I wish I knew more about ...
Something I say regularly, both in a professional and private context. There are so many things I would like to know more about:
- Artificial intelligence / Machine Learning, and how to use that in my testing profession
- Optomechanics (handy for my work)
- Linux & SSH
- Carpentry & joinery
- The rules of cricket
- British history (particularly handy for pub quizzes ... )
Think I'm quite curious person by nature and, because of that, I have a wide variety of interests. I always want to learn about knew things. That also means a know a little about a wide variety of things, but not a lot about a few specific topics.
Having said that though, I've been involved in test automation for most of my professional career, so I dare to call myself a specialist on that front. But then immediately add that there are plenty of others that know a lot more in that area.
Based on the above, in the remainder of this post I want to touch on several aspects to come to my mind on the subject of knowing more about:
How to get to know more about something
Every day is a school day, you learn every day. Be it implicitly or explicitly. I don't want to go into details on implicit learning, part from saying that it is important to acknowledge that aspect (I've written about that in the past).
As soon as you think or say "I wish I knew more about ...", you state a desire you explicitly want to learn about a topic. And then it is up to you to find a way to gather that knowledge.
There are so many ways to learn and gather knowledge:
- Reading: books, essays, blogs, articles, manuals, technical guides
- Watching: tutorials, demonstrations, conference talks
- Schooling: classes, courses, studies, certification, workshops
- Mentoring: coaching, training, consulting, counseling
- Practicing: challenges, exercises, dojos, hackathons
With so many different options, it is important that you find the best approach for type of knowledge gathering you want to do. Some are better suited for certain purposes than others. Wanting to know more about philosophy probably requires a more extensive study than learning how to make kimchi.
And also find a way of learning what your comfortable with. For me personally, reading is not the easiest way. I rather learn by watching and having hands-on experience.
Acknowledgement of your limited knowledge
No matter how much you know about a certain topic, there probably - no, certainly - will be people out there that know as much or even more on that same topic. Several things to be said on this:
- It stimulates collaboration. Know what you know, know what you don't know, know what others know, know what others don't know. Complement each other's knowledge.
- It allows your to keep learning. be it directly from the others you work with, be it from the vast majority of resources that are available.
- It shows modesty. Which is not a bad thing ...
In other words, don't get complacent, be open to more learning.
Being fine with not knowing everything
For sure, it can be frustrating not knowing enough about a certain topic. It can make you feel insecure (am I good enough for this job?), you might see yourself as an imposter, you feel unconfident amongst colleagues and peers, and, it is just annoying not knowing the answer to the winning question in a pub quiz....
Keep in mind however, that you can't know everything and you don't have to know everything. Be selective on the things you want to know more about. Pick out the things that can bring you further (in any way), delve into subjects that bring you joy. And for the rest, of the things you don't know, there are people with the knowledge you can ask and collaborate with...
Impetus for this article
I haven't written a blog post in a while, though I made myself a promise to write more. But hey, that's how things go (don't beat yourself up on that Peet!).
Recently there have been a few triggers that made me decide to write this post:
- The Ministry of Testing has reignited their bloggers club. I have let a few iterations slip, but ...
- ... This month's topic is close to my heart and think I can write a meaningful article about it
- Two weeks ago, I joined in on an Ask Me Anything session on blogging, facilitated by the Ministry of Testing, hosted by @BruceOnlyBruce, @christovskia, @Louise_J_Gibbs and @ThePirateTester. Lots of wisdom and tips in there and enough reasons on why you should write more.
And with all of that, I hadn't any excuse anymore NOT to write a blog post. What you've been reading is the result. Hope you found it useful. Feel free to get in touch with me if you want to comment or discuss.