Episode 68 – You Need To Experiment With Your Skillset with Daniel Bryant
Daniel Bryant is a technology specialist with expertise in the design, development, and deployment of enterprise-grade software applications and platforms. Daniel also excels in leading teams that build these systems, and regularly shares his knowledge by presenting at international conferences and writing for well-known technology websites.
In this episode, Phil talks with Daniel Bryant about the benefits of working in a variety of areas across IT and business and how it can help you figure out the work you’re best at and will enjoy the most, as well as just taking in a wide range of new experiences. Daniel also stresses the importance of a strong and supportive community of peers, as well as the need to make sure your foundational learning is a priority.
(1.24) Phil opens things up by asking Daniel to tell a little more about himself and what he does. Daniel explains that he actually started his career as an academic but fell in love with consulting while working on his Ph.D., emphasizing that academia was all theoretical and that he wanted to actually build things.
(4.37) Phil asks for Daniel for a career tip and Daniel recommends trying many different things, explaining how he’s worked on everything from coding to racking and stacking servers as well as on hiring teams and in positions of leadership. He says that all these different things helped him learn to empathize with people in all areas of business and IT as well as helping him discover what kind of work he enjoys most and is best at.
(5.31) Dan admits that while there is a comfortable level of stability in doing just one thing, you’re unlikely to find something you are both good at and enjoy on the first try, and that the different jobs someone does, the roles they play, and the people they meet will have a huge impact on shaping them as a person.
(6.47) Phil follows up by asking Daniel about his worst IT experiences, to which Daniel replies that he thinks his biggest mistakes include not doing due diligence in learning more about a company before signing up to work there, as he has found himself at several companies whose values did not line up with his own. In that same vein, he goes on to say that he has a problem with not thinking ahead and rolling into new positions or jobs without fully considering whether or not it’s the best idea.
(9.50) Phil then switches things up by asking Daniel to talk about what successes he has experienced. Daniel describes joining communities of people with shared interests and career paths and getting involved with them, specifically citing the London Java Community as a group that has provided him with friends, mentors, and career opportunities.
(13.16) When Phil asks Daniel what he finds exciting about the future of IT, he responds that it would be easier for him to list what DOESN’T excite him, since almost everything these days involves computers and technology and there are so many ways to be a part of it. In particular, though, he is excited to see developments in AI and augmenting human abilities with machines.
(15.08) Then, Phil enters the rapid-fire question round, with Daniel explaining that he was first attracted to a career in IT because he loved building things and wanted to help people and that the best career advice he ever received was to find mentors and to be a mentor.
(15.26) Daniel goes on to say that if he had to begin his IT career over again now, that he would nearly the same things that he already does, but with more of a focus on AI, and that his current career objective involves learning more business-specific skills so that he can help organizations solve both tech and business problems. Daniel also tells Phil that public speaking and writing have been the most useful non-tech skills he’s ever learned.
(16.12) Finally, Phil asks Daniel for some parting words of advice, which are to learn the fundamentals. Daniel reiterates that variety and learning lots of different things is important and useful, but advises to not skimp on making sure you know the basics and not to get too distracted by exciting new things to learn that you don’t get the fundamentals down.
(4.08) Phil: “You certainly seem to be quite diverse in the things you do.”
Daniel: “One of my sort of founding values, I guess, is I always enjoy learning and I kind of want to know everything.”
(5.31) Daniel: “There is a sort of stability with doing one thing, but what’re the chances that we actually find something we like and are good at first off?”
(6.33) Daniel: “The world is genuinely a massive place and there’s so many different things we can do. I think having some of those experiences and conversations will help you find your niche.”
(14.48) Daniel: “Technology impacts politics, it impacts the markets, it impacts social stuff we do. What’s not to love?”
(17.21) Daniel: “Learn many different things, talk to many different people, read many different books, but be conscious of ‘are you learning fundamentals or are you learning the latest hotness?’ and try and mix in a bunch of those things.”
Contact Daniel Bryant
Book: “Continuous Delivery In Java” – http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920078777.do