> But having actual users is a really different mode of working: you have
>to figure out what the problem is (often the hardest part of a project)
>and if your solution actually solves the problem or not.
Seconding Esme and several others. Technology work supports human
endeavor. Supporting users in a way that helps them and is sustainable
given organizational realities is very hard to do.
It took me longer than it should have to let go of my own sense of
elegance, appealing architecture, and technology predilections and to
instead focus on the work of others with an eye toward technology trends
and the future.
If you work with and for users as you practice, you should learn firsthand
systems analysis lessons. You will learn what *they* need and how to
communicate to them what they may not know they can have.
If you think about how what you produce will be used when you are not
there, you will learn lessons about sustainability.
And any work you do will teach you about working within constraints.
As Esme points out, this can come from helping one person solve a fairly
Also, you may want to spend some time coming to grips with the technology
landscape. There are all kinds of career paths...
Library automation (no snickering, please)
Information retrieval (relevance, anyone?)
Database design and administration
Knowing where you want to be in the next five or ten years can help you
decide what toys to play with as you practice.
A skill you seem to have already learned is to ask others for help.
Lots of us have fun in this field, hope you find your way!