What climbs have you been on since 2020?
It’s February 2020 and I am nearing a mountain peak in Spain. I am on my hands and knees climbing up now. My hands are slipping on tiny, jagged rocks and I am really struggling to keep my footing. I’m not Samwise Gamgee or Frodo Baggins and this isn’t Mount Doom – but it’s close. It’s been a several hour journey to get to here and I can’t yet see the landing – I just know it’s up there and I’m close. And it’s at that moment when I hear a voice in my head say: “This is hard – and it’s OK to give up.”
Record scratch, freeze frame: Yep, that’s me, attempting to get to one of the vista peaks of Montserrat. How did I get here? The basic answer: I was asked by a fellow team member, Olivier Proffit, if I wanted to visit and climb Montserrat after we wrapped the DevNet Zone at Cisco Live Barcelona. Sure, I thought, I love a good challenge… but we’ll get back to this…
Now, June 2022
It’s funny to think that moment was more than 2 years ago – that I’d board a plane back to the U.S. and somewhere between Frankfurt and LAX everyone was wearing masks. And suddenly everything was shutdown. And soon we were all shut in. Adversity all around us – we all nonetheless persevered. It took years, but we made the climb.
And now we are on the verge of kicking off the first in-person Cisco Live U.S. since 2020. And I’m super excited. Excited to re-connect with our community face-to-face; thrilled to hear everyone’s stories since last we met; but more than anything, I can’t wait to learn and to help others learn – see what mountains everyone’s conquered.
When we were leaving Cisco Live Barcelona in 2020, we were just launching our new DevNet Certification program, the exams being released February 24 of that year. It was an amazing achievement for so many that helped to build the program and it’s been wildly embraced by our community, from the DevNet 500 and beyond. A smile stretches across my face every time I see a tweet or post about a new cert – or an attempt – someone has reached their goal – a new personal/professional peak. And now that DevNet Expert Certification is released, we’re really at the top of the mountain.
Now, at this year’s Cisco Live in Las Vegas, I’m excited to continue to connect our community with their goals. I’ll be hosting 2 sessions in the DevNet Zone – both are focused on getting started with DevNet and DevNet Certifications. Each session will have 3 parts:
- How to get started if you want to move into automation and coding
- Resources that are available to study and prep for DevNet Certification; and finally
- How you can help organize your own teams to build software and programmability skills.
And for those not able to attend the event in person, please find an existing talk I have on this subject on the DevNet Snack Minute.
It’s my sincere hope that I can be a guide – that my experience could help make your journey a bit easier. We all have mountains we’re climbing – some are personal, some are professional. And I think it’s always helpful to have a map, a friend, and a reason to take the first step. The rest isn’t all downhill, but it sure does make it easier when you run into challenges along the way.
Which reminds me…
Such Great Heights
So back to the mountain and this nagging voice saying: Hey, you can quit – no one will hold it against you. I think that’s a moment probably everyone’s encountered. Where the desire to give up meets your drive to complete. It’s a scary moment. I could hear other climbers, somewhere up above, encouraging me. I was just running out of gas.
And then a new thought occurred to me – the kind of clear realization that hits like a wave –that the next step was no different from my first – it just seemed harder because of how far I’d come and how close I was. The weight of finishing was holding me down. You came all this way, I thought, that’s an achievement already. Every next step is an achievement, every pebble a summit.
So, I got to the top. And it could have been the adrenaline, but I wasn’t tired. Just sitting on top of the world, fists in the air like Rocky. What was impossible just a moment before – was totally doable. I just had to keep moving.
I hope the same holds for all of your goals, too. You might be looking at getting into coding or earning a new certification; you might be looking to try something new or learn a skill; or you might just be standing in front of a mountain. It’s daunting, it’s hard, and trying – it can be exhausting – but give it a climb. The first step is an achievement already. And every step after is just as important.
I can’t wait to see you all at the DevNet Zone in Cisco Live and hear your stories of impossible, improbable success over the last 2 years – achievements, accomplishments, and attempts – I’m all ears. And I can’t wait to see what great new heights we’ll reach next!
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