Getting Certified With Life's Distractions

Vontech615Vontech615 Member Posts: 50 ■■□□□□□□□□
This post is meant as more of a poll than a request for advice but I know there are plenty of intelligent people on this forum so if you have some advice, feel free to post it.

I’ll keep it pretty simple. Who out there has had problems juggling kids, wife, friends, girlfriends, work, all while trying to get some certifications? My son turns 1 in a few weeks and I’m working my tail off to get our house ready for his 1st birthday party, which I pleaded with my wife to have somewhere else but alas if mom isn’t happy no one is ;) I started studying for my CCNA about a month ago but I literally can't get 30 minutes to myself right now to get any work done. It's frustrating at times but I know at some point my schedule will free up and be back on track.

Anyway, I just wanted to vent a little and also see if anyone else has run into distractions and set backs while trying to get certified.

Comments

  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Von, I am having the same struggles. My children are getting at an age where they require more and more attention. Almost all of my attention when I am at home. So because of that, I am finishing up my last certification this Friday and then it's no more for a long while. I have enough certifications to last a lifetime, I need to focus more on my family.

    So to answer your question directly I won't do them anymore, not for a long while at least.


    ***With that said I will still stay on this forum and continually grow. I still have 10-15 books that need to be read and I will continue doing so. (The learning doesn't stop but the rigours of certifying and studying 4 hours a day will).
  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Vontech615 wrote: »
    I know there are plenty of intelligent people on this forum so if you have some advice, feel free to post it.

    There are??? where???

    Yes balancing it is fun, its more wanting to learn 50,000 things at once, I have so many things on the go its crazy. And no you schedual will never fee up, believe me I have been waiting 30 odd years for it to happen :). I Just put things in the order of importance to me, family at top, and drinking and games at the bottom and enjoy it :)
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I agree and am in the same boat as N2IT. I'm taking my last exam (for awhile) this Friday. I need a break after that. I want to spend more time with my wife/kids and enjoy life, not spend it buried in books/studying. There are books I want to read "for fun". While I'm going to continue to grow, I have enough certifications. I'll probably just do one a year just so I don't fall behind on things.
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    RW

    1 a year is a sensible realistic goal. Keeps you current and fresh, but doesn't suck up all your time. But I have to admit none a year sounds even better at this point :)
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    N2IT wrote: »
    RW

    1 a year is a sensible realistic goal. Keeps you current and fresh, but doesn't suck up all your time. But I have to admit none a year sounds even better at this point :)

    The reason I want to do one a year is so I don't fall so far behind like I did on my MCSE. I figure if I do one a year (Microsoft more than likely, but there is a chance I may throw a Web Logic cert in to the fold this year) I keep myself competitive/up to date. My "big" goal in the next few years probably will be the PMP (but not right now).
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    30 minutes is asking a lot. I earn my certs 5-10minutes at a time. Probably why I only earn 2 a year...

    You won't have much flexibly until your kid it 3. So I would relax best you can about it. The important thing is you just keep moving forward. Also open up solid communication lines with your wife. Make sure she understands that you need, being in IT, to keep your skills up or you'll be replaced. You need to give her twice that in return. If she watched the kid for 30 minutes. You need to watch it for an hour. If she isn't agreeing to this, understand the causes. Reason with her emotionally, not intellectually btw.


    - Reading and labbing on the train to work (virtual box on the laptop, Ill often sit on the floor)
    - Sometimes I stay at work, for an extra 30 minutes to study also, this has the added benefit of avoiding some traffic
    - Flashcards only take seconds to make, and second to review.
    - Communal family study time is important, when I was kid it was learning guitar with my dad. Hiking with mom. Home work with grandma etc etc. It needs to be a fixed part of your day. Bred into your culture. My wife and I snugged on the sofa while she earned her masters and I got my CCNP.
    - Breaks and work, use them! You can knock out a 5 minute video from youtube, vtc.com or part of a cbtnugget every day. Then go for a short walk.
    -Daniel
  • QordQord Senior Member Member Posts: 632 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I also have a lot of trouble with this. It's very tricky to make it work. My hat's off to those who can do it. I'm in school full time as well, and that definitely doesn't help. I've conditioned the family into accepting that I have to do my schoolwork, but outside of that it is very difficult to get "extra" study time. I tried the getting up at 4 AM thing for a while, and I did get some good study time, but it got real old real quick.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Qord

    I tried that as well. Sleep is critical and I got sick of walking around like a zombie.
  • JeanMJeanM Member Posts: 1,117
    See if you can stay at work for lunch and watch a video or two, or after work and also like someone said avoid traffic.
    2015 goals - ccna voice / vmware vcp.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I am one for making excuses, but it is possible to find 30 minutes a day. I won't compare our situations (you have vastly more on your plate since I am single, no kids, and just party on weekends). I've begun getting into shape and it was always easy to say I was tired (I commute about 1.5 hours a day between walking, driving, and train). Soon I just looked for alternative ways/times to do things. Stop taking the subway, save 80 a month and gain 40 minutes of walking time a day. Run when I get home, no excuse of sleeping in and not running. Balance can be found, might have to think out of the box to find it ;)
    WIP:
    PHP
    Kotlin
    Intro to Discrete Math
    Programming Languages
    Work stuff
  • cknapp78cknapp78 Member Posts: 213 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Agreed. Finding time for anything is tough when you add family responsibilities into the mix. Wife, kids, work, commute, cat peeing on my son's toys, etc...

    Sorry. That last one just ticks me off. Had to spend an hour handwashing over 20 Spider-Man action figures cuz my cat has brain damage.

    Either way...it's been two weeks since I starting really hitting the books again and I can firmly say I have only had two 2+ hour study sessions in 14 days. Both times it was from 11 PM to 1 AM when everyone is sleeping. Lunch at my desk is pretty convenient for studying. And checking sports scores....erf....DISTRACTIONS!!!!!
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    cknapp78 wrote: »
    Agreed. Finding time for anything is tough when you add family responsibilities into the mix. Wife, kids, work, commute, cat peeing on my son's toys, etc...

    Sorry. That last one just ticks me off. Had to spend an hour handwashing over 20 Spider-Man action figures cuz my cat has brain damage.

    Either way...it's been two weeks since I starting really hitting the books again and I can firmly say I have only had two 2+ hour study sessions in 14 days. Both times it was from 11 PM to 1 AM when everyone is sleeping. Lunch at my desk is pretty convenient for studying. And checking sports scores....erf....DISTRACTIONS!!!!!

    I love waking up and finding the cat puked/had explosive poop somewhere in the house.
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • quinnyflyquinnyfly Member Posts: 243
    I take my hat off to your sir, grand effort and also to the rest of you, amazing stamina and perserverance, huge balance of professional and (let's be honest!-real Life). Well done to you all, I used to work in a job that taught me about the things that really count, and I reckon you blokes deserve a pat-on-the-back. Personally myself and the Mrs, we don't have kids <made choice 12 yrs ago>...professional life instead, we are the fur kid type (4 legs and purs....but still demmads alot....lol).

    Certs are huge, good on you blokes and girls for having ago, big ask and bigger effort, massive task...........I can only say what I see, and most of my friends and rellies have kids........so I look at them and think <how the hell could you study, learn, work and succeed amongst all that!!> It's not a criticism, but rather a compliment....well done people..hard bloody work I'd say. :)
    The Wings of Technology
  • ClaymooreClaymoore Member Posts: 1,637
    It's easier to keep up than to catch up.
    From 2007 - 2010 I was taking between 6-9 MS exams per year. Sometimes 1 every week or every other week, sometimes 2 on the same day. Everything from updating my MCSE to 2003, adding the Messaging specialization, earning 3 MCITPs, taking a bunch of exams that were requested or required for my job with an MS partner. In 2011 I only took 2 exams to complete 2 more MCITPs. This year I have taken 2 so far - both were betas for another MCITP. The only thing on the horizon are beta exams for the cloud or Server 8 / Windows 8. Maybe 5 exams in the next year, and then I am done for, perhaps, years. Even if I don't take the betas, I still have plenty of time to take the live exams. I could spread them out over a year instead of a couple of months and not have to focus all my personal time on studying.

    Work with your partner to learn how to be alone together.
    Something I learned from my dogs. Even though they are lap dogs, they don't have to be on you - they just want to be near you. There are more comfortable places in the house than the floor of the dining room, but one or both dogs will lie in there while I am working from home. My wife preferred to study with a movie she has seen 20 times playing for background noise. I prefer to listen to music. We both found that we can work or study together in the living room with a baseball game on and not be too distracted. We're each doing our own thing, but still together. Instead of spending hours alone in your lab somewhere, spend some of your study time in the same room with your partner.

    Communicate and define expectations
    My wife knows that IT requires continual training to remain current and employable. I knew that she had to study to complete her masters. (I didn't expect to be paying her student loans while she stays home with our son, but that's another story). IT requires study. IT requires night and weekend work. IT consulting requires travel. That's the job. If they know that you are studying for the next cert to keep your job, get the promotion, or get the next job, they can be more forgiving of the time commitment. If they think you are hiding in your lab to avoid them, then there's a problem.
  • quinnyflyquinnyfly Member Posts: 243
    Work with your partner to learn how to be alone together.
    Something I learned from my dogs. Even though they are lap dogs, they don't have to be on you - they just want to be near you. There are more comfortable places in the house than the floor of the dining room, but one or both dogs will lie in there while I am working from home. My wife preferred to study with a movie she has seen 20 times playing for background noise. I prefer to listen to music. We both found that we can work or study together in the living room with a baseball game on and not be too distracted. We're each doing our own thing, but still together. Instead of spending hours alone in your lab somewhere, spend some of your study time in the same room with your partner.

    You have summed up myself and the Mrs almost to the "T".....Thank you, very good post and answer.
    The Wings of Technology
  • Vontech615Vontech615 Member Posts: 50 ■■□□□□□□□□
    rwmidl wrote: »
    I love waking up and finding the cat puked/had explosive poop somewhere in the house.

    Lol, I feel you on this. I have a lab and boxer that love to occasional get my attention with a few surprises when I least expect it.
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Vontech615 wrote: »
    Lol, I feel you on this. I have a lab and boxer that love to occasional get my attention with a few surprises when I least expect it.

    I'm convinced the cat does it because he hates us/we made him mad (though the last explosive poop I blame on him laying on/and licking the grates of the grill while I was trying to clean them this past weekend).

    When I got engaged to my wife and moved in with her, in the morning I would be fixing my coffee and the cat would come up and lick my leg, and the lick would quickly become a little bite. I am convinced he was telling me "he" was the man of the house!
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Claymoore wrote: »
    It's easier to keep up than to catch up.
    From 2007 - 2010 I was taking between 6-9 MS exams per year. Sometimes 1 every week or every other week, sometimes 2 on the same day. Everything from updating my MCSE to 2003, adding the Messaging specialization, earning 3 MCITPs, taking a bunch of exams that were requested or required for my job with an MS partner. In 2011 I only took 2 exams to complete 2 more MCITPs. This year I have taken 2 so far - both were betas for another MCITP. The only thing on the horizon are beta exams for the cloud or Server 8 / Windows 8. Maybe 5 exams in the next year, and then I am done for, perhaps, years. Even if I don't take the betas, I still have plenty of time to take the live exams. I could spread them out over a year instead of a couple of months and not have to focus all my personal time on studying.

    I learned this the hard way with my MCSE. I got in on Win2K and then didn't do anything until about 2 years ago. As I mentioned above, my "goal" is to do at a minimum 1 Microsoft test a year, just to "keep up".
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • quinnyflyquinnyfly Member Posts: 243
    Vontech615 wrote: »
    Lol, I feel you on this. I have a lab and boxer that love to occasional get my attention with a few surprises when I least expect it.

    Thankfully we don't get many pukes, perhaps the odd furball but our moggie does get bathed once a week <yep he does.> (I can hear all the cat lovers saying
    no way!!) Funny ya know he is a big moggy (Aussie for cat) and he used to always make a point of inspecting my work? Anti-static precautions especially during colder winter months had me continually lifting him off the work bench. Mrs even suggested getting him an anti-static strap....but a few rounds of Dory fillets soon sorted that.

    I don't mean to take away from the family commitment blog, just saying how the fur-kid families do it.
    The Wings of Technology
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