We make technology based business decisions everyday. We do it when we choose to download and use an app. We do it at our jobs, our meetings, our presentations. Depending on who you are and what you do, the degree of how much you will need to understand technology will vary. The following tips should be useful for building a better understanding of technology:
Gather the basics
This may be different for different people, but you have to start somewhere. Figure out what you need to know in order to stay relevant in your focus. You can start with a word or phrase, but often this means researching related or base concepts that you will need in order to get a full picture. Some base concepts include: APIs, Cloud Computing, Mobile app development. Wikipedia has turned into an amazing resource for learning more about these.
For software engineers it's more along the lines of: data structures, programming languages, algorithms, computer organization, and environment testing. Try searching github, medium, lecture notes or videos from universities to get a head start on this.
Navigate the tech lingo, aka the 'slang'
Yes, we all have to do it: Get on a device to look up a term that gets thrown across the room in a tech conversation. It's impossible to avoid this. Everyday, there's a new framework, language, utility, device... the list goes on and on.
Deciphering tech lingo can be mission, it can be overwhelming, discouraging and downright difficult sometimes. Know that no one is more or less intelligent because of a term. Be able to distinguish buzzwords from relevant terms. (More on this soon) and do try to fill in tech knowledge gaps using what you discover during your Google searches.
Be aware of your tools
Every business needs innovation to keep afloat.
If you have a tech based idea make sure that you are leveraging the best tools whenever you can. Here are a couple examples:
Say Devops has got you down. You have different testing and development environments or you're finding your DevOps team has a lot to do in the way of setting up infrastructure. Containerization or automation may be able to help. Check out Kubernetes and RedHat services.
Mobile app development, maybe you're experimenting, fully developing, or just watching someone else working. Statistically most software engineers will develop code for a web or mobile application. It is not surprising then, that there are many applications, frameworks and bootstraps to boost the development time of your product. Check out React-Native, Xcode (for mac) and Android Studio for android.
For more help on finding useful tools for your business, understand your business' place within the tech sphere.
What specific technologies does your business need to leverage? (Is it AI, cybersecurity, electronics?)
And where does your business lie within the technology space? There are three tiers to this in my opinion:
1. Your business is tech: meaning you develop software or tech as a product, 2. Your business uses tech, and 3. Your business is supporting tech: Meaning you offer services that support tech businesses category 1 (think of Amazon's AWS platform, or even foundries).
Attending conferences, talks, and workshops are a great way to discover and learn more about emerging technologies as well as for keeping a competitive eye on a specific industry or field.
Thanks for reading my post. I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments.
Later in 2018, I will be graduating with a computer engineering degree and joining the tech community in contributing knowledge and useful software utilities to various parts of the world. I think today it's hard to get around not knowing the applications and uses of technology.
If you are interested in learning more tech concepts and lingo check out the links below:
For software engineers: https://github.com/cassidoo/getting-a-gig#your-skills
Easy to understand technical videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/daveXbang
Various UMD and Georgia Tech videos on Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/