What would you say, ya do here…

What would you say, ya do here…

December 14, 2015 1 By Eric Shanks

“So, what do you really do for a living?” This is a pretty common question that I get asked these days. I’ve got a Bachelors degree in Management Information Systems. I also have a VCDX which is some sort of highly desired certification so I must be pretty skilled at whatever it is I do. So what exactly is it?


The truth of the matter is that I have a job in the computer industry and thats about all I can accurately describe to someone who isn’t also in this field. It’s tough to explain virtual servers, Git or VLANs to someone over the course of an elevator ride. You need a certain level of background to understand those concepts.

What complicates things further is that I don’t even really do any of those things that I mentioned. I do all of them today. And I may do more or none of them tomorrow. My REAL job is to adapt to the environment. My REAL job is to be an expert at doing new things that I’ve never done before.

If I ever get into a longer conversation with someone who really is interested, I’ll explain some our technology concepts to them at a basic level and inevitably someone will ask me, “So you learned how to do all this stuff in college?” This makes me smile because the answer is both “Yes” and “No”. The way we build servers now is vastly different from how things were done when I was in college (I expect to see some Old Man jokes in the comments now) but I did learn how to LEARN in college. I figured out how to study so that I could remember things. I figured out how to manage my time so that I could get my work done. I figured out that I had to work really hard to be good at anything. College is not something you pay for and then it just pays for itself over the rest of your career. It’s a tool that has to be used to get what you want.

Ok, so how do I explain what I do in an elevator ride? Well, for right now I just say, “I build clouds”. But the truth is, I just try to keep myself from becoming this guy…


Thanks for reading.