Security+, RHSCA, and Skipping Azure Fundamentals

4 of my last 5 posts have been about certification. Well, 5/6 now!

I guess it’s a good thing. Finally getting my head down during Covid isolation to pass the VCP-DCV 2020 paid off, as it certainly reignited a desire to continue studying for more certifications. If there’s one thing I’ve taken from this, it’s that routine is key. I’m also happy that I can genuinely say I used my “free” time well during isolation, having ticked off the VCP-DCV, MCSE, and last week the CompTIA Security+.

Security+ wasn’t a particularly difficult exam, I knew 80% of the material from work experience, although I was surprised with how tight the exam was in terms of time. 90 questions in 90 minutes, including a couple of labs at the beginning. I actually didn’t know there was going to be labs, so a bit of initial shock had to be managed! But I think this may have been the first time I ever reached 0:00 on an IT exam timer.

Professor Messer’s video series on YouTube was enough of a study guide for me. Of course it’s an entry-level security exam, but I’m happy I did it, as I’ve no previous security focused certifications and it was nice to round out the knowledge. Can’t say it gave me much in the way of “take to work” skills, but it’s laid the groundwork for maybe going a little further into the security field some day.

Straight after passing the Security+ I went through the Learning Path for Azure Fundamentals, intending to take the AZ-900 exam. I highly recommend the Learning Path; very easy to digest, some nice interactive labs, and encourages you to get hands on with a free Azure account. Of course it’s a very high level overview of Azure, very little in the way of specifics or actual configuration, and little bit of a sales pitch at times, but great as an introduction to Azure and general Cloud concepts. Having not done any Cloud stuff previously, either in terms of study, lab or work, I really enjoyed it and feel like I took away a new-found appreciation for the Cloud.

I chose not to take the exam however, even though I’m sure it would have been a handy enough one to pass. I intend to take the Azure Administrator Associate later this year off the back of how interesting I found the Fundamentals material, so didn’t see the point in paying €120 for a cert I’ll supersede in a few months.

Next up though is Red Hat Certified System Administrator. As much as I would love to get stuck into the Azure Administrator Associate, or start on the new CCNP tracks (which look great!), I want to do something that is more relevant to my current position, and continue the theme of rounding out my knowledge. My Linux skills suck. I can get by; build Linux VMs, install packages, configure networking, basic troubleshooting and file management. But beyond that, it’s very alien to me. I want to change that. We don’t have a large Linux footprint in my work environment, I would say 10% of our servers are CentOS, but getting better at Linux will still help me in my day-to-day job and look good on the CV. And while Azure and CCNP certification were certainly be good career wise, my current work is neither Cloud focused or a Cisco shop, so has less benefit to me currently. Azure Administrator and CCNP are definitely on the cards after the RHCSA though.

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