Learning new things

From time to time I start looking at things outside of UC. Generally I will explore a new area, it will seem great, and then it will get technical. Initially I will welcome the challenge and be eager to learn something new, but as I dive deeper and deeper I get increasingly frustrated because I don’t know what I’m doing, and generally new terminology just gets thrown out as if I’m supposed to know what it is. At that point, I get overwhelmed and will just sit it down and walk away and go back to the safety of my UC environment that I know and love.

The problem is that I will never grow if I don’t put in the effort to learn more and expand my knowledge.

Being in the IT world, I have some foresight into future technologies and how they will affect multiple industries, including my own. So I have a good idea of what I will need to know, so I start to look into it, and BAM! Overwhelmed.

So the question then is, how do I get started into these topics so that I don’t get overwhelmed? Classes don’t help. I’ve been working on my bachelor’s degree with Purdue and I can tell you that going into a school expecting to learn much is a bad idea. School is similar to basic training in the Army. It’s there to give you the foundational knowledge that you will need to get into your career, and not much functional knowledge that you will use on a day to day basis.

This really boils down to how do I learn? And where can I find relevant materials to learn in that manner? Personally, I learn by doing. I just jump head first and start figuring stuff out, then when I hit a roadblock, finding the answer is what motivates me to learn. I can’t just sit down and start reading a book and expect to learn. After about 2 pages, my eyes are seeing the words, and my mouth might even be speaking the words, but my brain isn’t paying any attention. However if I’m looking to solve an active problem, I can pick up a book and read 5 pages on the exact topic I need to know, and comprehend, understand, and remember every word of it.

I said all of that to say this:

I’ve started playing around with AWS, including Amazon Connect, EC2, and a few other services offered by Amazon. I’m considering the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam, which is the foundation level certification, to start. I took a practice exam, and having not studied it AT ALL, was able to score an 80%. I think with a little practice, I could nail this exam and get started down an AWS track that can coincide with my Cisco certificate track, as well as my degree. If you haven’t looked into Amazon Connect yet, and you’re a Cisco Collaboration type person like I am, go check it out and see for yourself how this is going to change the industry. We need to get on the cutting edge and start learning this stuff ASAP.

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