There’s one thing that’s become clear throughout this #ProudToBeCertified series. One of the most critical success elements in a tech career is a willingness to put in the effort, time, and training to learn new skills and technologies.
According to a 2020 IDC white paper, technology professionals who believe that continuous learning benefits their career have what’s called a “growth mindset.” The study shows that it’s incredibly important to stay current for those in a long-term career. Of those with certifications, 91% believe that the effort they put into acquiring new skills strongly contributes to their success – not just the skills themselves.1 In other words, dedication can ultimately add personal and professional value in a rapidly evolving technology market. Let’s take a look at two individuals whose growth mindset helped them through long-term careers. Both credit their certification journeys for their continuing success over many years.
Watch Tammy and Charles-Henri’s #ProudToBeCertified stories
“I'm so happy I made the decision I did many years ago to get certified.” Says Tammy Schwark, an IT Pro/Consultant, “It's the best thing I could have done.” For Tammy, her learning journey began 25 years ago when she was working as the Microsoft Exchange administrator for a hospital. She found out a male peer in a similar role at the other hospital in the same city made significantly more money than she did. While unfair pay gap was upsetting, it fueled her to do something about it.
Having already earned one Microsoft Certification, she was determined to do more by getting additional training and pursued another Microsoft Certification. She started off studying on her own, then she turned to study books and guides as well as the exam outline. “The biggest piece, of course, is working with the product, right?” She confirms, “And that's what I would continue to do over the years.” It was hard work, but she passed, and she says that getting an early certification “opened up doors for me, big time.” Soon she was offered a job in Bermuda, where she lived for two years before moving back to Canada. She continues to support the company in Bermuda, along with their office in Florida, while also pursuing continuous career growth.
As she moves forward in her career, Tammy leverages Microsoft resources to help her keep up with the rapid change in technology. Microsoft Learn has been a critical resource and learning tool, and the Microsoft Tech Community is where she says she found her inspiration. To colleagues looking for a similar connection, Tammy advises they share, collaborate, and celebrate their certification journey: “Get out there in the community on Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever, and find those people. Follow the products that you think you're interested in. You'll eventually learn how to follow the people who work with those products, from the MVPs to developers or IT pros. Just immerse yourself in it.”
“If you have been in IT for a while,” says Charles-Henri, an MVP data platform & technical leader, “you certainly went through the big shift that was the transition to the cloud.” He remembers well how that shakeup brought home for him the need for continuous training. “There is nothing that evolves faster than IT,” he says, “especially the cloud. I know today's knowledge will be obsolete by tomorrow. That's why I'm counting on [Microsoft] Certifications to let me know what knowledge I need to keep up to date.”
For him, continuously learning has provided stability and respect in fast-changing times – especially when it comes to his livelihood, “These certifications” he says, “have really helped me earn my customers' trust as a consultant and in general, they give me a lot more confidence and assurance in my own knowledge.” They also provide a valuable planning tool to maintain his mastery. “Ever since Microsoft updated Microsoft Learn,” he says, “learning new technologies has become much easier thanks to the lab, the sandbox, and the learning paths, which are really thorough on the Microsoft Learn site.” Charles-Henri has earned many certifications during his career, and he is determined to keep learning – that way he can stay on top of the rapidly changing technology and continue to grow throughout his career.
No matter where you are in your tech career, success is as much about determination and dedication as it is about learning. We’d love to hear how hard work and a growth mindset has paid off in your career. Tell us how you keep learning and growing in your #ProudToBeCertified story. Check out more #ProudToBeCertified videos and submit your story on Twitter, LinkedIn, or your preferred platform with #ProudToBeCertified.
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