Wait, it’s 2015? 0

2014 is now over — what a blur!  With 2015 firmly upon us I wanted to take a moment to update everyone with some of my recent accomplishments, as well as my pursuit of VCDX certification and other technological feats.  I have been *very* busy in the last 6 months.  So much so that my blog has unfortunately had to take the back seat while I work towards learning new technology and reaching towards my goals.  This is a trend I am hoping to reverse as I gain traction on my upcoming tasks.

Mid-2014 to 2015

Virtual Design Master

The last half of 2014 is one that I am very proud of.  I was blessed with the opportunity to take part in the Virtual Design Master (http://virtualdesignmaster.com) online technical design competition.  For me it was truly a life-changing event.  After four grueling challenges I somehow emerged victorious as the winner of the 2nd season.  The competition was very tight, and all of the competitors should be patting themselves on the back for a job well done!  As part of the prize package for a 1st place finish, I am receiving sponsorship from Rene Van Den Bedem (also known as @vcdx133) to aid in my pursuit of the VCDX certification.  This sponsorship is exactly what I have been needing!  It serves as a constant motivation for me to finish what I have started and not let the community down.  I want to help add to the success story of Virtual Design Master and the community as a whole.

The staff, judges, and sponsors behind Virtual Design Master are truly top-notch.  Angelo Luciani, Eric Wright, and Melissa Palmer have really turned the competition into a gem for the entire IT community as a whole.  Kudos my friends!  I am looking forward as to what they have in store for us in the near future!  (Psst… I am always looking for ways I can help give back as well!)

VMworld 2014

Only a few short weeks after the Virtual Design Master competition was over, I was on my way to my 4th annual VMworld conference in San Francisco.  This has always been my favorite technical conference, as the community and atmosphere around VMware is simply phenomenal.   It always proves to be a very educational trip, while at the same time presenting many opportunities to network with other well-known professionals in the field.  2014 was no let down.  I had the chance to meet most all of the contestants and judges / staff behind Virtual Design Master.  It was great getting to shake hands in person!

While at the conference I also had an opportunity to meet and talk with Rene (my sponsor mentioned above) at a VCDX bootcamp session.  This session has paid dividends.  In fact, I learned so much in the one-hour long session that I ended up scrapping my previous VCDX work altogether and started again from scratch!  This time, I am building everything from the ground up  and using a matrix-driven approach to ensure everything is tied together properly.  I cannot say enough kind words about Rene.  The man is literally a living fountain of knowledge.  I also learned many intangibles from my brief conversations with him — such as how to manage your time effectively during the defense, how to use a whiteboard as a weapon, and how to quickly step through any troubleshooting scenario using a clean and concise spearhead approach.

At the vExpert / VCDX party Rene gave me a VCDX pin.  He told me to hold onto the pin and put it in a place where I can look at it every day to serve as inspiration.  It is funny how something so small can be such a motivating force.

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Amazon Web Services re:Invent 2014

After returning from VMworld, I was on cloud nine, but it was time for me to change my focus towards a different type of cloud.  When I got back into a “normal” routine, I found myself faced with many ongoing projects at work that directly involve architecting on AWS.  My professional drive constantly pushes me to become an expert in the technologies I work with on a daily basis.  As such, I took full advantage of the opportunity to attend the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas.

Four out of the five days I was there I took certification exams.  Earlier in 2014, I had earned the Professional level certification for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect track (leveling up from the Associate level).  After a long week, I have emerged with possession of every current certification that Amazon has to offer.  I now hold the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator and the AWS Certified Developer certifications!  I also sat the beta exam for the AWS Certified DevOps Professional certification.  My badge has grown tremendously!

AWS Combined

re:Invent is another very worthwhile conference.  It is ripe with technical content at all skill levels, and offers attendees a chance to be present for many new service announcements and releases.  There is definitely an electric atmosphere at the conference.  The AWS community seems to be a little more tight-lipped than the VMware community at times as it relates to social knowledge sharing.  I am not sure if this is because strategies for deployment on AWS are seen as advantageous for start-ups, or if the community is still reaching its maturity.  Nevertheless, I highly recommend attending next year if you are at all interested in public cloud computing.

2015 is in my sights!

Now that 2015 is here, I have a renewed sense of energy to turn myself loose and chase my professional dreams!

will be submitting for VCDX defense by the April 1, 2015 deadline.  I missed the deadline in December 2014.  Why?  Due to my decision to start over with my design — making full use of the new skills I acquired while attending VMworld.

will be making a more concentrated effort on spreading my knowledge out to the community.

will be fully pursuing any new AWS certifications as they are released (looking forward to a “master” level someday).

will not let work fully consume me and take away from my family time.  After all, my family is what is most important in life.

Here is to 2015, the year of excellence!