Have you been there? It’s frustrating, as you can have all the drive and desire, but if you lack the compass to point you in the right direction, well, you go everywhere and nowhere at the same time. With networking, my compass reads true.

For programming? I’ve learned a lot over the years with my forays into iRules and iControl API and tmsh scripting. Always a means to an end. I have a need, and I meet it. I have a side project I’m working on for my son’s robotics team. Full disclosure: I’m not a web developer. I have knowledge in, around, and about the process and I can deliver and secure it well through an infrastructure I’d be happy to design, but I haven’t sat down and really DONE it. And so I don’t know what I don’t know in a lot of areas. I don’t know how to properly design a database schema. I don’t know how to properly establish MVC, or file layout, and deployment strategies. And based upon all the tutorials I’ve read and compared, there is no established “RIGHT” way to do it, which adds to the intimidation for beginners. I asked a question on Stack complete with lots of details and I was smacked down. I clarified my question, was helped by said overlord, and got enough of an answer to help myself and then I posted my own solution.

But you know what? That’s ok. Because there are some great communities of support out there. Stack is a great community with a very diverse breadth of technologists, though sometimes I think their overlords are more interested in embarrassing you for what you don’t know rather than mentoring you into another helpful member of the community.

But DevCentral? DevCentral has always been a community of encouragement and insight. When I was just learning to write iRules, it was amazing that the guys working on the core development of the product were coming along side me to orient my path and help. When DevCentral became a team instead of just a project under some guy’s desk (looking at you, Joe!) I got to interact with these guys. Their love not only for the technology but also for sharing it was obvious and infectious. When I got the opportunity to join the team, I jumped. And I’m glad I did. Because 7 years later, this is STILL a community that seeks to encourage and come alongside users new or experienced and help them. Not just to get an answer to a question, though that’s important. But to engage and inspire. To showcase the art of possible, even when support looks at us like we’re crazy for suggesting it.

So what don’t you know? Will you let your guard down this year, admit where you have weaknesses, so a team of community members can surround you and turn those weaknesses into strengths? I plan to. Join me here on DevCentral, on Stack, on Cisco, and any myriad of sites that exist out there. You won’t be sorry, and I’ll be happy to build something great with you in this new year.