I gained most of my experience by doing and working things out. Quite often I was reinventing the wheel and discovering already discovered lands. Well, that gave me a lot practice, and no doubts, made me who I am now. But how could I actually proof my skills?
You can be a specialist… while being an amateur
It’s not a secret that I have spent major part of my life providing outsource IT support. This allowed me to understand different industries and make connections with different people. But every single time when the question ‘How did you learn all this stuff’ came up, my answer was ‘I have learnt it myself’. I was proud of it, and I am still proud of it.
I am proud because I could solve many problems without anybody’s help. Literally. When I was starting my IT journey, 15 years ago, there wasn’t the Internet at home (well, there was, but dial up one, goddamn expensive. And slow.) In addition I was forced to try different ways of solving problems, often I had to identify different hardware problems, or find a way to bring the OS back to working state.
When there is no solution given, you need to provide one.
Trying various methods means discovering new possibilities. And because you are doing, working out and learning new solutions, it is more than granted that you will retain the knowledge. Much longer than the actual only read knowledge.
We tend to follow one certain path, which we’ve been taught. Usually we don’t even try to question the path, if it is actually the best/easiest/fastest one. We take it for granted, and I think this is very wrong. Instead of finding something what really suits us, or at least improve the current situation, we follow one certain way. Like the lemmings.
Being self-taught benefited me a lot. But also limited in certain ways. I knew only areas which I really needed to know without going beyond ….
Certification will enwiden your views
After years of supporting different versions of Windows, I thought I knew it through and through. I couldn’t be more wrong. I was aware of everything what I have learnt (how ironic this sounds?) and nothing else. You don’t know how surprised I was when I started to study for MCSA certification. The whole new world of possibilities has appeared in front of my eyes! Unbelievable, how limited my knowledge was.
There are so many features and tools hidden in Windows you wouldn’t believe. I could get rid off so many 3rd party tools because most of them have been already included with Windows.
Certification will allow you to master the topic
You probably passed tens of exams in your life. Each of them proved your knowledge in certain areas. There is no difference in here.
There won’t be any doubts when you are certified
Take a look at this: we’ve got 2 IT specialists. One of them will claim that he or she can support Windows, recover data, made a migration to newer version of OS, configure the network and is proficient in office applications.
The other guy will tell that he or she holds MTA, MCSA, MCP, MOS and CCNA certifications which proves his knowledge. Which one sounds better and which one would you choose? For me, the choice is obvious.
I literally hated the part when I was meeting a new customer/employer and being questioned about my knowledge. Without certification you may look like an amateur, and therefore be treated as one.
This made me think, that despite my self-taught skills I had to provide a piece of paper regardless. “How ridiculous” I thought, “Why won’t ya just let me show you my skill” I said. Well, I soon realised that…
Certification improves your chances of getting hired
This is big. We all need to earn money, so we either try to get employed or get hired. When I had only my NVQ in computer science, I was getting phone calls only from people who heard from other people, that I was good. When I passed few IT exams, I started getting much more calls from people who just saw my CV, LinkedIn profile or my website.
This post wouldn’t be completed without this…
As you already know, I was studying for my MCSA Windows 8 certification over last year, and guess what, I did it, and passed my second exam on 9th of January 🙂 The exam was such a difficult one, I didn’t believe I passed until I saw the results. I scored over 85% and became certified, here is the proof:
You might ask what next? Well, I need to rest a little bit, I spent over 10 months to achieve this. Recently been in Barcelona, am planning to create a post about this with high resolution photos and story alongside. I will definitively start learning about servers as this has been my dream for many years. I also plan a post about how to prepare for IT exams, and successfully pass those exam, as I have already passed myself quite a few. So I know what I am talking about :).
I believe I have convinced you to my point.
Over the last years I was continuously developing my skills and knowledge which go hand in hand with certification.