My Advice To New Technology Workers

Hi folks. I’ve been away far too long with no updates. For that, I do apologize. I promise to work harder on giving you more thoughts and ideas from the edge of whatever this is. Today, I thought it might be interesting to show you something I sent to someone who is interested in getting involved with technology. I had sat down with him to discuss what I do, and possibly get him thinking about what he might do. I don’t often find myself being asked for advice, so that was cool. What follows is our brief email exchange (and my advice to him) for better or worse.

from: Interested in Tech <>
to: Kevin Costain <>

Hey, this is Interested in Tech. As you were showing all those neat things on your computer you brought my mind back to really wanting to work with technology, more so the software.

(My mind changed before because Many people have told me that you have to be extremely lucky to land a job in that field) I have looked into the Raspberry Pi and am trying to get a hold of one at the moment.

I was wondering if you know of any free software that can help me start off on learning the basics of computer language and coding. Also, any tips for just starting out and possibly some classes to pick for college to kinda set me ahead of the other guys


from: Kevin Costain <>
to: Interested in Tech<>

Hi, Interested in Tech,

Thanks for getting in touch again. I appreciate it.

I’ve spent a little time thinking about what you’ve asked and wondered what kind of advice I could give you. I think the three biggest pieces of advice I wished I had taken seriously when I was starting:

1. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Do the best thing YOU can do. “getting ahead” of anyone is a myth. You will always be simultaneously ahead and behind of others.

2. Go where the work is. Luck is not required to simply learn what’s happening and be involved in it.

3. Don’t worry about luck. It’s out of your control.

So, beyond that.. there are other things. Specific things. Stuff like taking your presentation to heart (Ditch the Gmail address, create a domain, spell your name right, be better at writing – it counts). Learning to better communicate will serve you very well in the future when many others will probably have focused on coding. Everything counts; the way you speak, the way you write, the way you look, the way you choose what you choose. Commit to being well-rounded.

Coding will require you make a choice and commit to a language. How you decide whether C++ or Pascal or something else is up to you, but none is better than the other. Commit to learning it and understanding it.

Then, look around for the development tools. There are so many that I’ll never get to them all , but take initiative to find one you like (Google is your friend) and commit to working with it. For C++ you have something like Codelite and for Pascal you have something like Lazarus (I use this). For practically every language there is some sort of free option to develop with.

For the Pi – so many things out there such as Instructables, but you’ll probably be running some version of lightweight Linux on your Pi. Of course, lots of that is right on the Pi website.

Notice I’ve mentioned one word often: commit. In this world flooded with information, that will probably the single most valuable thing you can do. No choice will be perfect, but if you start and finish an idea, you will be stronger for it.

Just explore, have fun.. get better at what you do every single day. But, seriously, ditch the goofy Gmail address :)

Have a good one,

P.S. – I realize, after the fact, that I didn’t offer any guidance on what classes to take in College. I corrected that error in a subsequent email to him.