Recently, in the process of promoting Will Code for Green, our killer Live Search API contest that lets you use whatever technology stack you desire to write your Web app, I dug deep and went back to one of my old teachers Tim Maher from http://www.consultix-inc.com who is a Perl guru around these parts of the Northwest. His educational company essentially gets people ready for system administration gigs using some variety of Unix.
Even after more than a decade having passed since I took his class, Tim responded pretty quickly. He kindly said he'd pass the contest along and that he remembered me and was glad I found a tech job I liked.
Which consideirng I'm part of the "Evil Empire" to some Open Source folks, I felt was very gracious and also why I'm blogging about Tim here.
Tim is one of the better technical teachers I've run into in the course of my nefarious tech career and it's because when I took his courses, they iterated each time they were taught. The feedback from one class drove a better experience for the next. When I went, the courses on Unix had been honed to concentrate on things that you needed immediately to get oriented. It had smooth building blocks. Things progressed fast enough that your head stopped just short of exploding, and you could leave his classes and feel like at least some tasks, you could do at your job right away.
What Tim does in his classroom is a great model for certain kinds of software evolution (Agile anyone?), or in my current line of work, honing your presence in social media. Keep listening, keep honing, and keep it central to what your passion is.
I outgrew my passion for Unix/Linux (when it became readily apparent I don't have the temperament to be a system admin - of any stripe) and my ability to explain Unix concepts faded with my memory of where everything was in the filesystem outside of dev/null . I'd be a sucky OSCON evangelist. But Tim lives in this stuff, and he loves it, and I remembered him and his company al this time because he had stayed central to his calling.
There's a complete credibility gap in me recommending his classes - I did not ultimately go into Unix system administration you may have noticed. Also, I'm essentially a PR shill for Microsoft, and I truly think Win7 is sweet, and writing C# games for the Xbox is cool, and Silverlight is da bomb, so I'm not believable as testimony. You have to talk to other people who took him recently and actually remember any of the curriculum to get the detailed goods. :)
But over a decade later, who Tim is as a teacher, his "personal brand" if you will ( I hate that term) is what stands out over time. So it brings out the question - how will *you* be remembered?
Live it vivid!