There are two different ways to approach tech.
One – hyper focus, dive deep, and turn things on end to know it inside and out.
Two – jack-of-all-trades approach by understanding just enough to have a conversation, but not deep enough to architect a solution.
To be successful there needs to be a mix of both and even better working as a team of professionals that fine the places of sytle one and two complementary.
I just finished up a hyper focused journey into Linux in order to prepare for my Red Had Certification System Administrator exam. I have not been able to verify, but the numbers floating around that there is a 50% failure rate for the RHCSA and 70% of the RHCE.
When I heard those numbers I was teriffied, but after the test, I saw it first hand and know that the numbers are not that far off.
I knew the minute I shut down my environment I passed. I walked out of that room with my head held high and knew that I did not really need the results. I was the ONLY one in the room that felt that way.
What I did right:
- I studied to be a good Linux System Administrator. I did not just study for the exam. A smattering of the extra material I studied:
- Linux Under the Hood
- Troubleshooting the Bootup Process
- Tuning the Linux Kernel
- Learning RHEL Networking
- Understanding Regular Experessions
- Linux Security using SELinux
- Linux Performance Optimazation
- Bash scripting
- Creating useful CRONs for the home network
- Pixibooting, kickstarting, command line VM creation with KVM. I spun up so many machines!!
- Set up my own NFS server to practice automounting.
- It was on my timeline. I did not take the advice of others on how long they studied, rather I dug in and once I felt I was 70% there I booked the exam to push me the final mile.
- I found an expert and consumed everthing that offered on the subject. I found that I clicked with the way Sander Van Vugt trained. He was training me for my future career, not to take a test.
- I practiced. Let me repeat that, I PRACTICED. Way more than I thought I needed to. I was dreaming about partitioning, permissions, and commands. I practiced until my hands knew what to type before my brain finished reading the question.
Now my focus is on the next targets. I am split between two targets at this point. I find that there are two skills that are manditory in order to participate in the system engineering space.
One – Automation. I spent a lot of time studying Saltstack and now I am switching over to Anisible to take the next step with Red Hat and get my RHCSE. I will treat it the same way I did the SA exam, this will be a deep dive that ends in me not only nailing the exam, but having the knowledge base that is deeper than required.
Two – Cloud. In this case, I am looking at the leader in this area and an AWS cert. I know there are several cloud providers out there and each company makes their choice based on their needs, but many cloud skills will transfer across platforms.
The final target?
I am focusing on becomeing a Red Hat Certified Architect. I love this stuff. The last time I had such fun deep diving was when I programmed. I often eqaute programming like learning math for the first time. Everything is overwhelming. There are new words, symbols, and ways of thinking, but once the language is required it is beautiful and elegent.
Seeking beyond the easy answer is not common. I may not know a needed skill today, but if I need to know it, I will know it well. I come to the table prepared to participate and give genuine input.
Now I am off to study for the next two certifications. In the process I will be looking for a company that understands who I am and knows what type of asset I will be for their team. Maybe I will be reaching out to yours. 😉