Do you know how ANYTHING works?

I’m a software engineer. I finished top of my class and today I work at the R&D department of a multi-billion company where I was headhunted.

My coworkers think I’m a specialist at everything they don’t know how to do. Why? Because I never say, I cannot do it. I always respond, let me have a look. The only thing I’m a specialist at is abusing Google. When Einstein said, don’t memorize stuff you can look up, I literally took it to heart.

I see, understand and learn new patterns very fast, but there is SO MUCH knowledge that I need to keep updated with, if I’m to consider myself a true professional. The thought of HOW MUCH there is overwhelms me to the point where I get paranoid about my future job security. In addition, by the time I get to scratch the surface of anything new, not only do I find out HOW MUCH hides beneath the surface, but new technologies are introduced deprecating whatever I’m trying to learn - forcing me to move on none the wiser.

Let us take forty-two steps back. I don’t even AT ALL understand how the most simple of all applications work. Let us take a “hello world” console program as an example. I can write code. I can compile code. I know when I want to execute my program, the O/S will load it into the RAM where it will be accessed by the CPU. How the CPU executes my program (machine code) and how I end up with pixels changing on my LCD monitor to display “Hello World” in plain text is as much magic to me as it is was to my grandfather (rest in peace). I don’t even know how LCD works come to think of it…

What I’m trying to say is - I’m so clueless of how stuff works that if I travelled back 10,000 years, I would not be able to make any applications. I would need a computer… Yes I know what a motherboard is, what a CPU is, what BUS is, etc. etc., but I’m not even able to make a simple input device, so how will I build a computer with lots of apps for our dear caveman? I can’t even make a fire without a flame thrower. In truth, I’m as clueless as the caveman (probably more; the caveman can make a fire at the very least).

So this begs the question, what can I do about feeling so clueless? I feel my only real option is to just stop caring, and realize it cannot be any different. If it was different, we wouldn’t depend on each other to get stuff done. Amazon would not need to hire 100.000 people to be able to run a “simple service where users can purchase stuff”.

Goddamnit. Writing and reading this, finally makes me at peace with being clueless.

/r/AskReddit Thread