Oh boy, do I have an ego or something else. It seems that every position I hold these days, I cannot seem to find a position that challenges me enough! With any profession, once you delve into the world of “expert” or “senior” you truly really realize how small the world is. In my case, I cross languages on a day-to-day basis. Syntax means nothing to me anymore than having a reference to understand it. The number of programmable syntax styles is limited in it’s numbers, C-style, Basic, Indented, Mathematical, and Markup. Servers are really Windows and Linux out there and when you really look at the two, there aren’t many differences other than the user interface.
Really in any IT position, it comes down to understanding concepts rather than core knowledge base. The core knowledge is important, but conceptually if you can understand an entire system and link of systems on an “expert” level, you can transition into any role you wish. What’s difficult at the “expert” and “senior” levels is trying to continuously challenge yourself with new work. Basically, the majority of the work being done out there today is all the same. Once you build one app, what’s different from the next? Once you manage one network, how do the challenges grow with the next?
I say, that it is important to continuously bring in new projects that keep challenging your conceptual understanding, rather than continuously bringing in projects that have you do the same concept work each time. Understanding and working on a conceptual basis allows your brain to keep from atrophying. It also keeps up your interest level and the more projects you complete, the more fun you have. In my book, I want to be thrown every programming language, work on every system, at extremely large scales and high volumes. I want to work on products, API’s, UI’s, back-end systems, and create them all from scratch. And if I don’t have that ability at the position I am at, I will find a way to make you agree that we need this new system, because at the end of the day, let me improve the company and myself at the same time.