Monday, January 24, 2011

School Daze

I know it's been a while since my last post, but I've been really busy studying lately. I recently obtained another certification. I'm officially a VCP (VMware Certified Professional). For those of you in the induustry, I'm sure you know it's kind of a big deal. I worked my butt off for a few months and all of that hard work paid off in another great accolade.

I've been in the field for about 13 years now. I did not finish college. I decided to go the military route instead. I became one of The Few & The Proud. I became a United States Marine. When I was done with my military obligation I transitioned into civilian life very easily. I started off as a network technician. I was doing basic server installs, along with switch and router setups. Nothing too crazy, but I wanted more. I decided to get some certifications so I could move up in the world. Like many IT guys, I started with my A+ Certification. I then moved on to Microsoft, and followed that up with Cisco certifications. I passed at least a dozen tests in a little over a year. For each one, I did some reading. Mostly those 2-3 inch study guides you find it the Computer section at Barnes & Noble. I complimented this with some good old fashioned hands on experience. I wanted to make sure that when I passed a test, I knew my stuff inside and out. I didn't want to just be a paper certified guy.

Fast Forward a few years. I'm still passing certifications because in this field, you need to keep pace and learn new technologies. I feel that studying for each test helps me learn critical technologies as well as have my work validated by some initials after my name and some fancy logos on my resume.

As most of you who follow my blog know, I hate my job. I have very valid reasons for this but rather than bitch about it some more, I'm just trying to move on. I recently was contacted by someone who found my resume online. We talked for a while and found out that we had a lot in common both professionally and personally. We both were in the Marine Corps. In fact we were in the same unit. We also were both IT guys with a few years experience behind us. This fellow Marine was a Systems Admin at a hedge fund. He was looking for another guy to help him out and my resume was the first one that popped up. I aced the phone interview and was invited to come in for a face to face. I aced that one too and was one of the final three candidates for the job. I met with the CFO, COO and Head Software developer. Everything seemed to go well and my fellow Marine was ready to hire one of his own. Then, things changed.

It turns out that this hedge fund requires a college degree for all of it's employees. It one of their main requirements. Unfortunately I was passed over for the position even though in the words of their Systems Admin, "I was the most qualified candidate, hands down.". It really got me thinking, what good would a computer science degree even be at this point? I would have graduated almost 10 years ago. The current technology at the time would have been Windows NT/2000. It's all obsolete now.

My question to you is, what separates someone with a college degree? Does a degree mean you are smarter than I am? It may, but I do not think so. I should not be penalized for knowing what I wanted to do in life very early on. I always knew I wanted to work in IT. Ever since the day I fixed my first Nintendo. I really enjoyed analyzing the problem and coming up with a solution. Since I knew this, I became an IT guy as soon as I could by joining the Marines and I haven't looked back. That doesn't mean I stopped learning. In fact, I would say I've learned more than the average college grad. It's just been much more specific to what I love.To this day, I can honestly say I've learned something new every single week that I have been in the field. I strive to make myself a better Admin/Engineer every day, by trying to learn new technologies. I want to be the best at what I do. For much of my career, I can say that I have been the best and I continue to show why now by learning new things even though it's not a job requirement (Although I think it should be).

In the end, I think I'm more upset that I was the best choice for this position but because of a piece of paper, I was passed over.