Wednesday, January 9, 2008

We should all be Evangelists

Wouldn't it be great if we were all evangelists for the technologies we care about?  Going around telling other technical types about the benefits of the tech and the 'how to' you need to get started.  To be the person that people come to with questions about technology X.

Well why aren't we?  We should be.  I will be.

I'm not saying that we all quit our day jobs and try to get hired on by Microsoft or Sun or whomever and do it for a living, what I'm saying is what is stopping us all from staying up on the most current aspects of something we feel is cool and 'preaching' those items to other people.  If you don't try to know everything about everything then it doesn't take a huge time commitment to be an expert on some aspect of technology. 

So how do you do it?  I've got a few suggestions.

  • Read relevant books.  All technologies get books published about them as soon as the tech is announced.  Many times before platform / tool / technology has been released.
  • Subscribe to and read relevant blogs.  It's amazing how much information you can gain just by reading the blogs of the technology makers and implementers.  There are a ton of blogs out there dealing with pretty much every topic you can think of.
  • Play with it.  Download the betas and trial editions and work through samples.  Look at open source projects on the topic.  The best way for most people to learn something is by using it, so do it.
  • Attend events.  Microsoft and most other technology makers sponsor user groups, SIGs, technology overviews and other types of events where you can see real people talking about the newest technology.  Many of these events are small enough to ask relevant questions and talk one on one with the experts.
  • Speak Up.  Whenever there is a conversation about your area of concentration, let your voice be heard.  No one will no you are an expert if you don't let them hear you talk about it.  This can happen in person or in online communities, wherever you feel comfortable.  But remember, if you hope to gain respect at your place of employment you need to speak up in person sometimes.

This list is far from complete but it's a start.  Add to it, do only a subset, whatever, just do something. 

So get out there.  Be an Evangelist and let people know it!

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