Getting the Most From IT Discussion Boards
When I first left the police and went into a career in IT
I noticed quite a few changes.
First, that the character type of IT people was very
different to that of police. I suppose different character
types are attracted to certain roles. Most police were
action oriented, good with people, confident and coped well
with stress. I found many IT people wanted to avoid people,
were uncertain of themselves and wanted very much to focus
on problems which had to be fixed.
There is nothing wrong with this of course, I just found it
a bit hard to get used to.
Which leads me onto discussion forums for IT people. When I
started to use these as part of my study system I was very
surprised by what I found. Most of the questions had
nothing to do with technical issues. People were looking for
career advice or even worse, certification advice. It was
questions like this:
1. Should I finish my degree or do the CCNA
2. Should I do the MCSE or CCNA
3. I have passed my CCNA, what should I do now?
and so on.
My mother always says, ‘Ask a silly questions and you get
a silly answer.’ The answers to these type of questions are
as good as useless because the question is useless. And do
you even know who is answering it? Is it a 15 year old
programmer or some bitter and twisted employee who has been
stuck in the same role for 20 years?
People cannot tell you what you should and shouldn’t do with
your life and career. Only you know the answers to those
I also found another thing. There are many people who gain
significance in their lives from answering questions on
the discussion boards. You will see them because they have
been on there for years, have to list ever single exam they
have ever taken to show you how clever they are. If you
ever dare to argue with them they will unleash a torrent of
abuse at you for daring to challenge their opinion.
The worst offenders I have seen consistently give poor advice
such as telling you not to even dare to apply for a job
until you have 3 years experience and you must start at the
very bottom. They tell you to do the same thing they did
which is learn how to fix PCs, then servers before you go
The list is endless but the result is the same. People make
life altering decisions based upon very bad advice.
I have no agenda here by the way. I am not saying that
they are wrong and you should do what I say instead. I am
just bemused at the scenario I see played over and over
I would personally advise that you use the discussion
forums to seek answers to technical questions rather than
to use it for surrogate life coaching.
When you post a question:
1. Please be specific. What is the problem you want help
with? Which device and IOS release is it? What are you
doing when the problem happens (exactly).
2. What steps have you taken to resolve or research the
problem. If you have just posted a question without even
trying to find the answer then you may find that people
don’t want to help you.
You can find answers on:
cisco books and manuals
replicating it on similar equipment
searching forums where your question has been asked
3. Always take time to thank the people who answer your
question. They don’t get paid to help you so the least you
can do is thank them.
I hope my ramblings help.