Webmaster Xiao Lin – A Hero of Youth

The first time I saw Xinglu Lin, I could not believe that the handsome big boy standing before me was really the guy known as “Xiao Lin”, the youngest webmaster and programmer in China. “Now I’m mainly focused on software development and testing, and I also do server maintenance when it is needed,” Xiao Lin once talked about his work with me on QQ, “well, I think the reason why I have spent more time on managing the network well is to save me more time from further maintenance work, and that is to say, if you have done a good job planning the network construction, then maintenance is much more unlikely to trouble you in the future, and if you can write some scripts for everyday automatic maintenance, as a webmaster, your days are going to be very easy and carefree.”

Born in Guangdong, a migrant worker in Beijing

“I am from Guangdong. Have you heard about a place named Lufeng?” It was quite funny to hear Xiao Lin using his not so good mandarin to introduce himself. Xiao Lin, who was born in the 1980s, has worked for three years in Beijing. Before he came to Beijing, he had worked as a webmaster for the Shenzhen Office of InfoHighWay and a network engineer for China Motion. In 1999, Xiao Lin migrated to Beijing to work on PDA application development in the Wireless Business Unit of Hi-Tech Wealth, and he was responsible for the daily maintenance and management of the company’s network as well. In the meantime, he also provided technical support for the well-known IT writing community – www.donews.com.

“Work has been very busy. I have been sent out quite a lot to install machines recently, and stayed up very late at night. I think technical work is suitable for you only when you are young!” This interview was conducted at Xiao Lin’s workplace. Looking at Xiao Lin’s slightly tired eyes, I started to have sympathy for him, while he did not think that was a big deal. “It is much better now. My sleep had been even worse during my first few years of working with computers!” Speaking of those days before, Xiao Lin began to talk more, and I finally got to know that Xiao Lin, a 22-year-old young man, had an eight years’ work experience, and in the beginning he even worked as an electrician!

I did not finish the nine-year compulsory education; it is all about learning by myself on the job.

“I did not spend much time at school. As for the reasons, you can take a look at my website www.lufeng.org. I still think study at school is a better option, and I am trying to gain more knowledge by study at the moment. Students need to cherish their opportunities at school more. ” When talking about study, Xiao Lin mentioned to me that he only finished the first year of junior high school instead of the whole nine-year compulsory education, and then he devoted himself into the vast world of information technology. As I got to know more about Xiao Lin, I felt more and more that his success could never be duplicated: he had never learned English before, but the technical documents he often needed to read at work were in English, so he just grabbed a dictionary and looked up every word he did not know, and as time went by, those files in English were no longer an issue for him; he was not good at mathematics, and as a result, he found some logic from books quite hard to understand when programming, so he read code directly, and he found that the more code he read, the more logic structures he could understand. “Anyway, the key is to figure out what operations are performed when executing code, and that’s all.” Xiao Lin’s success in the information technology industry was all based on his experience accumulated at work and meticulous process of self-study, which was quite rare in the world.

“Have you got any certifications?” Thinking of the increasing craze for acquiring certifications among network professionals nowadays, I asked Xiao Lin this question. “I took the Novell exam a few years ago, and I did not have time to do it again because I was always busy. In my opinion, it is a good option if you want to learn more skills through the preparations for those certification exams, but if you goal is only to get a certificate, then it is like putting the cart before the horse. Actually, the key to master a skill is you need to have an interest and passion.” Exactly, Xiao Lin is such a person with a strong passion for technology. “I cannot survive a single day without computers or network, and of course, I also need electricity, haha!”

You have got to learn more things when you are young; it is still early to consider too far in the future

At the end of the interview, we talked about the future. “The future? I have not given much thought to it. For me, I am still young, so I think I need to learn more things and make more friends, and eventually my path towards the future will reveal itself to me when the time comes.” Looking at this young man full of energy and passion, I, as the interviewer, was also deeply touched. Yes, we all have a long way to go; learn more stuff and make more friends while you are young!

From: Netadmin World Magazine (January, 2003)

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