31 Oct 18

Digital “Word of mouth”

Word of mouth or viva voce, is the passing of information from person to person by oral communication, which could be as simple as telling someone the directions to some place.

Imagine you need to reach a place that you know to have something you need, but you don’t know how to get there. How do you get there? You ask someone for directions, so they can point you in the right direction.

In the same context, a new reality emerges, the “Pointers Engineers”, the new generation of IT Engineers that rely on digital word of mouth, or in a use case, pointers.

In Computer Science, a pointer is a programming language object that stores the memory address of another value located in computer memory. A pointer references a location in memory, and obtaining the value stored at that location is known as dereferencing the pointer. As an analogy, a page number in a book's index could be considered a pointer to the corresponding page; dereferencing such a pointer would be done by flipping to the page with the given page number and reading the text found on that page.
(In https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pointer_(computer_programming)

Using pointers significantly improves performance for knowledge access. In particular, it is often much less memory consuming in time and space to copy and dereference pointers than it is to copy and access the data to which the pointers point.



Every day we are faced with the challenge of knowing everything in detail and in depth. The world is moving at a very fast pace (cliché) and the challenge, as always, is to keep up with the new technologies and methods that come out every day.

If you are an expert on a specific subject, everyone expects you to know about what you say you are an expert on but, as we move faster and faster, this is no longer a static statement, because of technology leaps and new methodologies, and becomes a dynamic statement, meaning, you’re knowledge will start to be based on previous knowledge, plus the new, which can lead to knowledge gaps, because nobody knows everything (and in-depth).

With all these forms of knowledge and types of technologies, in most cases, the best approach is, what I call, “The Pointers approach”.

What this means is that, beyond our personal knowledge, we can always resort to some place that points the way to the knowledge that we want/need at a specific moment.

This allows us to possess access to more information, with “less” specific knowledge, because the “pointer” allow us to reach that specific repository where that more in depth, detailed information resides.

In our area, some people call this as google engineers. I prefer to call them as the new generation of IT Engineers, with more horizontal knowledge but, when needed, with access to much more detailed information, which allow us to become more vertical on that specific need/moment.

Align with this “pointers method”, what separates the good professionals it’s not only it’s personal KB of Pointers but his experience and ability to solve problems under pressure [And most important to be able to choose the apropriate pointer for each situation (to avoid the "if you only have a hammer everything looks like a nail" falacy or the "death by data chocking" effect)], which it’s not at everyone’s reach.

In most cases, this method is very efficient but, in some cases like, new environments, new variables, new scenarios, dark sites (without internet access and “extra” knowledge sources), this is where “the cream is separated from the milk” and, experience is paramount in solving or moving forward.

Experience is one of the most important factors which, in all scenarios, can help us turn the error/success ratio from previous experiences, into a more efficient success ratio. In the end, IT is still a science and, like all other sciences it it’s also based on the hypotheses/trial/error method until success is achieved.



Rodolfo Noronha 

Implementation Engineer





  Back to Paper Listing