Goals for 2020
It’s an annual cliché, but I do love sitting down between Christmas and New Year’s and setting myself some goals for the next 12 months, starting off the new year organised, motivated and goal focused.
So as much as a way to hold myself accountable as anything else, below are my career and education goals for 2020; I’ll spare anybody reading this my more personal ‘life’ goals!
VMware VCP-DCV 2020 Certification
Earlier this year I completed the VMware v6.7 Install Configure & Manage online course at Stanly Community College, which is noted for the fact that completion counts towards the required training for VCP-DCV 2020 at the cost of €185, compared to the thousands through VMware-sanctioned training centers.
Between now and end of February I want to complete the vSphere 6.7 Foundations Exam and the Professional vSphere 6.7 Exam to earn the VCP-DCV 2020 certification. With the Foundations Exam being un-proctored, I really should get going and scratch this off early/mid January.
I still need to get a decent resource for the Professional exam, but along with having completed the CBT Nuggets course, having a good VMware home lab with VMug Advantage, and currently being knee-deep in vSphere/vCenter migrations at work, I feel getting the VCP-DCV 2020 certification by end of February 2020 is a reasonable target date.
CompTIA Security+ Certification
I don’t currently have any security certifications under my belt, and while I don’t believe I’ll ever pursue a security-focused career path, I think having an entry-level security certification is useful practical knowledge for any IT professional to have…and looks good on the CV!
While CompTIA certifications certainly scream ‘entry level’ to many, and I imagine wouldn’t be on the list of anybody specifically pursuing a cyber-security career, I think its broad and general approach is perfect for my requirements.
The abundance of free online resources for CompTIA exams is another reason to go for this over other cyber-security certs. I’ll target end of April to have this complete.
MCSE: Core Infrastructure Certification
The MCSE is top of my list of certifications to achieve in 2020, I just consider the above two certs to be easier to tick off, so I’ll complete those first to gain some study momentum…much needed after the Christmas time off!
In saying that, I don’t want any nasty surprises when it comes to finally getting around to studying for an MCSE, only to find my Server 2012 MCSA is no longer a valid prerequisite, hence why I consider this vital to tick off in 2020 (although in saying that I don’t see Server 2012 exams on the Microsoft retirement list for the next 6 months: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/retired-certification-exams.aspx ).
Unfortunately the MCSE is my least researched certification, as I haven’t yet decided which exam path to follow, so my thoughts on it are a big vague. Ideally, I’d like one that gives me some kind of Cloud exposure, even if that’s currently not on the cards with my current employer.
At time of writing, Exam 70-537 Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack is listed as “Coming Soon” on the Microsoft Learning site, but that seems like an interesting and likely candidate.
Failing that, and the potentially easier route as it covers skills that I currently use every day, will be the 70-413 Exam ‘Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure’. I may be better off taking this exam and taking a more focused (and maybe non-Microsoft) Cloud certification later in the year, but I’ll make a decision on this around March when hopefully more information is available. Regardless of the exam path, I’d like to have the MCSE complete by the summer.
Python and PowerShell
I would love to advance by programming/scripting skills in 2020. They’re currently quite stagnant, particularly my use of Python, although with some extra staff on the cards in work early 2020, I hope to be able to dedicate more time to (much needed!) automation.
I do have a web-scraping Python project that I wrote in my spare time, but I now only need to maintain this with occasional bug fixes, and as such I haven’t written anything of note since early last year. And while I do have expectations that this project will make some money in 2020, I would love to develop my programming skills to be able to write useful and potentially commercial applications. There’s also an obvious benefit in cross-over to a automation/Dev-Ops role in the future, which leads me to…
One of my biggest goals for 2020 is to make a solid decision on my future IT career goals. 2019 started off with the intention of taking a networking focused route, with the plan to get straight into study for a CCNP, but the job I found myself in during May wasn’t the network focused role I had imagined.
I’ve written about this in a previous blog; in short, I still consider the job to be an excellent career move, but it is pure, old-school, jack-of-all-trades system administration.
In 2020, after completing the above certifications and having a solid and broad certification base to work from, I want to decide on my specialisation, and work towards that solely, as I do still believe that specialisation and continual up-skilling within your chosen field is the best career path to higher paid and more senior positions.