I just finished listening to the fourth edition of Josh O'Brien's WhoIS interview series. If you're not familiar with this podcast series, it was created as a way to get to know more about people in IT who you've probably interacted with online and might have met in person. Josh asks each person the same questions, and the answers are often very different.
This time he was interviewing Tom Hollingsworth. I think a few things Tom said bear repeating. The question was "Should every engineer blog or be active in social media communities?" Tom's answer was an emphatic yes! He says everyone has at least one good blog post in them. Tom goes on to describe how the encouragement of his mentors helped him to achieve things he never thought possible for himself.
As a side note, we can never be fully aware of the impact we have on other peoples' lives. The words of encouragement you give someone today can have a far bigger impact than you might ever realize.
The third edition of the podcast was Josh's interview with me. We barely scratched the surface of the issue of women in IT, but I did touch on the uphill battles I've faced in my career. I got my start into IT by taking night classes from Mr. Vanderpool at Winter Park Tech, but the catalyst that got me there was the IT guy who acted like the information he had was a priceless gem he couldn't share. I thought "What could he possibly know that I can't learn?"
Episode two in the series was with Stephen Foskett of Gestalt IT. Stephen describes how he got his start in IT via salvaging Convergent Miniframes from the dumpster at his college. They'd been damaged in a fire but cleaned up nicely and still worked, so he and his roommates built their own Unix powered BBS in their dorm room with the salvaged gear! That experience helped Stephen land his first job as a Unix administrator.
I'm looking forward to the next episode of the WhoIS series. It is interesting to hear people tell the story of how they got their start in IT and hear them talk about what motivates them today.
Josh's WhoIs podcast can be streamed/downloaded from his website and his podcast is available via iTunes as well.