Dear CertMag is a weekly feature that addresses common questions about certification and related IT issues. Have a question? Send an e-mail to editor (at) certmag (dot) com.
Dear CertMag: I’m a network engineer with a job I enjoy. I’ve been working through a series of Cisco certs for several years now to build up my knowledge and stay current. I often come across notifications about conferences, webinars and other events. Being a bit of a lone wolf, I’ve never been very involved on that side of things, but I sometimes wonder what I’m missing out on. A lot of people seem to be very invested in certification communities. Would it be better for me professionally (or even personally) to step outside my familiar surroundings from time to time?
— Peter Chen, Reno, NV
Expanding our horizons is a desire built into all of us, whether our day job is to trek the Andes in South America for National Geographic, or to spend so much time with Cisco IOS that we have conversations out loud with the hashtag of the privilege mode prompt.
Each of us has a different level of risk tolerance and resources available to pursue some of these ideas and challenges. What do you want for yourself? Can you afford to pursue some of these areas of exploration — both money and time?
Define what you would like out of the experiences. Is there an area of technology that you would like to explore? Is one of those areas that you are interested in getting into strongly complementary to what you are already doing?
Information Technology has limited traction for generalists at the present moment, so you may need to be willing to consider these side-journeys into other areas for their personal benefit, rather than their professional (and monetary) value.