tired of the technology rat race. Now, I still have some time to work in this industry until I start cooking BBQ for living (see my Indy Smokehouse BBQ blog); so since that is the case, why not work on my own terms? Why not do what I love to do the way I want to do it? Well, that means I have to make some major changes in my technology lifestyle. I mean major changes! Luckily, I have already begun. Below are a few steps that I have taken to move into the technology lifestyle I want to assume.
Go Open Source with Tools
A couple of years ago I started my quest toward the new technology me. What did I do? I ditched MS Office in favor of OpenOffice.org. Ok, so going from lots of $$ to free is not far from a no-brainer, but hey – a guy has got to start somewhere. OpenOffice did and does everything I need to do including, allowing me manage Microsoft documents. I also ditched the MS development tools for open source tools. Lastly, I beefed up my open source development skills to included PHP, MySQL, Apache, etc. These are just a few things I did to begin the redefinition of my life in IT.
Move to UNIX OS
I have always had an installation of some variant of Linux running in a VM on my Windows machines. But, I have really shaken up the “Etch-A-Sketch” on this latest move – I bought a Mac! This move brings me full circle to my roots. Mac OS X is a fully implemented UNIX – not a Linux and I could not be happier! I had thought about getting a SPARC-Station and running SunOS but I have way too many kids to afford that! So, when Apple came out with Mac OS X, I knew it was only a matter of time before I jumped on the bandwagon and now, I am there with my new iMac 20″.
Reconcile the Old, New, Good and Bad
While I am not a huge fan of RAD, Agile and the like; there are some really good things about them that can be very helpful if applied correctly. It’s like owning a firearm. A gun in the wrong hands means that people get hurt; but a gun in the right hands means that people are protected and safe. The new innovative IT concepts of today have to be tempered with the wisdom of the trade. We have to stop deploying technologies because they are new and cool. We have to consider if they make sense or not; and, then we have to be very wise and methodical in our implementations.
So here I am at the beginning of a new IT life for myself. I am not sure yet where it will ultimately lead but I am going anyway – and I am having fun doing it. That was the whole point anyway.