In one simple line it’d be ‘follow your heart’. After finishing school I had to choose my next level education. I wasn’t qualified (yet) to go to university so I went to the next best level. Because I wasn’t very sure about many things I followed a number of schoolmates. After a year it became clear that economics wasn’t something I was able to do or liked. So I switched to human resources, because of personal reasons. I sailed through it with ease but never really loved what I was doing. Apart from the time when I was working with computers. But that wasn’t cool or whatever. After a few years I got into IT and then everything connected. And here I am.
So my main advice would be to stop people around you influence you to do things because they are cool. Or because you think you have to prove something to relatives. Pursue the career that makes you smile. You’re never going to succeed in anything if you don’t like what you’re doing. And to be clear, succeeding doesn’t mean getting to the top of your field. Succeeding can be as simple as waking up and doing your job without dread. If you’ve worked your hours and you can look back on them thinking ‘today was a good day’, that’s succeeding.
Would I advise myself to get into data? Not in the nineties when Access was considered a database ;). But fool around with data, storage and hardware is a very good way to learn yourself the basics of performance. Anyone remember disk defrag? Try running something else at the same time.
Our son is 8 and trying out a lot of things (good and bad). He should, it’s what comes with his age. If he wants to try stuff out, I’ll let him within boundaries. So far, his interest in computers ends with Mindcraft and Spotify. But he knows shortcuts and how to work with laptops. Other than that, he’s more oriented to being outside. When the time comes that he wants to know more on what I do, I can only hope to explain it in a coherent and positive way and maybe he’ll get into our line of work.
But only if his heart lies there.