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Learning better – A case for certifications

June 26, 2022
Learning better – A case for certifications

Why it’s important to structure your learning goals

My certification journey started six years ago, with little to no experience it only seemed like the only way to validate my knowledge. I had been coding for the 5 years prior to that but my experience was scattered all over the place, there was nothing I could look at and graciously smile acknowledging my knowledge in it. After noticing just how I was a jerk jack of all trades and master of none, I decided to focus on one thing and be good at it. Here came the learning problem, yes I knew what I wanted to learn, and I knew how to learn it but because there was no incentive structure around it, I just found myself aimlessly wondering in tutorial purgatory.

Tutorial purgatory occurs when one is so engulfed with tutorials that they forget to actually apply their knowledge

Tyler Devon

Udemy the culprit and the hero

As a developer, I am almost certain that whoever is reading this has at least one unfinished course on Udemy, don’t worry there is nothing strange about it, you are not alone. In order to break from Tutorial Purgatory I made sure that whenever I started a course, I would finish it. The day I discovered that Udemy would also give you a certificate of completion for some courses, I was elated because at least there was an extrinsic incentive to finishing what I started. Building on those blocks I managed to add a little bit of structure to my learning. My skills started to improve, I published my first proper app to the play store, got a better understanding of the cloud and life was good.

Learning paths

What you don’t finish is the same as what you don’t start. Reading aimlessly is a sure way of not understanding anything, whenever you set out on a journey of learning, it is important to have some sort of end in mind. In most cases, this is not necessarily getting certified but could be building an app, deploying something to the cloud, building a machine learning model etc, the important thing is there should be a deliverable.

Incentive-based learning

As you build out your learning path with an end in sight, you will notice how the structure itself will push you to stick to the plan.

Sticking to the plan is how you learn

That Boy

In two years I have managed to get five professional certifications, three from Amazon Web Services, one from Google and another from Neo4J. The question is “Tinashe do you need all these?”, no I don’t. Huh, so why waste time getting them?. To me, all these have been a learning path incentive, I love the cloud, and I enjoy tinkering with it but I don’t use it at all in my day job as an Android Engineer, the only way I could learn more about the cloud was to do it in my spare time. Having an incentive is what made me study long hours for these certifications whenever I got some downtime.

So what am I saying?

I honestly don’t know too😀, but here are some short takeaways from my experience.

  • Certifications give you a structured way to learn something.
  • If you treat them as an incentive for your learning, you will most likely finish what you started.
  • Build out a proper learning plan, don’t just aimlessly start learning a new thing every day.
  • Sticking to the plan is how you learn.

Posted in Development, Software Engineering, Technology
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5 Comments
  • Pascal

    We are learning. Wise words bro.

    6:52 am June 27, 2022 Reply
  • Tapiwa

    Thank you, some wise tips there.

    8:44 am June 27, 2022 Reply
  • Tasha

    Great read! Thank you for sharing.

    11:18 am June 27, 2022 Reply
  • Nick

    Thank you for always being an inspiration brother and taking time to share all the knowledge you have !

    2:45 pm June 27, 2022 Reply
  • Adebiyi Sharon

    Thank you for sharing!
    This came at the right time, I needed to read this words.
    You are a treasure.

    9:51 pm June 27, 2022 Reply
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