What I Bring To The Table:
My name is Donald P (DP) Harshman. This is the only Page on my site that is about me (the hardest page or post to write by the way). I hope that you will find it of interest and that it will provide a framework behind “Why this site?”.
What I bring to the table is experience, very broad engineering and in-depth IT experience.
What I bring to the table is a wealth of practical IT knowledge that can come only from:
- working in a wide range of industries
- while holding a variety of technical, consulting, and managerial positions
- which were related to designing building implementing and supporting hundreds of custom and third party vertical and enterprise-wide systems
- across an array of platforms
- using a constantly changing collection of development tools and environments
- on top of a broad sampling of database servers
- over an assortment of infrastructures
- for an extensive list of business channels (e.g. Executive, Legal, Finance, HR, Inventory Management, Retail and POS, etc.)
- by being a member of and by building cracker-jack, top-flight professional teams
- by working closely with everyone from front-line staff to C-Level executives and
- by paying attention and asking questions
It is not possible to gain this level of experience from books or classes or lab work. No college/university degrees in the world can replace it.
I have delved deeply into virtually all aspects of and nearly every “dark and dusty” corner of IT.
I have been on and driven screamingly successful projects and survived one or two absolutely abysmal (horrible) ones; otherwise known as “projects from hell”.
I faltered here and there in the early stages of my management career, but I learned to build and manage professional, highly proficient and efficient, IT teams, then groups and then departments.
I have worked with some of the finest IT executives one could hope to ever report to, and I too have suffered under utterly in-competent, un-knowing and un-caring executives who should never have been within a 1,000 miles of IT.
On a personal level I’ve had the fun of hiring “the right person”, or the “exact right consultant”, who then became a stellar asset to one of my teams. And, sadly, I’ve also had to deal with team members’ tragedies, major illnesses, and (rarely) terminations; that part of Life which often just breaks your heart.
In short, what I bring to the table is a great deal of “been there and done that”.
The easiest and fastest way that I can convey some of my history in IT is graphically:
A More Detailed History:
I have been in IT for more than 20 years.
I started out with … well, my first true, in-depth, experience began with mini-computers (how many of you remember those?). Basic was my first programming language, followed by COBOL, not to fail to mention SQL. But, as times and technologies changed I too changed my skill-sets, keeping up with every “latest and greatest” cutting edge technology I could get my hands on — a long list. But tools are just a part of the equation.
I have personally been involved with the construction of well over 100 systems. By involved with I mean not “just as a manager” but intimately “dirt under the fingernails” involved.
I have: initiated, sold, planned, gathered requirements for, designed, built, documented, tested, installed, trained users on, baby-sat new releases late into the night for, and then supported everyone one of them … personally. Most were not done all by myself (those are rare), but my hands were as greasy, my fingers were as tired and my eyes were as red as everyone else who was involved. And something like 98% were truly successful.
There is nothing theoretical about my IT background. It is all hands-on from the ground up. I have been the brand new junior programmer who couldn’t code his way out of a throw-away plastic bag, and I have been The Director … and all positions in between.
I have personally designed and built more databases, more applications, more application interfaces and more reports than I can easily recall.
I have spent days on end, virtually without sleep (taking short naps under my table or desk when I had to), writing code and drinking coffee in order to meet a deadline.
I have pulled and connected my share of electrical wire and computer cable, hand crimping every connector.
I have built network, file and database servers from the chassis up and then administered them.
I have been part of numerous beta tests of vendor software packages and operating systems.
I have been intimately involved in writing RFPs and RFQs and hammering out contracts with vendors and customers (I’ve been on both sides of that street).
I have been on and helped forge some of the very best development teams in the world.
I have … well, you get the idea.
In short, I learned how to successfully design and build complete systems. I next learned how to successfully manage individuals, then how to build and manage teams of most any size including entire departments.
I didn’t do all of this by rote, by following “The Book”. There was no Book, not really. But, there were IT and engineering professionals around who knew what they were doing, based on hard won experience, so I learned from them.
Once I had earned my stripes, so to speak, I was then able to create new concepts, new approaches and new forward-thinking ideas that were of long term value and benefit to others and to companies.
Before I “got into IT”, I studied and did architectural and engineering design, planning and construction. With that background it was easy for me to recognize that IT was, and is, an engineering discipline. Also. And. That it needs to be treated and addressed from that point of view for one, for anyone, to be truly successful in IT.
Thank You For Visiting:
I hope you enjoy this site and the real world cases, advices and opinions on it. I hope you find information that is of value to you. I also hope you come back regularly and subscribe to upcoming posts (and comments if you wish).
Speaking of which, feel free to leave comments on what you read, though you must register with a valid e-mail address before you can do so. You won’t hurt my feelings if you disagree (in a professional manner) with what I have to say. After all, there is always more to learn in IT (and elsewhere). And that is part of the purpose of this site, to bring the subject of IT Fundamentals alive once again.
In return, I simply ask that you abide by my “Rules Of The Road”, as well as my copyright and trademark rights as noted on the “Copyright” page.
Site Contents Disclaimer:
What is contained here-in, in my Posts and Pages, is my opinion. It is based on my experiences, my observations, my sense of what is right and wrong and what works and what doesn’t.
This site is intended for informational and educational purposes. I am not, however, responsible for how you perceive, react to or use this information. I also need to add that it does not necessarily represent the opinions of my site host, anyone providing software for this site, anyone referenced on this site, or any future advertisers (should I decide to invite any).
I hope that you will study this information, evaluate it, and apply it, if you choose to, in a responsible way that makes sense to you. Please. Don’t just take my word for it. Test drive it yourself. After all: “Your mileage may vary”.
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Where I have provided technical “how to” documentation it is based on my development environment, my host server environment, the versions of software components in use at the time, and my understanding of them. While I have spent a good deal of time researching, implementing and testing and have done my best to document my results accurately, there are no guarantees, implied or otherwise and I can assume no liability of any kind for how you put this information to use.
Why? Because, all of the software elements I describe as using, your hardware and software environment, your host site’s hardware and software environment, and the browsers themselves are subject to constant updates and revision.
Finally, any originating sites for the software elements I’ve described in my TechNotes have precedence over my instructions, tips and suggestions, and their advice and instructions should be consulted and followed where there is an issue.