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The Endless Wonder of THWACKcamp

What I love most about working in technology is the continual discovery. It doesn’t matter the implied scale of the discovery because it’s all about the ripples from that discovery. Learning a new software package requires you to learn a new scripting language, which requires you to become familiar with a new markup format, which in turn is injected into an ETL process, which informs a LOB program, and on and on. The small incremental steps each of us makes contribute to our own skillsets and drive our companies forward.

The IT Job—Professional Student

If we’re honest with ourselves, all technologists should be professional students. IT professionals who decide to learn new things and explore the fringes of their existing infrastructure are the ones who excel in their roles. Sometimes “good enough” is only good enough for today. Most likely, we’ll look at it again in some time and decide we can do better. This is a natural extension of how people learn. Given a certain set of information, we made decisions. Now with a little more hindsight, we can make a better or more informed decision. In short, we need to look back to drive forward.

Learning from Others

Most of the technology people I speak with get inspiration for projects or endeavors from watching and speaking with other professionals. There’s an immediate kinship with people who have similar roles, deal with similar organizational blockers, and must find clever fixes for challenging problems. Regardless of your title in IT, your true job is to make sure your end users can access the services they need to keep your company moving forward. Here at SolarWinds, we want to continue to foster your learning by providing you the information, skills, and tips to help you grow your career. Your career trajectory is completely up to you. If you want to explore a new discipline, go ahead. You’re the one in the driver’s seat.

Importance of Community

I frequently say THWACK® is for the community members, by the community members, and SolarWinds is just the company paying to keep the lights on. That’s true of most of our outreach—be it SolarWinds Lab, the SolarWinds Academy, THWACK Tuesday Tips, or THWACKcamp. All of those, and more, are there because we want you to be successful. This year marks my sixth year helping with THWACKcamp and each year, I learn something new which helps me become a better technologist. I’ve learned from our guests, I’ve learned from partners, and I’ve learned from my fellow presenters, but most of all, I’ve learned from the community. Being able to interact with everyone in real-time during the event is a highlight. I’ve learned things ranging from a whole new technology stack to how to better interact with my management and peers. Each insight brings better understanding and more cooperation to your IT organization. Every session offers me another avenue to explore. And this has happened since THWACKcamp began. Each year, we make new discoveries thanks to you, and I want to take you on our adventures with us. Taking the road less travelled can be intimidating, but we’ll be your guides. There’s a very real chance that this year, you’ll experience endless wonder, like I have each year before. Won’t you do me the honor of being my guest for THWACKcamp 2020? Come with an open mind and I guarantee you’ll leave with new insights.
Kevin M. Sparenberg
Kevin's first computer was the family TI-99/4A. He's learned computing the best way possible: by fixing his own broken machines. He was a SolarWinds customer…
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