2017 - the year in review

It's getting to that time of year where it's traditional to look back on what you've achieved and assess where you are, so I'll add to the flurry of blogposts.
This year has been a tough one for me personally: I had the joys of moving out of a house that I'd not even finished unpacking into, I had a bit of a personal health scare (nothing serious, but it hit on my sleeping for a while), and I lost my sole remaining grandparent. I'm hoping that the coming year is a little less of a bumpy ride.

Looking back at the more positive side of things: I'm now in a very happy relationship, living with the woman I love and we have amalgamated my 2 cats with her dog and it feels like we're a proper family. The internet connection where we live is awful, but that will be sorted in a couple of months and I can live with that.

On a professional level I set myself some targets in January. Let's take a look at those now:

  • VCP6-DT. Sadly this one is a miss: I left it too long, and the tech has moved on a lot since I last spent any time playing with it. Hopefully I'll get time to play with this again in the New Year.

  • Finally nailing an MCSE. I left this one pretty late in the day, as other priorities came along, but I passed the 70-744 exam yesterday, which combined with the other 3 (70-740,70-741 and 70-742) earlier in the year get's me MCSE Cloud Platform and Infrastructure. One thing I will say: despite me being a bit snobby about Microsoft exams and their value on the CV, these exams focussed on Server 2016 were tough. A LOT tougher than I was expecting, and I was very pleased to pass each on first attempt.

  • VCP6-CMA. This one was also a miss: I sat the course the week prior to VMworld and didn't have a great experience with the instructor or course materials, and seemed to sdpend more time in the vExpert Slack channel asking silly questions. I think I can pass on second attempt, but I need to spend more time working with vRO before I retry.

  • AWS stuff. I managed to chalk off the Developer Associate exam reasonably early doors thanks to the study materials from ACloudGuru and some chat with other peers, and then I was almost set for the Solutions Architect Associate exam (again, with training provided by ACG) when I was offered a 5 day Architecting On AWS course gratis through work - this was well worth attending (and I'd recommend it to anyone else considering the cert) as it helped to solidify a few pieces in my mind, and I passed the exam for this on first attempt. I've still got the SysOps Administrator to chalk off, perhaps with a little study over the Christmas break. More on that when I set my targets for the new year, which will be coming in a week or so.

  • The blog and podcast. The blog hasn't had as much care and attention as I'd have liked, as I've been so busy with other stuff, however the podcast has done really well (despite us recording far fewer episodes than we'd have liked). We've had some really great feedback to the community sessions we did at UKVMUG in November, and also a few people were a little surprised to see us interviewing Pat Gelsinger and Sanjay Poonen of VMware at VMworld. We've really enjoyed ourselves, and I'm sure we'll be targetting more big guns (and community sessions) in the new year.

Other than the above: I just wanted to run through the certifications I've achieved in the past year, if for no reason other than to make me feel better after a stressy 12 months: So from the start to the end of the year, here goes.

  • AWS Certified Developer - Associate
  • Dell EMC Certified Storage Associate (v3)
  • Dell EMC Certified PS Professional
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate
  • Microsoft Certified Professional (70-740 Installation, Storage and Compute with Windows Server 2016)
  • Microsoft Certified Professional (70-741 Networking with Windows Server 2016)
  • Splunk Certified User
  • Microsoft Certified Professional (70-742 Identity with Windows Server 2016)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate: Windows Server 2016
  • Splunk Certified Power User
  • DellEMC Specialist - Cloud Architect, Cloud Infrastructure Version 2.0
  • DellEMC Expert - Cloud Architect, Cloud Services Version 2.0
  • DellEMC Specialist - Technology Architect, Isilon Solutions Version 3.0
  • Microsoft Exam 744: Securing Windows Server 2016
  • MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure — Certified 2017

There's a whole bunch of DellEMC SE type bits too, but I'm not counting those. The joys of being a partner of the world's largest technology company means I needed to do tons of new stuff this year :) - fingers crossed it's enough to bag me a trip to DellEMC World in the new year (right, boss?)...

Needless to say, I've learned a whole bunch of stuff in the past year, it's been challenging at times but I wouldn't have it any other way. Here's looking forward to another year of challenges to be met and conquered!