One of the famous quotes of Socrates that drives me all the time is: "Know Thyself". Around the world there are lots of things which might be in your interest on not. Knowing yourself doesn't only mean to find your choices, it also includes the facts, which don't belong to your choice as well as!
Knowing what I don't know
Well, so I need to know myself. As a technical guy, how do I know where I can be the best fit or where I can be comfortable to explore my ideas to create new but necessary things? One of our favorite poets, Rabindranath Thakur told "It's very natural to be ignorant about something. But it often happens that, we don't know what we don't know!". In this very dynamic era of technical world, it is very much true. Technology is changing very frequently, so as professionals, always we need to find out best fits among all of the changes. To knowing about "what I don't know" was my first step to go forward. Of course, community contents, such as forums, articles, blogs, newsgroups was a great resource for me in that case, by getting informed what the experts and professionals are thinking about the latest software releases and development practices. Going thru among those, I got the basic idea about what I don't really know!
Learning in-depth where I can be a best fit
After experimenting and picking my choices, the next phase starts! I need to learn those in more detail. One of my most favorite quote about IT professionals is "To fit with current tech trend, we need to know something about everything and we need to know everything about something!". In real tech world, the term "everything" can't be limited within a specific boundary. So it's better to consider the term, "everything" is "as much as possible".
Now the third phase to explore as a good professional, appears. Use what you have learned in your projects/works. But apart from simply putting the learned things should not be the "only" concern for a developer. While implementing any external content that I just learned, I tried to keep my eyes open to examine it's affect in the production environment.
Turning to personal contribution over the contents
Either comparing with other alternative solutions or analyzing the solution with respect to other dependencies, I often got some new ideas, thoughts, techniques to modify the used solution for the current project or for the future project with different context. This process not only makes me intimate with the contents in more details, but also opens several doors to provide the best solution in appropriate context. Apart from my personal usage, these alternative or better solutions can also be a valuable resource to my community friends, along with providing them a way to think more about it!
The four phases, which I just mentioned are my usual way to expand my knowledge (and thus myself) in most comfortable scenario. Thanks God, technology is changing very frequently, and thus always I can discover myself in an infinite loop!
My MVP 2007 Award
Once upon a time, I was a freelance newspaper journalist. I first used PC when I was in the second semester in my Bachelor in Computer Science degree! As usually, I was a bit afraid, whether i will be able to fit in this "unknown" area. The continuous process to knowing me opened doors for me to find myself to be fitted here. Besides my reference books, my community friends were a great resource for me.
Passing previous 7 years was a great adventure for me! Getting matured with the community contents and tutorial stuffs, one day I found that, besides getting, I can put my contents to my community friends as well as. The most interesting thing I felt, that, besides getting contents from the community, there is a big "joy" to share own contents in return.
Microsoft awarded me first time as a MVP "Most Valuable Professional" in "Visual ASP.NET" category for 2007, with respect to my community contributions over the last year 2006. My MVP profile can be seen here.
Of course it was a big surprise for me to find myself in an expert community. Apart from other benefits, I feel the best thing, to get a broader scope to get in touch with the Tech gurus. Thanks to Microsoft to provide me a new path to go forward with more perfection!