We're All on a Continuum

In a technology field, there is no one person that can know everything. With the rapid pace of tools, frameworks, methodologies, and platforms, it is impossible to be an expert in everything and at best you have broad knowledge of many things. Everything related to technology is on a continuum. Just as businesses are at different maturity models with regards to IT; from the large corporate enterprises that are still on the mainframe, to the ISVs and businesses contributing to open source, to the startups that have a great idea they are working to sell so are the people that support all of them.

Like most people that are developers out there, I often feel that I’m relatively mediocre when it comes to my skills. That I know enough to get by, but there’s so many other developers out there that know so much more than I do. It doesn’t help that I often tend to surround myself with those who I feel are the best in industry. And with all the knowledge floating around, I can barely, if even, ever get a word in. Talk about imposter syndrome.

I bet though that even though I feel that way about myself, there’s someone else that looks up to me the same way I look up to all those in my own network.

And that’s the thing - yeah, it’s likely that the people that I perceive to be better and doing so much more than me, perhaps they are. But, I guarantee that there are things I know and do that they don’t. Remember back when you were first learning to program and how difficult it was. But as you learned the concepts, it was easier to pick up other languages, tools and technologies because they often share common concepts, just like many other things we come to learn over time.

The fact of that matter is, we’re all on a continuum of learning. You don’t always know what someone’s background is; how long they’ve been in their career, what their education level is, exposure they get to certain technologies either through work or personal time. You just simply do not know, and because of that, we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves with others. It’s an effort in futility that just does not make sense to even attempt to pursue. Instead we should be focusing on what skills we would like to try to improve, or things we would like to know more about, and make that happen. Who knows what passion you’ll develop if you take that approach, and perhaps you’ll become that expert over time.