There is no lack of IT certifications to choose from these days but the swarm of testing vendors and IT certification options can leave us confused and stagnant; just not sure as to what IT certifications will lead us to a lucrative, passionate career. There are dozens of articles out there about how you can level-up your IT career and articles discussing the top IT certifications in 2016, in 2017, in 2018, etc. All the information coming at you can boggle the mind, but if you’re planning to get certified, there are steps to take to ensure your decision aligns with your interests and career path.
It’s important to understand the value of certifications and their place in charting your path and decision-making. The decision goes beyond just choosing between entry-level or advanced certificates. Know that not all are alike, so proper vetting is encouraged. The fact is that you need to have a direction if you are to arrive at your destination. You are going to have to cut out all the noise to find your path. While it’s important to stay up to date on the latest technology, it’s also important to find out what you’re passionate about.
Linux Academy does a great job of helping members, or as I like to call us “penguiners”, to chart a course for success. If you are already a member, then this will come as no surprise but if you are not already, then this is information to ponder. Linux Academy offers “Learning Paths” which has been instrumental in making my decision as to what path was best for me to take. If you have been following my blog, then you know that I have selected the Red Hat Certified Architect or RHCA learning path, but there are others such as OpenStack Systems Administrator, All Things Docker, Google Cloud Architect, which I believe is fairly new, Scripting Automation for SysAdmins, Certified Chef Developer, Linux Professional (LPI) Certifications Track, MCSA: Cloud Platform Certification and many more.
You can complete more than one learning path, but it will definitely give you some focus and provide some clarity around deciding what certification/career path you should take if you choose one and go full throttle on the path until it’s completed, and you have passed your certifications around the subject matter it prepares you for. It’s all a journey and not a sprint so you will enjoy the ride more if you choose a path that your intrigued by and passionate about.
Remember that your career and/or learning path should be progressive so your path should go from entry-level to intermediate, to expert. Don’t wait until you have completed the entry-level learning path to decide on the intermediate and so on. Write out your full career and learning progression now so there are no struggles with deciding next when you are in the midst of it all. Your results will be more impactful if you already have your plan in place. Yes, it may change a little here and there as you go, but not by much.
Once you have your learning path planned out, check out these tips I find especially helpful when studying for exams!