KillerSites Blog

Nerds – you can’t know it all.

June 21, 2008

I’ve been a professional nerd for many years now, and over that time I’ve learned to use many different technologies including 8-9 programming languages, a few operating systems and a whole bunch of frameworks, database programs etc …

… The sad truth

Recently, I was challenged with some tech problem, and to be honest about it, I forgot the specific steps to solve it!!


This always bothers me – when you forget how to do something you once knew so well.

I am now resigned to the fact that I’ve probably forgotten more than I now remember. I guess there is only so much room in your brain ..?

You can’t know it all

This brings me to my larger point: as a professional nerd, it is not realistic to think you will learn everything that is out there. There is simply too much and you have to pick your battles.

That said, that doesn’t mean you should learn one or two things and then just rest on your laurels. No, you have to keep learning otherwise you will fall behind and you won’t stay competitive.

Focus on your specialty

It is wise to decide where you want to go in your nerd career, and then focus in that area.

For instance, if you want to be a web designer (I’m talking design centric stuff) you should learn all that you can about the front-end of web design:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Basic design principles
  • A touch of PHP … just a touch!
  • Javascript
  • Maybe some Flash

You probably shouldn’t be so concerned about learning how to set up Apache or how to configure a Linux server. These skills may come in handy once in a while, but these really are the skills that system administrators should worry about.

Play to your strengths

Just because you like something, or are attracted to it, it doesn’t mean you will be any good at it!

… Although sometimes, what you like is often what you will be good at.

What works out for me, is to forget about the things I suck at and instead, concentrate on my talents.

I (for example) am at best a moderate designer. Sure, I can build a professional looking website, but it ain’t going to win any awards! Instead, I rely on the skills of the truly talented web designers (using web templates or simply hire them) and then concentrate on those things that I can do pretty well.

Thanks for reading,

Stefan Mischook