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Introducing the #NikemaLearns DevOps Blog Series

Introducing the #NikemaLearns DevOps Blog Series hero graphic

Jan 15, 2021 by Nikema Prophet

I am geeked out about learning! I get enjoyment out of adding to my knowledge and pushing at the edges of my comfort zone. While continuous learning is important to me, It’s easy to fall out of practice when work and family time demand a lot of my attention. Part of what excited me about joining the Armory crew was the culture that promotes a growth mindset, experimentation, and psychological safety. One of our employee perks is an educational budget that we can use for professional development.

Since Armory is offering to invest in my education, I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity to level up my skills and learn on the job. I see value in documenting my learning in public with a blog series, and that’s what I’m announcing today. My hope is that my fellow technologists (especially developers) who are new to DevOps will see me wobbling about on my training wheels and feel encouraged to learn more about this field for themselves.

Person swaying with books stacked on their head. Pencils and writing utensils in the background. Text: Always Be Learning

Always Be Learning

My Starting Point

I started out making webpages on our family computer as a kid and tech has been part of my life ever since. What I love about our industry is that there’s always more to learn, there’s always the next level. As I discover more about myself and my aptitude, it has been a fun challenge to see which areas of tech align the most with my natural abilities and interests.

I have the most exposure to programming (in a variety of languages) and front-end development (HTML, CSS, JavaScript). I’ve dipped my toe in lots of things; I’m not an expert in any of them. I consider myself a language-agnostic generalist. My relative inexperience with cloud computing and DevOps triggered my insecurities in my early days at Armory. I accept that It’s normal and natural to be wobbly when taking on something new. Starting in a new role and feeling like everything is new is nerve-wracking. It took me a minute, but I’ve started to settle in to remember who I am.

Cartoony, anthropomorphized, cloud literally making it rain dollar bills.

Nikema’s sidenote: There’s a lot of money to be made in this industry and you don’t necessarily need to be a programmer 👀. Don’t forget the wide variety of tech roles available for you to pursue.

I trust myself enough to know that I can learn new things and I can do hard things. After investing a few hours into getting up to speed in this new domain, I realize that I’m coming in with more than a blank slate. I have peripheral knowledge and experience. My pre-training self-assessment is that I’m an advanced-beginner. I’m solidly in noob territory but I know a couple of things.

My Objective

My first milestone objective is to earn the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification. I chose this certification for several reasons:

  • I had a false start to this learning in public blog series because without enough structure, I struggle to stay on task. With a popular certification, I can easily find structured study plans off the shelf.
  • I needed a confidence boost. Learning something new and having the receipts of my progress (the blog series and the certificate in this case) is my approach to combatting impostor syndrome. Also, Cloud Practitioner is the foundational certification, it feels well within reach of my starting point.
  • The more familiar I get with cloud infrastructure and DevOps the more comfortable I’ll be in my role at Armory. I’m looking forward to having a deeper understanding of what we do and how my work serves our vision to “unlock innovation through software.”

I have access to O’Reilly study materials and the online learning platform provided by AWS. My first step will be to take the practice exams. In my next post, I’ll have a more defined study plan and a projected testing date.

The Format

Every other Friday I’ll publish a blog reflecting on what I learned and what I did in the preceding weeks. I haven’t decided on the exact format for these posts yet, but I’m aiming for the standard of “really good notes” as defined by Joel Hooks.

Let’s Go!

I’m excited to get back into focused and structured learning. Not only will I learn the foundations of the AWS cloud, but I’ll also get to practice what mentor-in-my-head Angie Jones calls “working out loud.”

I aspire to be a developer advocate and building a public body of work is how I intend to prove I’m capable of that role. If you want to follow my learning journey on social media, I’ll be using the hashtag #NikemaLearns to talk about it with links to each blog post.

Originally published on nikemaprophet.com

Featured Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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