Much of my career has been focused on network administration and network engineering. I won’t say that I have ever specialized in any one given aspect of network engineering, but I will say that I have gotten the most enjoyment out of routing and switching. I think the reasoning behind that is that many high-level concepts of routing and switching have seemed fairly straightforward to me. I am not a big fan of being confused (even though I typically have a confused look on my face) and many of these concepts and technologies, while some difficult to grasp and learn, really seem to stick once they are there. That’s probably what I mean by saying “fairly straightforward”. I am by no means saying “networking is easy”. I typically need to take a fair amount of time and effort to learn and retain new concepts. Earlier this year, I took on a systems architect position and shortly after that obtained the CCNP Enterprise certification. I then found myself asking, “alright, where do I go from here?”.
There were a couple of factors that helped me answer that question. First was stepping into more of an architecture role. It had been a goal of mine for a while to become more strategy and design focused as an IT professional. I wanted to provide value by trying to help bridge the gap between business and technology. Sometimes that will be directly related to network infrastructure, and sometimes maybe not. Also, in October of 2021, we interviewed Eyvonne Sharp on Episode 68 of The Art of Network Engineering podcast. Eyvonne gave some advice that has stuck with me ever since. I’m paraphrasing here, but the idea is that you get to a point in your career in which to continue to grow, you can either “go deep or go wide”. The premise behind this is that it might make sense to either highly specialize with a narrow focus or to spend more time generalizing on adjacent topics to what you have been used to in the past. While I’m passionate about network engineering, I don’t see myself specializing heavily in any one given technology (not at this point in my career at least). Given where my career has taken me, I’ve decided to spend some time going off my familiar network engineering path. Don’t worry, I’m still a network infrastructure lover through and through, I just feel that given my role and what I want to be doing on a day to day basis, I can provide more value if I start at least getting familiar with IT concepts that are not necessarily focused directly on the network infrastructure itself.
Given its enormous presence over the last number of years, I’ve decided to start getting familiar with cloud concepts. Now, I want to be clear. I’m not looking to get deep in the weeds and jumping in feet first into a particular vendor and pushing all of the cool buttons. I had found that I had not been able to really even explain what “the cloud” is or keep up with others in high level conversations about cloud computing. I just thought that the cloud was purely “someone else’s data center”. Now, it can be that, but it is also so much more. I also had no idea what RPO and RTO meant (I’ll be covering some of these topics in this series). I felt that needed to change. I wanted to find a learning path that focused moreso on high-level concepts, both technical and business related. I wanted to start building a foundation. To assist me down this path, I landed on preparing for the CompTIA Cloud Essentials+ certification. So far, I have found that preparing for this exam has been a decent entry point into learning about high level cloud technology and business principals. This blog series will cover concepts that I am, and have been covering along the way. The goal of these posts are twofold.
- I have found that either writing or speaking about topics I’m learning help solidify knowledge for myself.
- Hopefully others will find these posts helpful. We’re all in the “thing” together. It’s all about the journey.
To round this post out, I want to share the materials that I have been using to cover the curriculum for this exam.
- CompTIA Cloud Essentials+ Self-Paced Study Guide
- CompTIA Cloud Essentials+ CertMaster Practice
- I acquired the above two as a bundle with exam attempts included
- CBT Nuggets CompTIA Cloud Essentials+ Online Training (Yay for Cloud Bart!)
- Pluralsight CompTIA Cloud Essentials+ Training
- Anki Flashcards – creating cards and reviewing often
As you may have seen me post on Twitter many times, I love to #LearnInPublic. Join me as I start my journey of banging my head against the cloud.