Automation and ADHD

Hi All,

I’m a Devops person and I think my ADHD is what drove me in to my field and what helped me succeed in it.

I ended up getting in to IT because I struggled to get any schoolwork that wasn’t vitally interesting or due in 2 hours done, unfortunately I was getting away with that by getting good grades. After 2 years in regular high school and 2 years of PSEO getting an associates degree using that method, my brain/body couldn’t take it anymore.

At my first IT internship I was disciplined for making mistakes on paperwork, not filling out certain forms or fields on user accounts or phone extensions, not following the entire procedure when configuring servers by hand, and the usual batch of Brain-work-related-complaints.

It was clear to me, at that point, that if I didn’t figure out a way to make the machines do what I couldn’t do for me, I was probably going to get fired. So what’s a Brain to do?

  • Locate a tool that allowed me to take the spreadsheet we had new customers fill out and have the server process it into phone extensions automatically

  • Write a script that automatically performed most of the server configuration tasks so I couldn’t miss any

  • Write a script that automatically created user accounts from a .csv version of the form that we had customers fill out

  • Learn how to use excel so well that I almost never had to work on forms like port requests by hand

At the time I had no idea that skillset was useful, but when I left that job I ended up automating so many similar things that I accidentally unemployed 2 data analysts and 5 salespeople and then unemployed myself by making a self service page for user support.

At my current job I was originally hired to do some fairly basic network admin tasks, but ended up finding my way into a formal Devops role because I was able to automate so much of my original position that level 1 support personnel can do most of what used to be my job with scripts that I wrote.

So, while I wouldn’t say that my ADHD is necessarily a “Gift”, a positive thing that I got from my ADHD was a good understanding of what tasks are time consuming and easy to make mistakes on, and a deep hyperfocus-y interest in never having to do those ever again.

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I’m a developer and I genuinely like that when I make syntax errors I get error messages. Such a helpful thing

I’m also a big fan of Excel, but mostly for personal things rather than work

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