The Shifting Sands of Technology

Technical competence is the foundation on which our profession is built. We are in a constant race to maintain a relevant set of skills. Technology is continuously changing and evolving like shifting sand under our feet. If we fail to learn and adapt, we will be left behind.  We cannot afford to wait for someone to teach us what we need to know. We must be resourceful and seek out the knowledge whenever possible.

White Sands

Before I continue, I would like to say what a great privilege it is to be contributing to The Signal Chief. My name is Justin Cady and I am a 255N Network Technician out of Fort Drum, NY. Technology isn’t just my profession but it is my passion as well.  I hope to leverage this opportunity to share my thoughts, experience and knowledge with anyone willing to listen. I am constantly exploring and studying every aspect of the technology that surrounds us and I’m always up for an engaging discussion. If you’re so inclined, feel free to look me up on global and email me.

As a community of highly skilled technicians, our best asset is our persistent curiosity and willingness to learn. That curiosity has taken us all down the occasional rabbit hole while searching for a solution to a problem. At first glance, these tangents may appear to be a waste of time and should be avoided.   Instead, I would argue that these very moments are where knowledge becomes understanding. We gain new perspectives that help us fit the puzzle pieces together. The modern network is filled with an abundance of puzzle pieces. We must be able to see the big picture as well as understand the subtle nuances of each individual piece. As a new warrant, we’re handed a disc full of configurations, a spreadsheet full of IP addresses and expected to just figure it out. Whether you recognized it or not, those configuration files are the best guide you could ask for. Every command is in there for a reason; placed there for an explicit purpose by someone with a clear understanding of the network. If you don’t know what a command does or don’t understand its purpose…look it up.  We are lucky enough to live in an age where the world’s knowledge is at our fingertips. Many free resources are available online for all of us to access. For example, Cisco provides exhaustive online references for every IOS command to include all of the various options.

Outside of vendor references, the Internet is littered with how-to’s, guides, and forums discussing all of the ideas, quirks, bugs, and workarounds that you can imagine. If the public forums can’t meet your needs, there’s an assortment of Army/DoD communities online made up of fellow Signaleers. If you know of any Signal communities not listed below, please share in the comments.

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