How to get over certification block?

CJFountainCJFountain Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hey everyone,

I've been thinking about getting certified for a long time now, but it never seems to happen. I've researched a lot, compiled lists of certs I want and the times I want to get them, even bought a few books. But between work, school, and life, I haven't ever really sat down to study and earn any certs. How do you find time to study? If you have trouble staying motivated, what keeps you going?

I really do want my certifications, and I know I need them to move up in the IT field, but I can't get started. Any advice?
Thanks!

Comments

  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Mod Posts: 6,909 Mod
    Sorry, but if you keep coming up with excuses you will never achieve anything. You need to prioritize things and carve out the time. We all have family, friends, work, hobbies etc. You will need to sacrifice some things if you want to climb up he ladder.
  • danny069danny069 Member Posts: 1,025 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I work full time and go to school damn near full time, got a household to take of, etc. you just gotta study every chance you get. You have to want it bad enough. Once you get into a groove, train hard, and get your first cert, you're going to want to test yourself again and again, if you're motivated enough that is. When you set a goal, (save money to purchase the voucher, purchase the voucher, schedule the date & time, take the exam, pass the exam) and achieve it, you will surely be proud of yourself. But as I said, you have to want it bad enough and if you do, you will achieve.
    I am a Jack of all trades, Master of None
  • No_NerdNo_Nerd Banned Posts: 168
    Just comes down to how bad you want it... In the last 90 days I have failed CISSP with a 638 and failed CASP twice ( once today ). I don't work but I help run a few business which require more than 40 hours a week. I am also a full time Grad student here locally. I have National Guard one weekend a month which really takes up 1 full week a month and I have to spend time with my family , find time to go the gym and I have a crap ton of social responsibilities from networking events, fund raising dinners, etc... Just gotta wake up early and get **** done bro.... NO excuses just results . No one cares how long you have to work or how busy you are ( everyone is busy )

    No one will ever give you anything you have to go get it.

    You have to want it bad enough to make it happen . You really need to enjoy the struggle . Just know that at the end of the road the $$$ won't make you happy.... you need to love what you do and put in the work.
  • No_NerdNo_Nerd Banned Posts: 168
    One more thing which might help . Make a "vision board" ( google it )
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    Break it down into smaller and smaller chunks, until you have something that is achievable. Maybe "read these books" is too much. Read this book, or read this chapter, or read these pages, or just read for the next 20 minutes. If you persist with the small chunks, they add up.

    Think about when you study as well. It's much harder to focus on reading at the end of long work day. Getting up 30 minutes earlier might work. Or if you are lucky enough to bus or train into work, that bit of the morning commute can work, too. If you are driving, then audio book or audio ripped from videos can work.

    Maybe you need to get away from distractions, somewhere like a library, to read.

    Maybe reading isn't for you. Maybe videos are better. Or maybe you are more hands on, and setting up a lab and then starting a project - eg set up a webserver - would work for you. Probably a mix is good.

    The other thing is that studying is a bit like exercise: you need to build up some endurance for it. The more you do, the easier it is.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • No_NerdNo_Nerd Banned Posts: 168
    OctalDump wrote: »

    The other thing is that studying is a bit like exercise: you need to build up some endurance for it. The more you do, the easier it is.

    This is 100% correct
  • techtiatechtia Member Posts: 144
    My method is to think of myself 5-10 years in the future saying "should have done this, could have done this" and then saying "too late now" then I realize "oh wait, here I am now, lets make use of now"

    But then again I am only studying for entry level certs, you probably have to study for higher level certs so maybe different story I don't know.
  • Sheiko37Sheiko37 Member Posts: 214 ■■■□□□□□□□
    CJFountain wrote: »
    If you have trouble staying motivated, what keeps you going?

    When you commit to something, motivation doesn't matter, you just get it done.
  • thomas_thomas_ CompTIA N+/S+/L+ CCNA R&S CCNP R&S/Enterprise/Collab Member Posts: 956 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Pick an exam, buy a voucher for it, and schedule it for 30 days out. You can schedule it for two weeks out if you really want to light a fire under your butt. Spending money on the voucher will make you have some "skin in the game". Scheduling the exam will make you realize that if you don't study for and take the exam, you will lose your money.
  • E Double UE Double U Member Posts: 1,766 ■■■■■■■■■□
    In the past 3 years I have knocked out GCIH, CISSP (3 attempts), CCNP Security (4 exams), and CCNA Security. I have a full time job, a wife, and two sons. I used any free moment I could find to study.
    Alphabet soup: CISSP, CCSP, CISM, CISA, GDSA, GPEN, GCIA, GCIH, GCCC, CEH, Azure Fundamentals, Azure Security Engineer Associate, ITIL 4 Foundation, and more.

    2020 goals: AZ-900, AZ-500, GDSA, ITILv4

    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  • greg9891greg9891 Member Posts: 1,177 ■■■■■■■□□□
    cyberguypr wrote: »
    Sorry, but if you keep coming up with excuses you will never achieve anything. You need to prioritize things and carve out the time. We all have family, friends, work, hobbies etc. You will need to sacrifice some things if you want to climb up he ladder.

    Thats the truth...........
    Certs Gained 2018: CCENT ,210-255 ( Cyber Security Operations)
    Upcoming: ICND2, CTT, 210-250 (Cyber Security Fundamentals)

    Isaiah 28:10 - For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, and there a little.
  • Infosec85Infosec85 Member Posts: 192 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Listen sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns. You want motivation look at your life determine what you want from it, take this form and look at other individuals feats you won't get better motivation.

    Like some of the other guys said if you want something enough there shouldn't be excuses, If you think these things will just come to you without putting the hard work in you are seriously wrong.

    I have 2 very young children and a job and i still manage to find time to study, not without some sacrifice, one of them being sleep, time with my fiance etc.

    Guess what though I won't stop until I've reached the level I've personally set, and it's a high one! Can't take anything from this then you will continue to make excuses the rest of your life.
  • TechGromitTechGromit GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Member Posts: 2,000 ■■■■■■■■□□
    CJFountain wrote: »
    How do you find time to study?

    Make Time, Recently I've been staying late after work, no distractions.
    CJFountain wrote: »
    If you have trouble staying motivated, what keeps you going?

    My fear of joining the ever growing ranks of the long term unemployed. If your not moving up, eventually you will get moved out. I was just like you a few years ago, I had a nice stable job that paid pretty good. What do I need certifications for, life is good.... till it wasn't. You don't wait until your house is on fire before you think about buying fire insurance, don't wait until your unemployed before getting certifications, it's good insurance for your future.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Best way to get over certification block? Get one. I had a spurt where I was knocking them out and then went cold for years. A coworker taught a CISSP boot camp and let me know that the test would be changing. That gave me two months to study and take the cert while he could lend me some support. I scheduled it and with a date off to the races. So pick one, set a date and then you will have the motivation he need. Obviously, if you aren't ready then you can reschedule, but with a date in mind excuses get harder. Also, tell people you are doing it because then they'll ask you how's it going and that will also keep you on track.
    WIP:
    PHP
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    Work stuff
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Mod Posts: 2,827 Mod
    OctalDump wrote: »
    The other thing is that studying is a bit like exercise: you need to build up some endurance for it. The more you do, the easier it is.

    I'll third this. Just start reading. Start by reading 5 pages, then 10, then a whole chapter. Studying will feel like a part of your day in no time. Also the rest of OctalDump's advice is spot on. Also as someone else said, a lot of times studying after a long day of work is hard since you're mentally exhausted. For my CISSP and GSEC, my studying was done before work. Makes for an early morning but grabbing a Lo-Carb Monster and knocking out an hour or two before work was much better than trying to study at night after a long day at work and then spending time with the kids and getting them in bed.
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, eJPT, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CSAA, AWS CCP, CEHv8, CHFIv8, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: Python, OSCP Prep
    Next Up:​ OSCP
    Studying:​ Code Academy (Python), Bash Scripting, Virtual Hacking Lab Coursework
  • bpennbpenn Member Posts: 499
    My cert game was weak until my daughter was born. It was almost if, in that moment, I had some sort of epiphany. I promised myself I would do whatever it takes to ensure you she has the future she deserves. I started studying, certing up, and now I am almost finished with my BS degree. I wanted it bad, and nothing was going to stop me. You just have to want it bad enough, as everyone here has reiterated countless times.
    "If your dreams dont scare you - they ain't big enough" - Life of Dillon
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    bpenn wrote: »
    My cert game was weak until my daughter was born. It was almost if, in that moment, I had some sort of epiphany. I promised myself I would do whatever it takes to ensure you she has the future she deserves. I started studying, certing up, and now I am almost finished with my BS degree. I wanted it bad, and nothing was going to stop me. You just have to want it bad enough, as everyone here has reiterated countless times.

    Agree with this 100%. My daughter was born last year and I'm more determined then ever for the exact same reason. Nothing else is more important. After she goes to sleep, its to the books.
  • dustervoicedustervoice Member Posts: 877 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Like one poster said, to get going just get one cert. it can be any... Then it starts to become an addiction to the point where i want to replace my middle name with C**** . I'm now looking at 3 certs ahead of the one i'm currently studying for.
  • diggitlediggitle Member Posts: 118 ■■■□□□□□□□
    For a time only worry about the technology and access in front of you. If at your job you use windows 7 and you reset passwords then only worry about certifying on that. This way you're not going in 100 directions and being overwhelmed. Knocking out A+, Net+ Sec+ and MCTS 70-680 would be helpful in your windows 7 / passwords reseting role, and easy because you work in the environment daily. Plus the added knowledge would add value to the company.

    Example:
    If I'm a penetration tester and need to knock out the ecppt how would I do this? Let's say I have a network penetration test for x.x.x.x/24 network to do for my current employer. The rules of engagement are slim to known only thing they don't want me to do is cause any DoS attacks.

    How can I turn x.x.x.x/24 work into learning? ---> Since walking through the slides of the ecppt will be performing my job. I can simultaneously do them both.

    You can do this with any job. Even helpdesk.... Help desk can go through the steps of troubleshooting problems found in the A+ book... Provided they align with their companies policies.

    Once you start applying your knowledge and showing this knowledge your tech leads will notice which will lead to more responsibilities which will get you to where you want.
    c colon i net pub dubdubdub root
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youMod Posts: 2,762 Mod
    I took certs while pregnant (and the brain is not focused at all. LOL). In fact, I passed a CNE Novel 5 test the day before my son was born. You just make time, and if you fail, you just use more resources and try again.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • spicy ahispicy ahi Member Posts: 413 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Everyone has some great advice. Only thing I can add is (and in particular if you're an older fella like me) maybe changing your dietary habits. I've been in a major slump since about 2013. I haven't taken/passed a cert since then. I've even had my Cisco certs lapse. It didn't seem to matter what I did (I did everything everyone above mentioned) It was never a problem making time; the problem was when I did have the time I just couldn't concentrate. Well, I started eating a lot better about a month ago (I'm trying to move to a more vegetarian, almost vegan diet) and my concentration has improved dramatically. Where I couldn't remember what I had read for the past hour, I remember what I read two days ago in 10 minutes. I'm not suggesting something as extreme as I'm doing (I've got a lot of other reasons why I'm doing it) but maybe doing something like cutting out the caffeine might help? Good luck in your pursuits!
    Spicy :cool: Mentor the future! Be a CyberPatriot!
  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Member Posts: 1,649 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I echo the sentiment of others that suggest just getting over it because plenty of folks (myself included) have had things stacked against us and have overcome those things to reach our goals. At the same time, my "awesomeness" level dips from time to time and I get down on myself, feel overwhelmed, off my game, etc. and just become unmotivated. What I usually do, when I stop moping and decide I need to be the one to break the cycle, is find anything I can do and complete easily and quickly, or something that has been on my "to do" list for an exceptionally long time, and just get it done.

    Maybe it is shoveling my driveway in the winter when it snows, cleaning my workspace, help my wife and kids with their specific chores around the house, or something of that nature. Success makes success. Take your little victories and continue forward with more efforts of greater difficulty or stress. Eventually, you get there. I find myself in a rut more often lately (probably every other month), and then I get myself out of it.

    It's up to you.
    AZ-204 [ ] AZ-400 [X] AZ-500
    2020 Goals: Azure Developer Associate, Azure DevOps Expert, Azure Security Associate
  • LexluetharLexluethar Member Posts: 516
    Start small and build on your success. I see too many people bite off more than they can chew and just give up. Lots of people with zero certifications saying they want to take a crack at the CCNP or MCSE within the next few months and don't realize the time suck these certifications take.

    Start off small. For me it was the A+, once i passed that i went and too my first Microsoft exam a few months later and passed that. Then Net+, so forth and so on. Lots of failures in there as well, the goal is to not overwhelm yourself and take it one step at a time, one certification at a time. Once you pass that first one you will feel awesome and you will use that to go to the next certification.

    As for finding time, you just have to find it. I have a full time job, wife and child at home. I cram as much time in as I can. Instead of eating out for lunch study in your office for an hour. Instead of watching TV before bed read for an hour. Build on that and you will succeed - the trick IMO is to not bite off too much at one time. Once you become discouraged you'll find it more difficult to get back into the grove of things.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,227 Mod
    E Double U wrote: »
    In the past 3 years I have knocked out GCIH, CISSP (3 attempts), CCNP Security (4 exams), and CCNA Security. I have a full time job, a wife, and two sons. I used any free moment I could find to study.

    Seriously, good job!!!

    Respect!!
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