Commentary: Jack Wallen wants to hear your tech-centric review of a year that has done its best to take us down.
You may see questions like this posed at the end of a calendar year–year in reviews, best moments in tech for X… you know the drill. But 2020 has been a special sort of year. It’s been the year of the coronavirus pandemic, which has profoundly affected everyone; it isolated us and had us scrambling to deploy drastic changes to our systems and architecture, so people could continue being productive. We’ve retooled, rethought, recompiled, rebuilt. Nothing is the same as it was at the beginning of the year, and nothing may ever be the same.
SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)
So one day, on my personal Facebook page, I posted the question: If you had to review the year 2020, what would your review say?
I’m used to getting feedback on my posts, but this one received quite a bit of attention. Reviews for the year poured in–everything from satire to serious grievances against the Time Lords for body-checking humanity against the rail of life. In the end, a single conclusion was fairly easy to draw: No one was happy with how 2020 has unfolded so far. We’re seven months in, and everyone just wants this year to be over.
So I thought it might be an interesting exercise to ask the TechRepublic audience to do the same, with a simple twist. That twist is: If you had to review the year 2020 in tech, what would your review say?
My review might look something like this: 2020: Linux finally gets a serious chance on the desktop, only to be overshadowed by a pandemic.
Or maybe: 2020: I came for the Kubernetes, I went home with a mask.
What about: 2020: Who needs a data center when I have Google Drive?
Consider: 2020: It took four months of downtime to make me realize how much I loved working in IT.
Or the contrary: 2020: Four months has taught me I really enjoy doing nothing.
Think about this: 2020: How am I ever going to be able work in anything but pajamas again?
Why 2020 is the year of Zoom
Most likely, many of you will pay homage to Zoom or similar tech. After all, had it not been for video conferencing, we’d have been hard-pressed to be productive–or so upper management would think.
Truth be told, we all know meetings are just a way for upper management to pat themselves on the back and make everyone else feel like their only value lies in how productive they can be.
Or maybe not.
SEE: The tech pro’s guide to video conferencing (TechRepublic download)
Many of us are missing our coworkers. We have stayed away from the work environment for weeks or months, only to realize the relationships we developed at work are far more important to us than we’d thought. So, those teleconference meetings aren’t just a means for management to say, “See how I can still control you! Muhaha.” You are able to see the faces of those you’ve worked alongside with for years. You’ve deployed servers, coded, spent hours troubleshooting, configured, and talked tech with them, and you might have found (after hanging out in your best loungewear) that you miss it–and them.
So maybe your review might be akin to: 2020: The year I stopped taking normalcy for granted.
Or: 2020: Why did you make me realize I actually like the people at work?
What about: 2020: I love my cats, but only my work besties think I’m funny.
Is this you?: 2020: Must. Have. Social. Interaction.
How the tech industry is forever changed
There are only five months left in 2020, and even though it still looks grim out there, we’ve all had plenty of time to grow accustomed to this new norm. That still doesn’t make it easy. When the quarantines and restrictions are lifted, the tech industry will still be forever changed. There will be larger numbers of employees who are permanently working from home in this new world order. That means every aspect of your IT job will change.
You might be going into a shell of a company, wherein you and a handful of others are the only ones on premise while, everyone else works from home.
Imagine that Twilight Zone episode: You find yourself wandering the halls of the office alone, knowing hundreds of workers are out there, being productive, while you are tasked with keeping the remote machines humming along–alone. Just you and teraflops of data.
And maybe, just maybe, that’s your review of 2020: “I alone have become the last bastion of hope for a company struggling under the weight of a year that hated humanity.”
What do you think, TechRepublic faithful? Care to share your review of 2020 in tech thus far? You’re sitting on the couch in your pajamas, laptop at the ready, cat staring at you as though you stood in the way of truest enlightenment–go ahead and review this year.