07.04.2022, last updated 08.04.2022 - Jeremy T. Bouse - ~4 Minutes
Set the stage
I am certain I am not alone in learning both within my professional life as in my personal. I found academic pursuit was not for me and got into the workforce following my passions. Those passions were seen by older generations like my grandparents as “Playing on the computer” and questioning where spending all that time on the computer would get me. Well look grandma at where I have gone all these years later!
I always had my sandbox environment, but at the same time while holding down a full-time job I would have consulting clients on the side. Many of these client engagements allowed me to expand my knowledge as unique situations required me to learn new skills to stay on top or just to complete a project. In many of these situations I was given great latitude in the design with only an expected scope of requirements to be delivered. In fact, much of my early cloud adoption came through consulting work starting around 2008, while it did not really become a part of my full-time employment until much later starting around 2016. At that point my full-time employers were able to reap the experience and knowledge that had come at the expense of my clients. I found myself with a wealth of skills that suddenly became valuable to the new projects as companies started to make that transition to the cloud.
It is all in what you know
Throughout my career, like many I assume, I tried to learn from my peers and colleagues just as much as I tried to share and pass on my experience. Whether that was learned through collaboration with a colleague on a project that knew something I did not or discussions with peers at user groups or even from vendors through events or company engagements. While an academic education did not work for me, it did not mean I was not constantly in a constant state of learning in my mind. Everything I did was meant to learn and grow. So how does this relate to my personal environment?
My personal environment changed over the years. At the height of it I actually had a hybrid multi-cloud environment but more recently everything has moved completely into the cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) primarily but also other cloud environments in minor levels. As well over the years the manner in which I maintained my environment has grown right along with my knowledge. When I first started out in AWS there was not a lot of the features we have today to work with. A lot of it was done manually by and, earlier advancements started with RightScript user data. Eventually I later made use of Puppet, SaltStack, CloudFormation and more recently Terraform and Ansible. The changes came as my knowledge and experience with the technologies grew.
Why do I despise that phrase
So that all comes down to questioning why does saying it is only my personal environment bring up such a disdain and misunderstanding from me. Just because it is a personal environment, is it really that hard to believe that I would not manage or treat it as I would any professional environment I would work within. I can not count how many times a proof of concept project I started at home later became something that I would make use of in my professional career. As professional we all know that our time is limited and worth something, so whether spending it on a personal endeavor or professional it is worth spending the time to do things the right way. Setting aside of course the whole concept of taking pride in what you do. I enjoy what I do for a living so much I spend loads of my freetime doing the very same thing for my own personal projects. It is how I learn so why not try to learn it the best way.
I enjoy that I can tear down and rebuild my entire environment with a simple command because I have designed it all following infrastructure as code and configuration as code practices just as I would do for my employers. It has been a grand adventure and I am not done yet! It is how I learn and for as long as I am able that is precisely what I intend to do, and my personal environment is where it all starts but not always where it ends.
So who else treats their personal environment like it were a professional one? I can not be the only one!