To often it is believed, with tongue in cheek, that everyone in the field of technology relating to web hosting simply popped out of the chute, jumped off the table and said to the doctor, “which way to the nearest data center?”
This could not be further from the truth. Web hosting and technology by nature is capable of creating a reality distortion field around itself and can appear to be a seemingly insurmountable peak to those considering entering this field.
True, it can be a daunting task to learn a field full of jargon and bizarre sounding acronyms with a language better described as “geekspeak,” which was an issue Gordon Moore of Intel considered to be a concern for society and technology that would lead to a whole lot of engineers and then well… basically, everyone else.
This is evident in the web hosting business itself with its myriad of hardware, operating system software, control panels, carriers, networking protocols etc., that can sound like the stuff of science fiction to someone who has not worked with them in depth. It is a business very different from the demands of let’s say, acting as a computer technician maintaining home and small business systems.
It has similarities but hosting is the equivalent of flying a jet plane compared to a Cessna. A lot more can go wrong, and when it does nerves of steel are required. It might be accurate to say, Hosting is truly a harsh mistress. Now with all this gloom and doom terror talk, lets say somewhere in your mind you still have the desire to enter this business.
The question is where do you start? The good news is your friend the Internet is there for you. The strange thing about hosting though is that there are not as many, in terms of what you can say, “definitive guides” to the craft, meaning in book form, be it electronic or print. Some could argue this point of course as all of the technologies relating to individual parts of this field are available for reading, but there are not that many start to finish in-depth guides that other fields of technology might have.
This is of course made up for in gobs and gobs of online material from articles, to forums, to help sections to get you started. Still though with all this you might find yourself still missing something. This is where you turn to…you guessed it. A mentor. Now with the stage set, it is time to take a look at what a mentor is with a great example of how much they can help guide you along the path.
In the sport of basketball, Phil Jackson, the coach of such powerhouse teams as the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers always credited Red Holzman as his long time inspiration for his illustrious career.
He quoted Red Holzman as saying to him that coaching isn’t rocket science. Meaning Red dispelled the myths and gave a clear picture for the young Jackson of what would be needed for him to coach one day since at the time Phil was a player for the New York Knicks, and Holzman, as his mentor would lead him to coaching as Jackson pointed out many times.
It wasn’t that Red told Jackson what to do, but instead he acted as a sounding board, showing him the ins and outs, things he might not see or realize that where happening on the basketball court. He showed him how to motivate and inspire players and how to break down the complexities of the sport into its basic pieces.
Very much like breaking down the complex technology surrounding hosting into the little bits that make it work. In this, a mentor fills in all the gaps and takes all the disconnected pieces and makes them into a whole for the student. It can be seen as the master, student relationship like “Grasshopper” in the Kung Fu tv series learning from his master.
This is visible everywhere and especially in programs such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, where men and women donate their time to mentor young people on the road of their lives to share knowledge with them that they might not be exposed to in their daily lives. This allows them to grow and flourish.
So even if you, let’s say for example, were to know all there is to know in hosting from the previously mentioned pool of knowledge from hardware, software, and networking, it can still be a mentor that helps put it all together, an experienced voice who reminds you that all you know and all your intelligence always needs to be tempered by wise experience and knowledge.
You would truly be hard pressed to find one person in the hosting industry at any level who did not have someone who showed them the ropes, acted as a coach and helped guide them on their path to success in the thorny world of technology so that the once tall mountain became no more then a series of steps to be taken to get to it’s peak. To find a mentor is not difficult. The old saying here applies.
“When the student is ready the master will show up.” No, this isn’t some way out floating lotus in a pond thing, but meaning go seek someone out. Ask questions. Ask for advice. Get involved. People who have learned and have great experience are usually receptive to share what they have learned with others since more often then not, the same was done with them and that is never to far from their minds.
Everyone started somewhere and that is something to consider, so don’t be afraid to approach someone and ask for help and guidance in the hosting field. The value and knowledge can be more then a thousand books of information because as Red Holzman would say “Its not rocket science.” 😉 Happy Hosting!