Motivation, Certifications and Direction

MutataMutata Member Posts: 176
I guess this is a bit of a TLDR am confused thread. This is a long story/question post so bear with me. I'll give an overview and then pose my queries.

I'm 27, I have been in the professional IT world for about 5-6 years. I have , a 3 year Advanced Diploma (wonky Canadian credential somewhere between AAS and BS). I did really well in school, found it painfully easy and could get by with a minimal amount of effort. Generally, a lot of my schooling was spent helping others succeed as I breezed through everything. My school had Co-op semesters , in which we would get paid to work for 4 months. I did my first Co-op at a company, and had an awesome manager. Very much "here are the keys, you break it you bought it". I got my hands on so many things it was great technically. There was an offer at the end of it, but I chose to decline it to finish school.

My second Co-op was a completely different story, It was a extremely large financial institution doing help-desk type work. The work wasn't particularly challenging, but I found ways to make it faster and more efficient. The end of my school aligned with them offering me a contract position. I took the position and stayed on for about a year. After the year, there was a concern on multiple fronts. Essentially, the job was getting pretty stale and I was still on contract - something I wasn't too keen on at the time.

I picked up another job , through a colleague from college. The title was "Support Engineer" for a software company. It was actually from a technical standpoint a pretty good learning experience. A lot of hands on Database work, Windows Server config and troubleshooting you name it. As I was one of the more technically proficient Support guys, I became friends with a lot of the developers - Developers love when you don't waste their time, I also did a lot of work with them writing little automation scripts, install scripts and what have you. When I had originally applied for this position I applied for a "Professional Services" position and was told the company starts people in Support. There were a lot of promises made and broken and even with Development and most of the technical portion of the organization pushing for me to be utilized more fully, I was being held back. So I moved on after about 2 years in that position

Next position I picked up was advertised as a Sysadmin position. They did two things here, firstly they mislabeled the position and secondly the expected growth really wasn't there. I had a great manager and he really did his best to keep me busy with challenging projects and motivate me. Most of it boiled down to desktop troubleshooting - which is not particularly an area of interest for me. I was in that position for about a year, until I was approached from one of my Developer friends from a previous job to come in as an Infrastructure & QA Consultant on a project he's working on.

I do really like my current job, but I wouldn't call it particularly stable. The technology I'm getting my hands on is incredible and the pay is good.

This moves on to my "question period"

I feel I'm at a point where I should validate some knowledge with certification. I have approached this concept so many times, but I always run into the following problems.

What to get Certified in? I have touched so many things, from Network Engineering, Sysadmin, DevOps to Programming. I have no idea how I would decide this.

I am switching focuses so much, how can I dedicate enough time to master a topic enough to certify in it?

How do you folks "chunk" exams and maintain motivation?

How do you schedule your study time? Especially working around schedules that don't leave you much time for yourselves.

Any Sage advice from people who have been around the block more than I have?


Thanks for reading through my ramblings.
Mut

Comments

  • dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Figure out which technology interests you the most (preferably one you have good aptitude in) and get certified in that tech and any supporting tech.

    As for finding study time, there are down times at work, cut back on game time, TV time, etc.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
  • MutataMutata Member Posts: 176
    Thanks Dave,

    I guess the distillation down to one technology is one of my major road blocks
  • dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Mutata wrote: »
    Thanks Dave,

    I guess the distillation down to one technology is one of my major road blocks

    1. Find out which technologies are in demand (preferably in your area). Job search engine is great for this.
    2. Start learning about those technologies that interest you.
    3. Get certified in the 1 tech you find the most interesting and easy to learn. It doesn't have to be 1. There are many technologies that work well together.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
  • MutataMutata Member Posts: 176
    In a fairly big market, most technologies seem to be in demand here. I haven't met a technology I DON'T like.
  • chmodchmod Member Posts: 360 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Start with the basics.

    CCNA, N+, MCP, linux+ and then from there specialize on whatever you feel more comfortable with and choose a direction where you think you can get a better job, where you will enjoy more and a direction where you can see yourself growing more and more.
  • MutataMutata Member Posts: 176
    I think the basics are a good suggestion. In some senses I struggle to buckle down and study for them because 95% of it is material I've covered or have already mastered.

    Thanks for the suggestion chmod!
  • EdificerEdificer Member Posts: 185
    Mutata wrote: »
    I think the basics are a good suggestion. In some senses I struggle to buckle down and study for them because 95% of it is material I've covered or have already mastered.

    Thanks for the suggestion chmod!

    Read the official cert book with the approach of not taking many notes, but at least read it.

    Any time when I hit a topic I don't understand well enough I pay a lot of attention in taking many notes and labbing, which can be a problem because it takes up a huge amount of time but it paves the way for me to understand it good and effective. When I hit a topic I do understand, I sort of get around it really fast with fact sheet style notes. Pick a direction, and have a passionate engagement with it.
    “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ― Confucius
  • daviddwsdaviddws MCSA x2, MCITP, CIOS, CSIS, CNIP, CSSS, CLNP MCTS, MTA, MCP,  ITILv3, LPIC-1, VCA-WM, SCLA, CTS,  Member Posts: 303 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Good question. Each job requires a certain skill set. I would probably do more formal education at this time, and follow up with certifications as they become required.
    ________________________________________
    M.I.S.M:
    Master of Information Systems Management
    M.B.A: Master of Business Administration
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