Being Technical - the New Macho

Category: TechToday
 
It's hard to tell nowadays who really has the technical chops considering there are literally thousands of technologies out there from the popular, like Microsoft and Adobe products, Java, and Javascript, to the fairly non-mainstream, such as LaTeX, XLIFF, Solaris, and FreeBSD.  I visit forums and the usual news sources to get up to date on the latest trends and topics.  I also visit technical forums for help when I get stumped on a piece of code or a bug in a Linux application.  I am always impressed with the incredibly learned and skilled people out there who are either well-versed in their field (e.g. network administration, Linux, programming) or are extremely resourceful for solving specific technical problems.   
 
 
And then there are those who do a lot of chest-beating and name-dropping on the forums.  I always felt it was misplaced to list your MCSE, Oracle, Cisco certifications or whatever hardware you have been an expert on in your work or personal life.  There's really no way to verify that you really do run the servers in business X or Y or you were the engineer behind that blaster worm from 2001.   It's like the guy who posts letters in Playboy claiming how good they are in bed and how many women they've slept with.  It's also tantamount to posting in Men's Health what your personal record is for lifting weights and how long you can run on the treadmill at level 9. 
 
 
As a user, I appreciate the help I get from users who post best practices when running Fedora on a headless server or editing nodes in Adobe Illustrator.  But it's just plain ridiculous for "experts" to announce their tech cred as they make comments about how good they are and how much everyone else doesn't know what they're doing.  If you're that good, then share what you can do instead of compensating your lack of recognition via the web.  The truth is that everyone has a degree of technical aptitude and ability – even if it's basic ones like setting up a web page, taking apart a PC, or reinstalling an OS.  Even the 14-year old across you can probably write several XML and XSLT documents in an hour using Gedit or Notepad.
 
In the 80s, men had a culture of being "macho," a somewhat flattering but immaterial label that people believed they earned whether it was via bagging chicks or being extremely athletic, charming, or good-looking.  Being "technical" online in forums, web sites, or blogs is becoming similar to being "macho" albeit in the modern, sophisticated way expected in today's digital and learned society.  There's nothing morally wrong with tooting your own horn and knowing you have skills, but people have to understand everyone else has their place in the tech world and it's this diversity that allows technology and community to prosper.

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