Earlier this week, I watched one of the most disappointing performances that I can remember. This performance occurred during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
For those of you who didn’t see the game, the Northern Iowa Panthers lead by 12 points over the Texas A&M Aggies with 35 seconds left in the game. In basketball, this is about as close as you can get to a sure victory.
However, Texas A&M outscored Northern Iowa by 14-2 over the last few seconds of the game, sending the game to overtime. Two overtime periods later, Texas A&M claimed the right to advance in the tournament while Northern Iowa’s season came to an end.
These type of performance breakdowns beg the question, “How could this happen?”
A number of items worked against the Panthers. Northern Iowa is a small school from a second-tier conference; Texas A&M is an SEC powerhouse. Texas A&M was a 3-seed; Northern Iowa, and 11-seed.
By all measures, Texas A&M was supposed to easily win this game. But against the odds, the Panthers performed at a high level and, for 39 minutes and 25 seconds, Northern Iowa was the better team. At the point where they could claim a great accomplishment, their effort fell apart.
In the end, it came down to a failure to execute the fundamentals.
Texas A&M successfully prevented Northern Iowa from executing one of the most fundamental plays in basketball — throwing the ball inbounds. Texas A&M’s press defense forced four turnovers and created the momentum shift that lead to the Aggie’s victory.
Just moments from a great upset victory, the failure of Northern Iowa to inbound against the press turned a sure victory into the greatest collapse in NCAA tournament history.
While disappointing, this occasion provides a lesson for the aspiring technician or engineering student. No matter the technical discipline, technology professionals must master a number of fundamental tasks in order to succeed in their profession. Networking professionals must be proficient in core switching and routing. Microsoft professionals must understand Active Directory and Group Policy. Security professionals must demonstrate competency with access control and encryption.
Failure to master any of these fundamentals will limit the career path of the engineer.
If you are looking toward a successful career in technology, spend time on the fundamentals. If certifications are appropriate for your field, invest the effort necessary to complete the exams. Most importantly, keep practicing every chance you can. The last thing you want to happen is to have an opportunity to show your stuff front of an executive and fall short because you forget how to configure a DNS entry.
3D Printing Club — The last Saturday of every month, theClubhou.se hosts a meet-up for those interested in 3D printing. Bill Gray of Augusta University will be on site to facilitate discussions and demonstrations of 3D printing. All levels of interest are encouraged to attend.
Meet-up attendees will have access to the 3D printer in the Prototyping Lab and CAD programs in the Computer Lab. Attendees should bring their on-going projects, including files, parts and even their printer.
The agenda for the day is an open format — the interests of attendees will determine the topics for the day. Attendees may drop by for a minute or stay for all four hours.
theClubhou.se members may attend for free. Visitors will need to pay $10 the day of the event.
For more information and registration, please see the event page at theclubhou.se/events/3d-printing-club-2016-03-26.