Giving to receive

Greetings and salutations to you all at the C# Corner community!
I am delighted to have been invited by Mahesh to write as a columnist from time to time in this great corner (the c# corner!) of the Internet. In March of this year, I had the very great honour and pleasure to speak at the C# Corner Conference in Delhi. At the event, I meet some of the amazing members, organisers and speakers of the community, and I am very much looking forward to returning for further events in the future.
When I started my career in engineering, the Internet was a fledgling, hesitant young thing, that made almost zero impact on daily life. I am talking not only about the impact on my life as a technology professional, but also to the existence of everyday people going about their normal lives. Today, a lifetime after I wrote my first dynamic website in perl, there is only a very small percentage of Mother Earths population that is not touched in some way, on a daily basis by the Internet, and all of the good, and not so good that it brings. My early learning was restricted to whatever books and journals were contained on a physical bookshelf. Today the knowledge and pulse of the world is at our fingertips, a mere search string away - what a privilege.
Over the years we have moved from simple branching decision-tree support, to full on AI assistance, in a way that was only previously envisioned as science fiction. I have heard it say that ’true magic, is simply the AI that we don't yet understand'. This is truly an incredible time to be alive, its an even more incredible time to be a developer, a coder, an engineer … the opportunities are really boundless.
At this years Microsoft //build event, we saw an incredible array of new technologies unveiled. From the magic of Hololens (which is the start of bringing the Star Trek Holo-deck to reality!), to the bot framework, Cordova for Visual Studio, Azure developments, and Cortana. Really, the possibilities presented are mind boggling - to be an engineer alive now is to have the entire world at your feet. Now is a time to embrace change, now is a time to learn, now is a time to give back. Those of us privileged enough to be in the technology industry have been given the gift of opportunity. We need to grasp this challenge presented, we need to harness these innovations, we need to play our part to help push humanity forward in ways that haven't even been thought of yet.
It is said that in all areas of human endeavour, innovation and change is moving forward faster than ever before. This is clearly due to the immediate availability of knowledge, the dramatically lower cost of failure, and the willingness of people to share their thoughts, skills and expertise. Sharing what one knows, in all areas of life, is critical to the improvement of society. Sharing knowledge benefits not only the recipient, but also the giver … ‘the teacher learns from the student’.
Research has shown that teaching and mentoring helps deepen ones knowledge and reinforces our neural pathways. This gives us new insight, deepens our knowledge, bolsters creativity and increases innovation. To be creative, and innovate, we need to look outside our comfort zones, we need to look to, and learn from other domains. We need to take what is commonplace in one area, and inject it as new in another - this is how humanity moves forward.
I thank Mahesh for the invitation to become a contributor to this amazing community - I shall endeavour to contribute often, sometimes with technology, sometimes with commentary or reflection, but always, always with passion and openness. I look forward to engaging with the community, giving some of what I have learned over the years, and receiving amazing new ideas and insight from the huge cadre of intelligent, knowledgeable tech professionals that make up C# corner.
I was asked by some younger attendees at the recent Delhi conference for some career advice, I thought briefly, and the best advice I could give was the following:
‘Be nice, teach someone what you know, and keep learning,
don’t waste your time with moaners, love what you do, or don’t do it!’.
I still don't think I could have answered the question in a better way.
I will finish with this passage from 'Fountain Head' by Ayn Rand:
Hoark got up, reached out, tore a thick branch off a tree, held it in both hands,
one fist closed at each end; then, his wrists and knuckles tensed against the resistance, he bent the branch slowly into an arc.
“Now I can make what I want of it: a bow, a spear, a cane, a railing.
That's the meaning of life."
"your strength?” "your work."
he tossed the branch aside.
"the material the earth offers you and what you make of it..."
Keep well, keep learning, teach others.


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