Scott Lowe, who is a well know IT contributor, recently released a post about his 2016 Projects. While I don’t have any intention of writing a book this year his post did get me thinking about what I’d like to work on this year and what goals I want to aim for. Truth be told it’s been something that I’ve been thinking about since the Xmas period but I’ve been having a bit of a writers block for the past month so I’ve only gotten around to this now.

So here they are, the goals I’m making myself accountable to for the next 11 months.

1. Blog more

Last year was my first real attempt to blog regularly and I have to admit that it was sometimes hard to find the time to write down all the blog ideas I have in my head. In total I published 56 blog posts on virtualnotions which is actually more than I had expected at roughly 1 a week. This year I want to build on the foundation of last year and work at releasing more content. One thing I really want to ensure is the quality remains high. I was a bit surprised by the buzz I got from posting some new content and seeing the readership rise for various posts. The site traffic jumped around March of last year and steadily grew for the remainder of the year. The number of visitors isn’t going to break any blog records but it’s been satisfying watch it grow and has provided encouragement to keep going.

2. Get back on the certification trail

During the past couple of years I’ve let this aspect of my career drop a bit. This is largely down to motivation and starting a family. Having kids, as I’m sure many are well aware, really destroys the free time that existed before kids. Now that they are growing and most importantly healthy, I want to put some focus back on certifications. I know for many certifications are seen to be unnecessary but I’m using them as learning tools. I’ve expanded my knowledge over the past few years into different technology and the key certs I will work on will be to further expand and solidify my knowledge in those areas. The ones I’ll be working towards are CCNA DC, NetApp NCDA and re-certify for VMware VCP. I want to also start working towards VMware VCAP-6 which I want to complete next year. All of these certs are big undertakings but once I get into the study zone it should hopefully make it easier to complete a few of them in succession.

3. Community participation

Earlier this month I was extremely fortunate to be nominated as a Cisco Champion, a community program run by Cisco. I really want to expand my community participation and be more active in the local Melbourne community at events like VMUG. I really believe that it’s a responsibility to give back to others within IT when you reach a certain level. As part of this I want to partake more in events which will force me outside my comfort zone and I want to be a guest on a podcast and also do a least one public speaking event.

4. Get better at presenting

As a follow on from number 3 I really want and need to improve my presenting skills this year. By my nature I’m an introvert and I also have a very thick Irish accent. Add anxiety into the mix when it comes to presenting and it’s a real melting pot of why you should not be a presenter. For both my own confidence and career progression I need to become more adept at presenting. I’m currently leveraging online courses available on Pluralsight to help improve and I’ll also begin to attend Toastmaster to build that confidence around presenting. The last step will be to actually get out there and present. It’s all about practice, practice, practice.

5. Learn to use Git and Puppet/Chef

I’ve had a bit of an interest in automation during the past few years and I’m setting this goal to ensure I finally learn how to use git. I’ve done small tasks in git such as commits but not actually taken on a project of any sort. I really want to get an thorough understanding of how to use git and then leverage tools such as Puppet or Chef. At the moment I’m not sure which automation tool would be suit me, that’ll require a bit more research. The goal with Puppet or Chef is to dive into automation and orchestration. I’m currently working with UCS Director which has in-built workflows but it’s a bit of a pig of a product and I’ve heard positive feedback on Puppet and Chef so I’d like to test drive them to see which is the best product to use. At the moment I haven’t set any project specific goals so that’s something else I’ll need to do.

6. No alcohol for a year

Like any relationship booze and myself have had our ups and downs. This year I have decided to stop drinking. It’s been funny so far how many people have asked what I’ve done to be forced to stop drinking. Most people believe it to be an external reason, namely my wife, as to why I’ve decided to not drink. In reality it’s been 100% my decision. I’ve been drinking since my early teens, and heavily drinking throughout my 20’s, so it’s time to take a break and let the body and mind recover. I’ll need a clear mind if I’m to tackle the above goals by the end of the year. I’m also treating this alcohol sabbatical as a social experiment to see how different social situations will now be compared to before and to force myself outside my comfort zone.

Most years I create a list of things I’d like to achieve throughout the year. Not necessarily New Years Resolutions but rather personal and professional things I want to improve on. I think New Years Resolutions are usually doomed to fail so I don’t want to lump what I want to do into that category. I’m looking forward to another interested and educational year.

 

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