“The only thing more dangerous than someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, is someone who thinks they know what they are doing”
These words of wisdom came from a past mentor, and they really stuck with me throughout my career in Information Technology. We work in an ever-evolving field, where staying up to date with the bleeding edge of technological progress can be daunting. It’s an important aspect of the job, however, and I believe it always will be. We’re never going to get to a point where tech just stops changing, so we need to keep learning along with the changes.
This is the heart of why training, and through it certification, are important. There are those who will say that certifications are “just a piece of paper” (interestingly a throwback to a lesser technological time when we printed these out and hung them up). I defend the process, citing that through training and certification, we can generally more accurately gauge a person’s technological aptitude.
This aptitude is important in our field for many reasons. Chief among them is adaptability and tech savvy. It would be ludicrous to expect every technician and engineer to know the deepest ins and outs of every operating system and application by heart. However, though training we can come to know, at the very least, the generalities of these components. Knowing how something works at the basest levels is the best way to begin troubleshooting it when it inevitably breaks.
Additionally, seeking out training and certification shows a dedication to learning. And as I’ve said, in this field, we must always be learning, or we risk being left behind. Specifically, for me, my Amazon Web Services certification has become invaluable in moving my career forward from a technical standpoint. That, and my VMware Certified Professional certification prior to it. The knowledge gained from the coursework leading up to getting these certifications itself was a great boon, arming me with information that might only have been gained otherwise through trial and error or multiple failures. When we take training seriously, it prepares us for break/fix or troubleshooting scenarios. We go into problem situations with advanced information that could save us time in getting a client back to an operational state.
While it is possible to be an outstanding IT professional without any certifications, I believe with technology moving so fast, having them is an indicator of a dedication to knowledge. That dedication is, in many cases, the difference between someone who thinks they know what they are doing, and someone who does know.