If you’re looking to move up in the professional world, continuing education could provide the opportunities you may need. When most people hear continuing education, they associate it with going back to school – which could be cost and time prohibitive.
Whether it’s going back to school, taking a technical class, obtaining a new certification, or getting involved with a peer community, you can gain new skills and bulk up your resume, effectively making you a more effective employee or desirable job candidate. Clearly defining your career goals and milestones will help you succeed. Fail to plan, plan to fail!
In my 20-year IT career, I have found that attending school is not the only way to advance yourself. Twelve years ago I found a mentor (shoutout to Joe Suma, @TweetJoeSuma) who introduced me to the VMUG. Through his guidance, I became more involved in the community and found the value of the VMUG. At the time I was a System Administrator that had dreams of one day becoming an Enterprise Architect.
I set a goal for myself to obtain the proper training, certification & hands-on experience I needed to achieve those broader professional goals. Little did I know that immersing myself in the VMUG community would give me access to others who were on the same journey or had already achieved their goals. Attending our local meetings meant I now had access to people who were willing to share information on which training to take, which ones to stay away from and how to get the hands-on experience if I didn’t have access at work (through a homelab or even online available Hands-On Labs).
Once I started to hit some of my milestones, I wondered how I could pay this forward. In comes Joe again, but this time he was asking if I would like to take over and lead the South Florida VMUG chapter. What better way to pay it forward than to be that person who connects others!
Fast forward 10 years and I am still one of the leaders of the South Florida VMUG chapter, I hold 12 different VMware certifications from VCP to VCAP in different disciplines, several other industry certifications and am currently a Virtualization Solutions Architect for a local Value-Added Reseller. I would be remiss if I didn’t attest this not only to my hard work and dedication to achieving my goals but also to the VMUG and the community that it has brought into my life.
This is not the end of my story; with our rapidly changing technology landscape, I am constantly looking for new things to learn, blog articles or white-papers to read, new people to interact with and new opportunities to pay it forward.
In closing furthering your education can lead to promotions or new opportunities all together – so set those goals, achieve those milestones, help others whenever possible & never forget where you started. Fail to plan, plan to fail!