Why You Should Never Be Afraid To Use Google

GoogleIf you turn to Google to help you solve your tech problems, how much do you really know about your field?

That’s probably a question that most of you have entertained at one point or another. As the old saying goes, the more you know, the more you realize what you don’t know. And with the largest repository of information in human history at your fingertips, you’ve probably already realized – there’s a lot that you don’t know.

One user on the r/sysadmin subreddit expresses the fear quite well, I think:

“I’ve come to crisis in my skills,” he writes. “Do I really know what I’m talking about? Or am I just really really good at Googling and remembering that information. I feel like there’s such a fine line between the two.”

And there is – but the core difference lies in how you use Google, not the fact that you use it. The thing about IT systems is that they’re impossibly complex. No two networks are alike, and no two servers are completely identical.

What that means is that even if you’ve the knowledge – even if you’re a veteran admin – you aren’t always going to know exactly how to fix a problem. And that’s precisely where Google comes in. While an average user might search Google to find out why their system has blue-screened, the chances they’ll actually understand the how and why of it – and more importantly, what they should do to fix it – are extremely low.

You, on the other hand, likely know where to search. You know what to look for, and who to ask. And more importantly, you’ve the capacity to understand your results.

“Having a tool like Google is like having a manual,” says one user. “Anyone can read it, few can understand it, and even fewer know how to apply it.”

“You know what you know,” adds another. “Most non tech-savvy users will Google the exact same thing as you, but follow paths that either don’t make sense or are dead-ends. When I Google, I know what’s going to take me an hour to resolve. [and] I know [how to recognize] a simple solution that will take me three minutes, or if there’s no solution at all.”

So basically, if you’re worried about the fact that you’re regularly turning to Google in the workplace, don’t be. You’ve already got the knowledge and technical expertise to be a sysadmin. Google’s just one more tool in your arsenal – another platform you can use to troubleshoot a problem.

And if, after reading this, you still aren’t convinced, I’ve something else you should take a look at.

Matthew Davis is a technical writer and Linux geek for Future Hosting.

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