My TechExams 10 year anniversary - Reflecting on a decade in the industry

UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet?Posts: 3,845Mod Mod
So It's been exactly 10 years since I decided to sign up and create a user on TechExams. I was stalking the forums for few months prior to that.

How I found the forums.
I think by Googling, I wanted to know what books people used to study for the CCNA. By that time I was in my LAST few months at Uni (about to graduate), and was studying for CCNA because I wanted to work in 'networking'...Mind you, I didn't know anything about the industry at that time - I was so immersed in the university life. I passed the CCNA, and got a job (not related to CCNA or Networking) doing support for Sun Microsystems at the time, and so I became a UnixGuy


Why I stayed in the forums.
I had my heart set on Security - or I thought I did. I had a very vague idea what security is...I think looking back, I can safely say that I didn't really know what a security professional actually does, but that didn't stop me. Upon following advice given to me in this forum, I decided to follow the long path of first gaining experience in System Engineering/Admin/Networks/etc then moving to security.

I did exactly that...7 years of grinding...I passed the RHCE exam, and did a lot in the domain of Linux and Unix, backups, Disaster recovery, scripting...you name it, I did it. Still no Security.



The Move to Security.
I got my easy entry to security, and the rest has been history. My background definitely helped but I also quickly realised how big the gap in my knowledge is. I kind of needed to start all over, from the beginning....So learning constantly on the job, going to conferences, reading books, and doing certifications is more crucial than it has ever been.




Thoughts on certifications and the industry in general.
The truth is, most people in the industry are just lazy, they don't study , they don't do certifications, and they definitely don't improve and progress. I'm talking the vast majority in the industry - While here, on TechExams, we are the exception. We're the ones constantly studying for the next certs, we're the one constantly trying to be better than we were yesterday. The growth mentality here is what differentiate us. This is good news..it's not very hard to stand out.. And stand out we do ;)


Cautionary tales.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'm going to repeat some cautionary tales that I've seen both in the industry and here from members of the forums.

1) Get your diet fixed. This is non-negotiable, I've seen it time and time again..those fast food lunches, after work drinks, desserts, etc etc...WILL destroy your life. Eat like an adult and prepare your own food. Don't use the stress of work and studying as an excuse..I've done it before, so don't make the same mistake. Once you get your diet in check, you will realise how easy it is to maintain it and your wallet will thank you as well. You will improve your health and youth much longer than all your colleagues.


2) Do not ignore your spouse and family. I'm not saying this career causes divorce, but I personally know a handful of close friends and forum members who've gone through divorce and part of the reason was that they ignored every aspect of their life in pursuit of career/certs goals. Don't do it. Have honest and open conversations with your spouse and keep things in perspective. Have hobbies and have a healthy social life. Work to live and don't live to work. Easier said than done, but this is a priority and you have to make an active effort.


3) Exercise. Find something you can be consistent with. While I can't recommend weight lifting enough...if you think it's not for you and you can't stick to it - find something else. Do you like Tennis? Basket Ball? anything...just find something and be consistent. This is one of those things that will give the BEST RETURN ON INVESTMENT. It's priority so treat it as such.


4) Keep an eye on the market. I was a system admin doing Unix work and i saw the cloud coming, I saw the trend going towards DevOps and cloud...so I jumped on it as fast as I can. Be adaptable and always be involved in new projects and new stuff. Don't be the guy who only knows how to be a DBA on one specific type of Database. Don't be the guy who is a SAN Admin managing one type of storage - you will be replaced - no one is indispensable.
You are the one responsible for your own stability, your up to date skills and certs is your guarantee to stability and salary increase - not your employer. Always be ready to jump ships, and always be on top of the new trend.
Be well rounded, and learn more than one skill. Specialisation is important but be well rounded as well. Don't pigeon hole yourself in one technology. because technology changes all the time. and it changes QUICKLY.



This Industry is GREAT
Trust me, there is ample opportunity in this industry. Technology is growing, and there is money in this industry. Pursue higher level certifications and get into high level technical roles, or get into management. Get into Pre-sales or Sales and travel the world and make a killer of a salary. Learn Data Science and become a data scientist or learn AI and Machine Learning technology. Pass those Amazon AWS exams and get into Cloud service providers or MSP. Get into Cyber Security if you want. There are opportunities to work remotely or to work 100% from home, so if you have family commitment or illness, this career can be flexible enough for you.

There is so much to do, and there is an unprecedented amount of free resources to grow and learn pretty much anything online. The sky's the limit!



Finally, I can't thank you all enough for being a great and a continuous source of support for me throughout my career, and I want to give back to the community as much as possible. If you ever visit the land down under, shoot me a message :)
Goal: MBA, March 2020

Comments

  • nisti2nisti2 Posts: 442Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Amazing history! Thanks for sharing your long trajectory!!
    I already have my bike waiting for the summer-spring icon_biggrin.gif

    BTW I have 4 years in the forum!
    2018 Year goals:
    CCNA Cyber Ops [Done!]
    Extra goals: VCP6-DCV [1%] , CCENT-CCNA [2%]
    "Certs... is all about IT certs!"
  • mrkasujmrkasuj Posts: 1Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    Great one. Thanks for sharing.
  • mzx380mzx380 This site changed my life New YorkPosts: 449Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    A great story providing advice on how to succeed both in and out of the office
    Well done
    Certifications: ITIL, ACA, CCNA, Linux+, VCP-DCV, PMP, PMI-ACP
    Currently Working On: Microsoft 70-761 (SQL Server)
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Posts: 2,189Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    The diet and exercise part is so important, people just don't realize. That great new job you got because you never lifted your head out of a book is awesome, until you aren't around at 50 to enjoy any of the benefits of it.
    UnixGuy wrote: »

    4) Keep an eye on the market. I was a system admin doing Unix work and i saw the cloud coming, I saw the trend going towards DevOps and cloud...so I jumped on it as fast as I can. Be adaptable and always be involved in new projects and new stuff. Don't be the guy who only knows how to be a DBA on one specific type of Database. Don't be the guy who is a SAN Admin managing one type of storage - you will be replaced - no one is indispensable.
    You are the one responsible for your own stability, your up to date skills and certs is your guarantee to stability and salary increase - not your employer. Always be ready to jump ships, and always be on top of the new trend.
    Be well rounded, and learn more than one skill. Specialisation is important but be well rounded as well. Don't pigeon hole yourself in one technology. because technology changes all the time. and it changes QUICKLY.

    This is so, so true. Sometimes unlucky things happen, but in general you're responsible for making things better for yourself. I've had coworkers who have been here for 15+, in some cases 30 years, they whine about everything. Most of them have had 15-30 years of tuition reimbursement and haven't done a thing with it. I've had the reimbursement for a little over a year and i'm working on an MS now, they think I'm nuts, I don't even bring it up. Even that SAN admin example, we had a guy leave and I overheard the conversation about replacing him, "oh, well we're going to a new storage vendor anyway let's just let one of the current guys learn that, problem solved!" The old guy resisted changing because he knew the current vendor solution well and didn't want to update, don't be that guy.
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb They are watching you Posts: 3,125Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    UnixGuy wrote: »
    The truth is, most people in the industry are just lazy, they don't study , they don't do certifications, and they definitely don't improve and progress. I'm talking the vast majority in the industry - While here, on TechExams, we are the exception. We're the ones constantly studying for the next certs, we're the one constantly trying to be better than we were yesterday. The growth mentality here is what differentiate us. This is good news..it's not very hard to stand out.. And stand out we do ;)

    So true. icon_thumright.gif
  • gespensterngespenstern Posts: 1,243Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    Great story, Unix Guy. Hat's off, very solid grasp on reality we have here.

    "growth mentality" is 100% why I'm here, that's what this forum is about.

    PS Also totally on board with dieting, exercise and family. I'm primarily on hunter-gatherer (basically meat, eggs, almost no "fast carbs", i.e. bread and sugar) diet, my deadlift and squat are 300+ pounds, I run 5K mud runs every year (luckily, without weapons and gear, lol) and prepare for them and am a family guy, on top of non-ending studies. That's the proper way of life IMO
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,035Admin Admin
    I ran some stats on registered members here at TechExams.Net that UnixGuy falls in to:

    Total number of registered members as of Mar 04 2018: 444796
    Members who registered before Apr 01 2008 and have been active in the last six months: 327
    Those same members with at least 1000 posts: 37
    Members with at least 1000 reputation points: 31

    UnixGuy, you are a very valued and appreciated member of a very exclusive TE membership indeed! :D
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb They are watching you Posts: 3,125Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Like the stats! +rep
  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Posts: 1,209Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Wow. I had no idea you are probably close to my age. I came here on this forum when I was doing the Security+ right after my 2nd year in college. Had only the A+ and Network+. Although, I haven't posted here a lot lately, but I do come here when I can. Obviously, I can't answer questions regarding the technologies that my knowledge is currently obsolete in. I agreed with JDMurray that you're invaluable here as well as many other long-timers that have yet to chime in here.
    UnixGuy wrote: »
    Cautionary tales...
    2) Do not ignore your spouse and family.

    You hit the nail on the head with this one. No one's marriage is perfect, and I found myself in this predicament a while ago. It's very important to find a balance. Don't get too greedy if you are already providing enough for your family to afford one-week vacation 3-4 times a year. Some of us aren't lucky to be in this place.
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Posts: 2,233Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Well said and well done man. I also approve the diet and exercise. Make that a habit and routine and you will feel great no matter the work stress levels.

    In May, I'll be hitting 12 years at TechExams. I haven't been part of any other forum as long as I've been here.
  • ErtazErtaz Posts: 866Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    UnixGuy wrote: »

    4) Keep an eye on the market. I was a system admin doing Unix work and i saw the cloud coming, I saw the trend going towards DevOps and cloud...so I jumped on it as fast as I can. Be adaptable and always be involved in new projects and new stuff. Don't be the guy who only knows how to be a DBA on one specific type of Database. Don't be the guy who is a SAN Admin managing one type of storage - you will be replaced - no one is indispensable.
    You are the one responsible for your own stability, your up to date skills and certs is your guarantee to stability and salary increase - not your employer. Always be ready to jump ships, and always be on top of the new trend.
    Be well rounded, and learn more than one skill. Specialization is important but be well rounded as well. Don't pigeon hole yourself in one technology. because technology changes all the time. and it changes QUICKLY.

    This +10. The thing that I would add is that you're never too far gone. I let a lot of my certs expire and had to hop back on the wagon. Don't let the missteps you've made keep you from clawing your way back in.
    TheFORCE wrote: »
    In May, I'll be hitting 12 years at TechExams.


    There's a smoking jacket and a plaque you get in the mail. :)
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Posts: 4,122Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    First, congrats and thanks! Always enjoy reading your posts!

    Second, this got me to thinking and I realized I've been here 11 years (in May). Ironically I stumbled upon this forum for the same reason as you (CCNA certification). Shocking to see how much I have grown going from knowing nothing to still knowing nothing, but giving advice anyway (haha).

    Finally, I "bigly" agree with your point on exercise. First six years of my career (in IT) was very anti-exercise and it cost me quite a bit. Doing great now and the biggest thing is not being as tired even though I am sleeping less. Water and running can change your life for sure.

    Again congrats and thanks for all the insights over the years! Cheers to 10 more!
    WIP:
    Python
    Java
  • jws86jws86 Posts: 77Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Congrats to you. This is inspiration for me. Thanks for the great post!
    Currently studying for CCNA R&S
  • SquishedSquished Posts: 191Member
    Awesome story. Well done.
    [2018] - A+ 901 (PASS), A+ 902 (PASS), Project+ (PASS), Security+ (PASS), Network+(PASS), CySA, Cloud+
    [2018] - MBA - IT Management - WGU (PASS)

    HR: “What if we train them and they leave?”
    ME: “What if we don’t train them and they stay?”
  • dontstopdontstop Posts: 565Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Awesome story and points 1 & 3 hitting home hard right now. Due to a strong focus on my new job I've sacrificed both exercise and this is starting to impact my sleep and now my motivation to eat clean. It's a balancing act and I think if you try too hard to hold onto a single ball all the others hit the ground. I'm gearing up for CCNP, CCIE in the near future and I really need to get everything in balance before I commit to it. Great words, motivation is strong again!
  • SquishedSquished Posts: 191Member
    dontstop wrote: »
    Awesome story and points 1 & 3 hitting home hard right now. Due to a strong focus on my new job I've sacrificed both exercise and this is starting to impact my sleep and now my motivation to eat clean. It's a balancing act and I think if you try too hard to hold onto a single ball all the others hit the ground. I'm gearing up for CCNP, CCIE in the near future and I really need to get everything in balance before I commit to it. Great words, motivation is strong again!

    Ditto. i was doing really well and went off the freaking rails the last year.
    [2018] - A+ 901 (PASS), A+ 902 (PASS), Project+ (PASS), Security+ (PASS), Network+(PASS), CySA, Cloud+
    [2018] - MBA - IT Management - WGU (PASS)

    HR: “What if we train them and they leave?”
    ME: “What if we don’t train them and they stay?”
  • blargoeblargoe Posts: 4,164Member
    UnixGuy, excellent advice and background, thanks for posting.

    I'll be a 13 year member this year, what do I win?
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 1/29/2018 - Passed 70-743 - MCSA 2016 Complete; 1/13/2018 - Passed 70-411 - MCSA 2012 complete
    Working on: Being a better coder, build/test/deploy automation fundamentals
    Future: Renew VCP (due 2/2019), possibly with an adjacent VCP or VCAP
  • E Double UE Double U Posts: 1,469Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    Good stuff UnixGuy!

    I've been here for going on four years and I definitely agree we are a motivated bunch. The TE crowd is definitely good to be in for continuous motivation.
    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Posts: 3,845Mod Mod
    THANKS everyone!! I'm glad that my post resonated with some of you!

    And for those of you who've been here a long time...I'm looking at you! Create a new thread and share your story and progress and perspective, I'm sure a lot of people here (and on Google) would love to hear all about :D

    With regards to the diet comment, trust me it is SO easy..I can toss a meal now in less than 20 mins..just thro some veggies and meat in a pan..boom....that's coming from someone who didn't know how to boil an egg...Youtube is your friend...do simple things and dont complicate things...

    As for exercise...find a good trainer and pay them to help you, it's worth every penny


    Looking forward to read all about your experience and perspective icon_cheers.gif
    Goal: MBA, March 2020
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