Career path update

After a good bit of prayer, advice from friends, and a lot of thought, I've laid out a career path and set of goals.

Long-term goal: Senior Engineer/consultant in storage or virtualization or both.

I had also considered architect-type roles (not to be confused with archetypical roles), but decided that I'm not super enthused about going into a role that deals primarily with relationships. Not that I have a big problem with that sort of thing, just that people and relationships are not my passion, and long-term goals require passion. Learning and mastering technology, now there's something I have passion for. And in my relatively short IT career thus far (5-6 years), storage and virtualization have been head and shoulders above most everything else that has interested me..

So, to get on that route, what must I do? Why, certifications of course! Yep, I really enjoyed getting my MCITP:EA cert, and can't wait to start on the next round.

Here's my path:

Part 1: Short-term goals (present +2 years)
The reasoning behind this section is to gather a broad base of certifications and get exposure to as much of the areas I'm interested as possible.

This is done (7 exams over 5-6 months).
Optional extra under this is the Hyper-V certification (I think only one, and not R2 yet).

RHCT (Red Hat Certified Technician)
One exam.
This will be the most difficult of the four due to lack of exposure/experience.

VCP (VMware Certified Professional)
One exam, one 5-day course.
Have the books (and how!), just need to do the labs and the course.

CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
One exam. Reasoning behind this is a) I've already done the training for CCNA/CCNP, b) SAN = storage area network, and c) the CCNA is a great base with which to refresh my network knowledge.
Need new books/simulator.

NetApp ONTAP (I have a friend who's helping me with materials, it's a good intro to vendor-specific certs relating to SANs/storage appliances)
Employer-specific courses?
This looked interesting, though I've never heard of it:

Once all these are done I'd take a good look at my options and decide if it was time to start focusing on one area or the other.

Part 2: Mid-term goals (+2-4 years)
This section is to further focus and develop what I have learned in the previous part.

CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)
Three or four exams.
Only take this if storage networking is a definite path I want to go down. Or maybe just take it because the troubleshooting course is worth its weight in gold. Hands down the best course from my college program.

Datacenter operations or design, or both.
This is iffy, but would be good to have for the deeper knowledge of datacenter VMware stuff.

Written exam + practical exam.
Advanced Linux cert, would need at least two years' worth of solid Linux experience, but a great cert to have on my resume, and I'd learn a ton besides.

Part 3: Long-term goals (5+ years onwards)
By this point a focus should be in mind, so a choice for one or both of these certs is clear. At this point it's impossible and slightly foolish to say this is DEFINITELY where I'll be, because who knows. Good to know there are certs out there to shoot for however.

CCIE StorageNetworking?

Two exams, written and practical.
Learn more about this cert. Maybe there are others to look at first? This is loooong term...

This is more of an architect cert...but is, at the moment, the be-all end-all of VMware certs.

Anyways...long post, but I have felt such clear direction from the Lord on this - gotten me quite excited about the next few steps!


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