Episode 36 – Be The Subject Matter Expert with Jay Miller

 In Podcasts

Jay Miller has been a system administrator for the military and in the private sector since 2008. He actively participates in several online communities, learning to develop in different languages such as JavaScript and Python. Jay’s involvement in these communities led him to host the CodeNewbie Saturday discussions and eventually to starting the Productivity In Tech podcast.

In this episode Jay talks about finding the one thing that you’re good at and why you should become the subject matter expert of it. Jay tells us why we should be selective when opportunities present themselves and the consequences of making the wrong choice.


Time Stamped Show Notes

(00:52) – Phil introduces Jay Miller

(01:20) – Jay tells us that he was a United States Marine and talks about his experiences

(01:47) – After leaving the military, Jay went into the private sector where he still is a System Administrator and SharePoint administrator

(01:59) – Jay is actively seeking to make a change in his career and become a Developer

(02:07) – Jay says that he has learned that the best way to do this is to get plugged into online and in-person communities


(02:59) – Unique Career Tip: Jay says that you should find the one thing that you’re good at and make it yours

(03:27) – “Master it and be the subject matter expert in that one field”

(03:32) – “If you find that one thing that interests you become the absolute subject matter expert”

(03:46) – You will be then be surprised at the number of opportunities that come to you


(04:30) – Worst Career Moment: Jay talks about building his online community

(04:48) – Jay let the community dictate what he wanted out of it

(05:09) – Jay was attracted the wrong audience for what he wanted but changed to suit his audience

(05:34) – It eventually made Jay physically ill

(05:44) – Jay gave the community away and started over getting rules for himself about what he would and would not do

(06:01) – There will always be opportunities and you need to be selective rather than accept them all


(06:39) – Career Highlight / Greatest Success: Jay talks about turning his online community into a profitable one

(07:00) – Within I.T. Jay says that being in Japan after a major tsunami and helping to bring food and resources in by setting up a network was a highlight

(07:34) – It gave people a little of their humanity, life and belongings back as well as helping to revive their fishing economy


(08:22) – What Excites You About The Future of a Career in I.T.? Jay says that the I.T. industry is always changing

(08:29) – There are going to be new opportunities and you can define yourself without having to compromise

(08:45) – If you have that one thing that you really enjoy doing, that one thing that gets you really excited, you might find out that it becomes the next big thing

(09:09) – Jay talks about the success of Uber and the future of self-driving cars and machine learning

(09:23) – “The possibilities are endless”


(09:37) – The Reveal

(09:43) – What attracted you to an I.T. career in the first place? – “I took apart my grandfather’s computer and became fascinated putting it back together”

(10:20) – What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? – “If you think you know what you want to do, do that thing”

(11:17) – If you were to begin your I.T. career again, right now, what would you do? –”I would probably have gone to college rather than joining the military”

(12:10) – What career objectives are you focusing on right now? – “Landing that first Developer job is a big deal for me”

(12:36) – What’s the number one non-technical skill that has helped you in your career so far? – “Public speaking”


(13:53) – A Parting Piece of Career Advice: Jay says, “Find that thing that you want to do”

(14:05) – Say, “No” to everything else other than your family and beliefs

(14:15) – Become focused on it and obsessed with it

(14:18) – Grasp all the knowledge that you can about it but don’t wait until you have it all to start trying

(14:27) – You can and will always learn more but you have to get started


3 Key Points:     

  1. Get plugged into online and in-person communities so that you can learn from others
  2. There will always be opportunities so be selective about the ones you accept
  3. Find the one thing that you really enjoy doing, it could be the next big thing


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