Techie. Geek. Just a few of the names I’ve been called at some point in my life. They’re usually followed by the statements like “I wish I was more technical or I just don’t understand all that web stuff”.
However, I think those statements are a cop-out. Yep, you heard me. I’m calling out all of my non-techie friends.
You see, I’m really not that technical. In fact if you get me in a room with other techies, I’m probably the least technical person. Yes, I can write some code and I have fixed an iPhone or two, but I’m really not that technically inclined. It’s just that I’ve learned a few tricks along the way.
Becoming technically proficient isn’t that hard with a little work and patience. In fact, if you work hard at it you’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of doing. Before you know it, you’ll be the one Aunt Ethel is asking to fix her computer at Thanksgiving dinner.
So are you ready to learn? If so, here’s a few things you can do to become a “techie” and amaze all your friends.
Read the Manual
Yes, I know that sounds boring. However, there’s a reason there’s manual, a help section or a FAQ. People a lot smarter than you or I have taken the time to think through all the situations you might find yourself in and what you need to do. Before, you scream at your computer and claim that Apple doesn’t know what they’re doing, read the manual (and also make sure the computer is plugged in).
I ask a lot questions and you should too. Can’t understand Instagram? Grab a teenager (preferably one you know), hand them your phone and ask a lot questions. Yes, you will probably feel like an idiot, but everyone does at some point.
I’ve been blessed with a group of friends who have much deeper understanding on a wide range of technical issues. When I have a web coding question, I ask Amy Haywood or Josh Jenkins. If it’s video, I ask Seth Worley. Digital Publishing? I ask Aaron Linne. I’m not afraid to look stupid in front of them and they know they can call on me when they have questions.
Find friends who know more than you do and build those relationships. They’ll come in handy when you’re trying to set up your blog, save your iPhone photos or capture your kid’s first steps.
Copy Then Remix
About 90% of anything I’ve ever done is probably a copy of someone else. Don’t be afraid to copy something else and make it your own. In fact, by reverse engineering the work that someone else has done you get a better insight about how something works.
Of course, make sure what you’re copying is okay with author. For the web, a lot coders give away their code on Github. You’re free to use it as long you attribute the work back to them and you’re not trying to profit off of the work (however, if you’re unsure please contact the creator of whatever you’re copying).
Do It Wrong
There’s probably a right way to do everything, however rarely is there ever the only way to do something. If you’re being told that your way is the wrong way, but it works for you, then stay with it. I find sometimes that by doing something the wrong way, I learn why the right way is really not that important or in some cases I find out why you should never do things the wrong way.
I don’t like to fail, but I’ve learned that failing is not the end of world. I’ve sent out the wrong tweets, accidentally deleted social media accounts and caught a computer on fire (sorry Aaron). Fail often and fail fast. Every time you fail, it just means that you’re little closer to where you want to be.
So quit telling yourself that you can’t create a blog, build a webpage or fix your Phone. You can do it. Just practice a little patience and read the manual.