I’m a bit of a certification junkie. I love setting goals to get certifications, booking them… and eventually getting that piece of paper that says I know what I’m doing!
I do at times ask myself – “is this really worth all the effort?”
I hope that if you ask yourself the same question, this post will help.
We go to school for ~12 years, learning about subjects that have very little practical application in the real world. We learn important things like spelling, writing – but do we ever learn how to put together a professional email? In fact, we don’t even learn this in University (unless business administration is one of your majors of course). We learn how to calculate the unknown length on the side of a right-angle triangle using the “pythagoras” algorithm – unless we go into some form of technical drawing after school, where will this ever be useful?!
My opinion – it won’t be. I loved doing technical subjects in school, including technical drawing, but I’ve not once used it in practical application.
You can study the theory behind business (such as an MBA) with a couple of years’ experience behind you, but does that teach you how to do business in real life? Business, in my own experience, is just people.
I don’t believe in selling to sell something. I believe in selling a solution to a problem, fixing or meeting a business requirement with a technical solution. They probably won’t include that as a module in an MBA. Full disclosure – I’ve already been accepted to do an MBA, and will start 2016 or 2017 – maybe even 2018! I just need to figure out how I’m going to pay for it next.
Are technical certifications worth it?
After reading what I’ve just written, the answer is YES!
Deciding to do a technical certification means you’ve decided to stop dabbling with something, and master it. It’s not the same as going to school for 12 years to become a decent human being that can do basic math and read/write – it’s deciding to become an expert in something.
It’s up to you how far you want to go with that technical certification, the beauty in most tracks is that there are different levels of expertise. Maybe you have to do the certification as a pre-requisite at work for a more senior role. Maybe you have to do it to maintain a partner status requirement at the company you work for. Or maybe, you’re doing it because you have a genuine passion for the technology you work with every day.
I’ve come across two kinds of people in my time so far. The first is the kind of person who is happy with cruising – they don’t want any extra responsibility or a more challenging job. They are happy to “tick boxes” when it comes to their work, but they won’t go above and beyond.
The second kind of person (and I think I fall into this category) is the kind of person who wants to become the best. It doesn’t matter what they want to be the best in – they think of nothing else. Of course, being the best footballer in the world will probably result in more monetary returns than most things! When I look at someone like Cristiano Ronaldo, despite the fact he earns an obscene amount of money, I can’t help but respect the guy. He might be in a different career path, but he’s worked extremely hard to be the best. He’s won the Fifa Ballon d’Or three times – does winning the Ballon d’Or have any impact on his salary? NO – it’s merely a recognition of his accomplishments. He got visibly upset when Messi won a few years in a row, despite having millions in the bank and making over £100k a week after tax.
That’s what I want. I want to be among the best at what I do for a living. The only way to be recognised as one of the greats is to become a VCDX. I visualise it – I write it down. I’ve wanted it for over two years.
It won’t make a shred of difference to how much money I make.
It will make a world of difference to my confidence and the way I deal with companies and projects, being counted as one of the top people in the world when it comes to infrastructure design and thinking.
I will achieve this certification.