If you're in IT or engineering in some capacity, do you think that one piece of software, one server technology or a single method of IT administration could fundamentally change your entire career? Probably not. But I'm here to attest it can happen. I'm living proof.
One product can truly transform a career and open a world of opportunity you never knew existed. This short article covers my personal journey covering the linchpin that accelerated my career.
Let me know in the comments if any of this sounds familiar and what you're doing to find your own 'PowerShell'.
The Journey to PowerShell
I started out in IT working as a student worker in the Computer Maintenance department at my local college in 1998. It was the first time I ever got paid to do what I enjoyed, working with computers.
By hoofing across campus with an Office 2000 CD in hand, forgetting product keys and Ghosting dozens of PCs for computer labs, I enjoyed my work. I enjoyed being a computer technician fixing computers, installing software and helping college employees. That was it.
Since then, I've held positions a wide assortment of positions like Network Administrator, System Administrator, Network Engineer, Systems Consultant and more. I've enjoyed the work I've done, the local people I've met and the have been happy with my career overall.
Looking back, my career had been ho-hum; not spectacular but not bad either. I was comfortable.
It wasn't until I stumbled upon this new Windows scripting language called PowerShell that my career and life drastically changed. I could never imagine what would end up happening.
Finding a Passion
Throughout my career, I've had certain things that I thought were cool.
- "Do you mean I can automate things with VBScript? Cool!"
- "Wow! This SCCM thing really cuts down on the time required to deploy software."
- "You know, it's kinda fun designing VLANs and sniffing packets."
All fellow IT professionals feel this throughout their career but the "cool factor" is soon forgotten. The excitement and enthusiasm are soon drowned out by yet another helpdesk ticket or the latest shiny new project coming down the pipe.
Prior to 2010, my 'geek outs' were just that; fleeting thoughts that would come and go without regard. No technology stuck with me. I wasn't passionate enough about anything to talk about it outside of work hours let alone fathom blogging about it.
But in 2010, after being an avid VBscript junkie for years, I stumbled across Windows PowerShell. At first, I rejected it. I was perfectly content with my VBS files and learning the difference between wscript and cscript. VBScript was my hammer and I knew it well.
I always enjoyed scripting ops things and automating all the things with the tools of the time so I thought I'd give PowerShell a shot. And I'm so thankful I did.
What I didn't realize was that nearly 10 years later I'd have people approaching me at conferences thanking me for my community contributions, writing a published book on PowerShell, authoring many eBooks, creating multiple Pluralsight training courses, written almost 1,000 articles, starting a popular blog getting over 150,000 people/month visiting it and increasing my income by nearly 4x.
How did all of this come to pass? Simple. Passion. Well..and it didn't hurt my passion coincided with Microsoft's push with PowerShell and thus a large part of the IT market adopting it. :)
What led me to invest so much time in one particular product was an extreme curiosity and desire to learn how to improve my PowerShell skills.
Becoming an Expert without Knowing It
As I was busy automating mundane processes at work with PowerShell, I never sought out to become a PowerShell "expert". I was simply going where my curiosity led me.
I was enthusiastic enough about the language that "good enough" wasn't good enough for me. Even if a script accomplished the task, there were always tweaks to be make the code:
- Run faster
- More manageable
- More descriptive through help content
There was rarely a time when I'd write a script, see the fruits of my labor and feel comfortable leaving it as-is. It was never good enough! I was always forced to move onto something else; not willingly.
Although it was never a goal, geeking out on PowerShell naturally led me to know a whole lot about the language and how to automate, in general.
You don't realize the knowledge transformation as it's happening. Ten years, multiple books, hundreds of blog posts and articles later on PowerShell, I look up and realize, "Wow..what happened"? The best part is I still have a lot to learn and am enthusiastic about continuing my journey.
Enthusiasm is Contagious
When you're truly enthusiastic about something, it's only a matter of time until you can't contain your excitement and starting tell other people. This is where your career can change dramatically.
I've written about this for a long time and even did a small talk on sharing your enthusiasm.
You'll find that enthusiasm is contagious. The more excited you get, the more excited others around you become.
My passion for PowerShell led me to starting this very blog. At first, I would write blog posts for my own purposes. I would write blog posts during and after work documenting the problems of the week and how I solved them with PowerShell.
I would use my blog posts to then share with others on my team as documentation and for my purposes to remember what kind of mindset I was in at the time. The blog was purely mine and mine alone with no regard for anyone else.
It wasn't until I received that first comment on this blog I started to realize my documentation was helping others out there solve the same problems. It was rewarding hearing the legwork I had done and post I had written had helped people. People were actually reading my stuff!
Finding your 'PowerShell' will open up a community you may not even realize existed.
How one technology has managed to change my career so much still amazes me. If you're truly enthusiastic about a product or technology, I encourage you to pursue it! See where it leads. Get out there and starting showing people what you know and getting them as excited as you are.
You'll never know where your passion might lead if you don't follow it.
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