Path Planning

I tend to at times predict where ‘things’ in general are going – it’s part of planning. Monitoring, matching strategies to progress and applying actions as necessary to reach desired goal posts.

The goal posts for me in many aspects are always changing, they are static for weeks / months or even a few years, and they’ll change shortly after.

Take for example, education – I planned Certificate III and figured – I’d go into Helpdesk or PC builds with a local joint, and see what goes from there.

This didn’t actually occur- instead, I got Cert III, and figured “that wasn’t difficult”, and then thought about where I currently sit – I’m not exactly old, so there’s no need to add to the list of employment, and whilst I am young, it’s very easy to add to education / skills.

With this in mind, I moved the goal bar forward for the next year, and aimed for Cert IV in IT – it’s acheivable. It might take some hard work, but it’d pay off. How wrong was I! It was ‘bloody easy’ and didn’t really give me much of a ‘feeling of acheivement’ with exception that I had a bit of paper that said I was Cert IV qualified.

The next goal post was easy to set. Diploma in IT – if anything, this would require hard work and strategy, to reach. Hardly. It was a few rainy nights at the PC punching out the word documents required after I finished work and on weekends.

Now – I’m Diploma certified and currently supply client support for a company that is fantastic in its flexibility to allow staff to work at home.

I like what I do at the moment, it’s a settling 8 hours a day, and then if necessary, put the extra work in to complete what is left, and call it a day. Work on my personal projects where the motivation and momentum exists.

Where do I set the goal posts now? After one reaches “Diploma In IT” you can only go to “Advanced Diploma”, or into industry specific certifications.

There’s problems with all this, when planning a strategy that will also advance my career with the company I am with.

I can’t go with any Microsoft specific items, such as MCSE / MCSA – worthless to say the least, but they aren’t useful with the current company (non Microsoft environment).

I can always go and get the CompTIA Linux+ certification – but that’s not exactly meaningful, it’s basic Linux, and I already know this anyway – much of the CompTIA skills are very basic items. This reminds me of the poor planning into Certificate III in IT.

Ideally, I want to advance within Systems Administration / Development. I like creation. I put a lot of tools in place that I use in my current job, to make it as efficient as possible (and I could always go further).

Anything language specific is good and bad – if it’s language specific, and later on, I apply for a language specific job, I’ll have the advantage with the resume already demonstrating skills in that language. It’s also a drawback – if I want to apply for a job in a different language, I’ll shoot myself in the foot with another ‘useless’ certification.

With uncertain times ahead, I need some flexibility in planning, so ideally, anything I choose to study further should be a ‘broad’ generalisation. Which brings me away from language-based certification, and back to the Linux or Microsoft argument. I forgot to add… Cisco – CCNA, it’s a possibility. From looking over the CCNA items, I would need to skill up in this, but it wouldn’t require significant study.

Linux – It’s a useful certification in the current company – the systems they operate are all linux based – Debian if I am not mistaken. So, CompTIA Linux+ is the most recognised accrediation I can find – yet it’s basic. It’s an exam, pass the questions, and ‘done’.

Microsoft – It’s not useful in the current environment, and many of the certificates are rubbish anyway – if you can’t setup a Microsoft Domain, then you really are lacking. But, the companies that employ staff obviously see staff of various qualities, from low end trash to high end quality. Clearly, they pay accordingly for quality staff.

I don’t put a lot into pay when thinking about a job. Yet, I must wonder how answers can be found to “How much do you want for this job?” – and this is a VERY tricky question. If the work is very simple (to me) – then should I still tear the arse out of the company for it? Of course not. But, if the work I provide is quality, when compared to others, then that’s a factor that should be considered.

My location restricts access to quality jobs such as Developer and Systems Administrator roles. It’s a tough ride to Sydney and back each day for that – and I’m not that flexible. I am not gonna piss away big dollars on fuel to get to and from work, and time to simply get a job that I’d enjoy more than a support role. It’s far from worth any extra income it would bring.

Then, I say that and think – How nice will it be to own a house?

There’s too much flexibility required in my planning to choose an education pathway for the coming year. I can add to my skillset, but what do I add? I can’t keep skilling up in Networking, otherwise I’ll be doomed to be a packet monkey because my resume makes a tough sell to Development or Systems Administration.

To push myself into those arenas, I first need a job opening (and thus far – one this year locally), and secondly, I need my resume to target me to such a job. Advancement within the current company hasn’t ruled itself out either – I could possibly advance into such roles, it’s not technically impossible, but the opening and invite hasn’t found its way to me.

I’ll have to ponder this one in more detail and determine what’s in store for the future.

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