When you need to know something these days where do you go? Google (sorry Microsoft but that’s the fact). Now the good thing about Google is that it returns just about everything that matches your search, which conversely is also the problem with it. I know lots of people who say they can’t find ANYTHING with Google. The reason why? They have no idea how to use Google properly. I doubt whether many people have read about the advanced search features Google offers. All they do is type the first thing that come into their head into the search box and expect what they want to be on the first page.
I think that I am getting pretty good at finding what I want these days. Typically, it does take some time, some refining and bouncing from site to site but eventually I do find it. Case in point. I was looking for some information on using the command stsadm -addcontentdb and Windows Internal Database (microsoft/ssee##) and Windows Sharepoint v3. After some refining I found a site that didn’t give me the answer but gave me enough clues to deduct a solution that worked. Yeah. Now, is it fair to say that I’m a good searcher or a deducer? With the power of Internet search these days I’m pretty sure that the answer you are looking for is out there BUT first you have to find it. Then typically the search results you get is usually not a direct solution to your problem, you gotta apply a bit of lateral thinking to find the solution that you require.
Now perhaps I do have an advantage being qualified as an Electrical Engineer and perhaps all those years at university did actually provide me some benefit in the methods I use today to locate information. To be an expert these days you don’t need to know the answer you just have to know where to look. The faster you can obtain an answer the smarter you are I believe. So if you haven’t looked at the advanced search features Google offers then I strongly suggest you do because it will put you ahead of the pack. As for improving you ability to decipher, decrypt and deduce an answer, well that only improves with practice. Remember a craftsman is only as good as their tools and for information workers Google is the tool of choice. So sharpen your skills so you can wield it like a master.