You can't just ignore technology you don't like

Well, it's been a while since the last rant-style post, so let me de-pressurize myself some. :-)
Two incidents lately: One web designer half-jokingly stating "Non-IE browsers are for hippies". Another very open source -oriented freelance .NET software developer not remembering the name of Visual Studio and totally dissing the idea of using an IDE with a debugger – plain ASCII text files with Console.WriteLine statements rock! Even though neither of the speakers were 100% serious, both the comments had enough seeds of the true attitude to cause some agitation on my behalf.
If you're a home user of PCs, you can make whatever decisions on technology you want. You can ignore non-IE browsers, you don't really have to care. Want to close your eyes? Go ahead. If you're a corporate user, you may not be able to choose yourself – but rest assured, your IT department have made the choice. Like it or not, you usually have to accept their chosen technology and ignore the others.
On the other hand, if you work in the IT business, you need to think a bit more. If you're a Microsoft evangelist, slandering the Open Source without facts to back you up will no longer be credible. A Linux guru can launch a fiery burst of flame at Microsoft, but unless he can convince the audience with cold hard facts, he's likely to be a prophet only in the eyes of the fanboys – the choir who really doesn't need the preaching anyway.
Categorical statements about tools or technologies usually reveal the lack of knowledge involved. That's bad, because if you're in the business, you're expected to know. You're expected to maintain your expertise so that you'll be able to judge new technologies and products based on their merits. Any opinions, even rash ones, are acceptable when it comes to technology – the only criteria is that you have to have the balls to back them up.
With the rapid clip of development going on in most sectors of IT, it's very easy to close your eyes from the big picture. It's very easy to ignore Linux, Firefox, OpenOffice and other challengers if you work for a Microsoft-only shop like me. It's very easy to dismiss Microsoft's new products as marketing FUD if you're an Linux/PHP enthusiasts. The only problem is that the real clients and users in the world are having none of your nigh-religious fervor. They will still have the freedom to make whatever technology choices they consider fine in their perspective – and they will ask you why your web site doesn't work with their Opera, and what's the business gain in not integrating the code into a Visual Studio Solution.
It's all about credibility as a professional. Refrain from making overly broad statements about things you don't really understand. Nay, not just that. Refrain from being prejudicious. Wipe your head clean of non-factual suspicion. Be open. Learn more every day. Learn more about things you didn't think to be worth learning. Don't think you know everything because you know Linux/Windows/whatever and you're happy with it.
To sum it up: It's almost never a good idea to signal both prejudice and lack of competence, all in a single sentence.
Edit 2004-11-27: The third paragraph ("If you're a…") lost a sentence in my final edit of the post. After that, it made no sense and certainly didn't convey my original thoughts on the issue. Fixed it now; sorry for my carelessness.

November 25, 2004 В· Jouni Heikniemi В· One Comment
Posted in: General

One Response

  1. Brent Thurmer - January 12, 2021

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