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Ella (she/her/elle) for The Ops Community

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What has been the best DevOps-related course or certification you've taken?

From @aigarspl to @bencgreenberg, we have Ops people (Humans Of Ops = HOOps 🏀?) at all stages of their careers in this community, and a lot of learning experiences to share.

Today's question is all about helping each other make the difficult decisions of where to invest their time and resources.

If you keep just one of the certs or courses you've taken on your DevOps journey, which would it be? And of course, why?

If you have any stories about the way the course changed your career, we would love to hear those too!

Top comments (7)

eriklz profile image
Erik Lundevall Zara

There is no specific cert I would keep, to be honest.

The reason for this is that I think real project experience in an area trumps any certs you have.

Certs are nice to show knowledge in an area instead of documented project experience, and also nice to have as a focus point when you study a certain area.

If you work for a company that needs a certain amount of people certified to qualify for some partner level, then they may reward you to take a cert for that reason also, perhaps with a monetary award.

Many years ago I worked for a middleware company who had many certs for different products of theirs. I worked in their professional services for 12 years and I did training with customers and consultants to prepare them to get certified. But I took none of the certifications myself, and no customer ever asked for a certification proof.

So I think in practice it serves as something to show knowledge in an area when you cannot show real life experience, to get a foot in the door. At least for development/ops/devops type of work.

ellativity profile image
Ella (she/her/elle)

Great perspective, @eriklz, thanks for sharing!

I'm curious: even if specific certifications aren't worth the paper they're printed on, are there any courses or programs of study that you would recommend to someone who is trying to get started in the industry or land their first work experience opportunity?

eriklz profile image
Erik Lundevall Zara

That is a bit tricky to answer, I think. A lot of things have been picked up on the way as solutions and ways of working have evolved. Reddit has a discussion thread about getting into DevOps which has some good suggestions to look at:

I think understanding devops culture and mindset is good to get an idea of what to strive for, some of the suggestions in the reddit thread covers those aspects. There are also multiple "devops roadmap" descriptions there, about areas to study.

I would argue that while these roadmaps cover a lot of good areas, thet tend to cover a lot. Also, it will be contextual as actual tools to use can vary a lot from company to company. The maturity of each company in terms of devops culture can also vary a lot.

In cloud space, learning software engineering practices, pick up coding skills in a programming language, learning about continuous delivery principles and some infrastructure-as-code and/or configuration management tooling is good.
Examples of tools/languages to pick up are git, Python, Terraform, Ansible. But learn about devops culture and mindset, continuous delivery, TDD and software engineering in general also. Tools can vary, mindset, culture and general principles and practices can be applied more universally.

Thread Thread
ellativity profile image
Ella (she/her/elle)

Thanks for such a thoughtful response to my question, @eriklz! That Reddit thread is so helpful, I'll definitely be sharing it with some other people I know who have asked similar questions.

I think your answer vibes with @the_cozma's reply above, also saying that it's important to be discerning about what you're learning. This is generally great advice for any career/industry, so it makes sense that it's also true for DevOps.

Lucky we have this space to share precisely these insights. Appreciate you being a part of it!

jatin profile image
Jatin Mehrotra

i completely agree with you on this @eriklz that certs will always help you to get a foot in the door but the real game is with real project experience in a specific area.

the_cozma profile image
Ana Cozma

I think with regards to certifications it's a matter of where you are in your career and what your expectations are from them.

When you start out in your career I think: it gives you basic understanding of some concepts you will be working with, it shows recruiters and potential employers you are serious about your career and professional development and it will make you assimilate the working knowledge faster. At this level the certification will of course not replace actual working knowledge, it just sets your foundation and it will be up to you how you proceed next.

When you move on in your career and already have working experience it could be good to get certified not for the certification itself but going through the documentation and preparation for the exam. You might learn new things and best practices. At this point you are just refining your knowledge.

What I would say is:

  • don't get certified for the sake of accumulating certifications (instead try to build a professional profile)
  • don't get certified on things you are not or will not use
  • certifications are not a must I feel. Try working on building a portfolio, do small projects etc those are a great way to learn something new or try something out

Just my 2 cents on the matter

ellativity profile image
Ella (she/her/elle)

It may be just your 2 cents but it is such real advice, @the_cozma! Certs for the sake of certs instead of building professional profiles makes so much sense.

It may seem obvious to some, but for fresh graduates who have been immersed in education their whole lives without a ton of work experience, chasing certification can become a bit of a comfort zone.

Thanks for this gentle reminder that it's important to build a professional profile, even without having official "work" experience: learning in public, contributing to open source, all these things can help fill in gaps in employment.