On a recent PowerScripting Podcast episode, I brought up the topic of PowerShell Desired State Configuration, and pointed out that I thought folks should be learning this important technology. There was a bit of a debate – some folks disagree, of course. But putting that aside, at least a few folks agreed with me and set out to learn the technology.
Jacob Benson was one of them, and he’s been blogging – daily – about his learning experience.
It aptly demonstrates why I think everyone should have a blog – even if it’s a private one that nobody else sees, but I really think anyone working in IT should have a public blog. Writing something down reinforces it in your head. The act of writing forces you to organize your thoughts; Benson’s been doing it chronologically, which is fine. He’s documented his failures, too, which is going to prove useful to someone else in the future, because he also documents his fixes.
You know that you truly know something when you can teach it to someone else – and forcing yourself to write down what you’ve learned proves to you that you’ve learned it that well. Blog selfishly: make every entry a reminder of what you’ve learned, and you’ll always have a reference to go back to. If you’re at work, blog there, too. Use SharePoint or something to document problems you’ve solved in an informal fashion; that can supplement help desk ticket notes and serve as a long-term reference for others in your environment.
And you do have time. Remember that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and that’s never been more true than in the IT industry, where I see people constantly making the same mistakes over and over. If you don’t document history, everyone forgets it. You can’t afford not to.
Sure, other people don’t read. I get it. I’m constantly re-answering questions that I’ve already answered in a book or something. But that’s often because people aren’t used to other people writing stuff down, so they don’t bother to look. You can help cure that. When you “re-answer” a question, politely refer the person to whatever writing you’ve done on the subject, so they start getting used to looking for those answers.
Don’t like to write? Fine – start a YouTube “blog” instead. Get a screen recording application, a decent microphone, and record your learning experiences. They don’t need to be pretty – they need to be helpful.
We live in an age of unprecedented ability to document and retain information forever. What are you doing to help build the knowledge base?