Capacitor (noun)
Two weeks ago, I passed a grueling test. I work as an Electrical Engineer developing electronics, and, by definition, I do all the usual activities associated with this profession. Unfortunately, this test was designed for IT (computer network) technicians with three or more years of experience. The topics focused on IT basics, network security, system attacks, and computer organizations. Of course, I have no IT training and limited computer networking experience. However, because my work is a government contractor, all employees with computer access needed to pass this test.
The material was super difficult, and I struggled for three solid weeks to grasp the basic concepts. A big part of the studying was learning unfamiliar vocabulary. The hardest part was IT specific acronyms. As I studied, I realized there was more to IT terms than basic definitions.
Let me explain why by taking a dive into my world. In electronics, we use a device called a capacitor. Here is the ten-page Wikipedia article which does a so-so job of describing the topic:
The article discusses capacitor history, function, math, and applications. However, I have been working with capacitors for many years, and I know far more about the topic than the information presented. I will further say that reading this page will give electronic beginners a false sense of security. For example, there are many manufactures, and each has multiple product lines. As a result, I could spend over 20 minutes discussing that single aspect with no preparation. Keep in mind that this aspect is not even a technical topic, but it is critical to understand the manufacturing process, people who sell these components, inventory, quality, limitations, price, and specific characters not listed in the datasheets. The Wikipedia entry falls so short in this area, it is laughable.
I am sure a doctor could also spend hours describing scalpels. To me, they are “body knives.” Probably one type? Right? Of course not. They are sophisticated instruments made by many manufactures to accomplish many tasks, and they have an extensive history spanning thousands of years. I am sure a doctor could also spend 20 minutes discussing scalpel manufactures.
All areas of technology, art, science… have specific technical terms with detailed meaning. Simply reading the Wikipedia page will not turn a person into an expert. A person requires years to master their field of interest.
Yet, somehow, I needed to pass the test without years of experience. So, I studied like mad and passed with a minimum margin. The bad news is that I gammed the test and I will have to take it in three years. What does gamming mean? It means that I only learned the narrow test topics. I have no actual network security knowledge. Yet, I have the certificate, proving I have extensive security knowledge. What a sham!
There is a silver lining. I learned some new topics. But I now have a better understanding of how critical technical words are. What about the term blog?

You’re the best -Bill
December 08, 2021
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