Getting Comfortable with 'I Don't Know' in the IT Industry

Getting Comfortable with 'I Don't Know' in the IT Industry
In: General, Network

Are you, like me, finding yourself caught in the constant whirlwind of evolving technology trends? It seems like every day there's something new to learn, and just when you think you're getting a handle on it, the game changes again. If you're nodding along, you're not alone.

When I first started my career as a Network Engineer, I felt pretty confident after earning my CCNP. I thought I knew everything there was to know about OSPF, EIGRP, and the like. I mean, those are the building blocks of our skills, right? But oh boy, was I in for a surprise. You step away from working with OSPF for a few months, and suddenly you're left scratching your head, trying to recall the difference between E1 and E2 routes.

I remember a time when I believed that my CCNP badge shielded me from the simplest of routing questions. If I couldn't answer, wouldn't it be embarrassing? Wouldn't people start to question my qualifications? Wouldn't they wonder how I even managed to get certified in the first place? But as my career progressed, I realized that this mentality was more of a roadblock than anything else.

The truth is, in an industry as dynamic as ours, it's impossible to know everything - and that's okay. I've learned to say "I don't know."

The Pressure to Know Everything

When you've been working in this field for a few years, it's quite natural to wonder, "Shouldn't I know everything by now?" However, it's essential to realize that knowing everything is not only unrealistic but also unnecessary.

Consider this, you've been a Network Engineer for a few years, but what are the chances that you've worked with all the routing protocols? In my experience, those chances are pretty slim. The reality is that many engineers specialize in certain areas or work with a specific set of protocols. The breadth of networking technologies is so vast that becoming an expert in every single one is not feasible, nor is it typically expected.

This constant pressure to know everything can not only cause undue stress but also hamper our professional growth. When we're caught up in the fear of not knowing, we often overlook opportunities to learn and innovate. Instead of focusing on acquiring all knowledge, we should aim to cultivate a mindset of continuous learning. After all, in our rapidly evolving industry, the most successful professionals are those who remain curious and open-minded, ready to dive into new challenges, even when they don't know everything.

Closing Thoughts

Navigating the ever-changing landscape Information Technology can often feel like trying to catch a moving train. It's fast, it's dynamic, and just when you think you've got a grip on it, it changes direction. But as we've explored in this post, it's perfectly fine not to have all the answers. In fact, it's not just fine—it's crucial for our growth and innovation.

When we embrace the phrase "I don't know," we open doors to learning, collaboration, and continuous improvement. Instead of fearing the unknown, we start seeing it as an opportunity—a chance to grow, to learn something new, to innovate.

Admitting "I don't know" isn't a sign of weakness or incompetence; it's a hallmark of a professional committed to lifelong learning. In our industry, where technologies evolve faster than ever, this commitment is not just a nice-to-have; it's a necessity.

So, the next time you're confronted with an unfamiliar concept or a new challenge, remember: it's okay not to know. After all, every piece of knowledge we now possess started from a place of not knowing. As IT professional, our job isn't to know everything—it's to continuously learn, adapt, and innovate in a field that's constantly changing.

Written by
Suresh Vina
Tech enthusiast sharing Networking, Cloud & Automation insights. Join me in a welcoming space to learn & grow with simplicity and practicality.
More from Packetswitch
Table of Contents
Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Packetswitch.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.