August 11, 1999. My daughter was 1 year old, I had just bought my first house and I was around 2 years into my first IT job. That was also the day that I passed my first IT Certification – Implementing and Supporting NT 4.0 Workstation. That kick started a 20 year cycle of continual studying and exam taking to keep up to date on the latest exams.
Last week I took my last exam to earn “Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert”
I have taken over 20 exams during my career covering multiple technologies – Windows NT, Server 2000, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2012, Server 2016, Exchange, Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop 5.6/7.x, VMWare VCP 4.x onwards, Azure, AWS etc etc.
Taking these exams was a way of keeping my skills up to date, a way of showing my employers that I had the skills they wanted. And it worked. Throughout the years I worked my way up from basic IT Desktop Support, Server Support, Architect Roles, SME roles. I genuinely believe I could not have done it without these exams.
My first proper Citrix role I got because I studied my ass off to get my CCEA in Presentation Server 4.5. John Moody (who now works for Citrix) took pity on me and saw my hunger and decided to give me a chance. That kicked off a 5 year stint with Computacenter where I worked my way up to Principal Consultant. That all started with lots of late night study and 4 exams.
As I reach 40 and the technology is moving faster and faster it’s difficult to keep up. I have spent the past 6 months literally doing nothing but studying and taking exams to renew the above certs to ensure they don’t expire.
But what is becoming more apparent is that they aren’t valued as highly as they once were. I always had this thought in my head that I would rather have them than not have them. But as I am older and wiser I know realise that it would be much more valuable to put time and effort into continual learning through blogging and sharing knowledge. What would of been more valuable? 20 years of blogging, teaching and learning or doing pointless exams?
So that’s what I am going to do. My last blog post was in November 11, 2018. That’s 6 months ago. What is more valuable, exam re-certs for exams which I don’t really need anymore, or 6 months worth of blog posts full of information which I have learnt from, other people have learnt from and is a genuine thing which people can read and share? I know what the answer is.
So, I will publicly state that I am done with IT certifications and expect more content from me (until I get itchy fingers!!) Community and information sharing is such a powerful thing. I have been heavily involved in the Citrix community for a few years and it’s been an awesome experience. I have visited some awesome countries, met some great people and been accepted into an awesome community which can only grow stronger.
I now realise the best way to learn and grow is to not hide away and take exams, but to learn, write, teach and share to teach others. That’s extremely powerful.
I hope to continue to grow these connections, consume, teach and share information just as other people have taught me
Until the next blog post which will be hopefully soon!