I’m a newcomer to the field of IT. My background is publishing and I confess that I’m little more than an ink-stained hack. My job mainly entails reading about and listening to people much smarter than I, and then hammering out articles on various IT topics. Think of the fabled 1,000 monkeys banging away on 1,000 typewriters.
The more I learn about the field, the more amazed I am at how pervasive IT is in all aspects of our modern world. There are literally tens of millions of people learning about and working with IT. Since I also work in IT, I figured that I ought to learn something about the field. In April 2015 I decided to pursue TestOut’s PC Pro certification. I eagerly signed up for the course and jumped into LabSim. Things started out well, but it wasn’t long before I was confusing my Parallel Port with my PS 2 Keyboard Port. (Don’t even ask what happened with my RJ-45.)
Clearly in over my head, I remembered that discretion is the better part of valor and decided to live to fight another day. I kept telling myself that I would just take a short break from PC Pro — after all, I still have a teenager at home and he can fix my computer when needed. Unfortunately, the short break grew from one week to several months. At first I felt a bit embarrassed and kind of lazy. (I hoped my wife wouldn’t remember my boast of becoming an IT professional.) Pretty soon, I was able to justify being too busy hammering out articles to spend any more time with PC Pro.
It’s been a year since I took my short break and I’ve stayed busy, but just like Tantalus, I find myself gripped by a familiar desire to reach out and grasp the PC Pro certification that seems to lie just beyond my fingertips. I was a bit nervous about trying again — IT is still intimidating to me. But then I happened to take in a presentation by Noel Vallejo, TestOut’s CEO. He was speaking at the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at Brigham Young University.
Vallejo said it was the fulfillment of a dream for him to speak there. He told of how, as a student, he once had a job cleaning the chalkboards in that particular campus building. It was an early morning job, 4:00 am, and he would listen to cassette tapes of former guest speakers.
While listening to the tapes, Vallejo picked up a lot of useful information about being successful in business and life, but one message really stuck with him. One of the speakers spoke of failure and said, “I give you permission to fail. Many in your life will tell you not to try something new, but trust yourself. I give you permission to fail.” Those words stuck with him, Vallejo said: “That message gave me the courage to try.”
When the time came to go into business for himself, Vallejo put knowledge from the lectures and his own business smarts to good use. Through tireless effort and sound judgment, he parleyed his initial investment of $5,000 dollars into a business that has grossed more than $157 million. His accomplishment is impressive, not just in terms of money, but also in terms of the number of lives he has touched and helped to make better.
I’ve never been able to work for a man if I don’t respect him. Fortunately I respect Noel Vallejo — and I figure if he could have the “courage to try,” then so can I. I’m going to accept that I also have the right to fail, and the courage to keep on trying. I know it won’t be easy, and will require lots of study outside of work, but I’m going to pick up where I left off with PC Pro. And this time I’m going to succeed.
About the Author — Calvin Harper is an associate editor for GoCertify and a veteran of the publishing industry. He is equally conversant in the films of John Wayne, and the TV episodes of Homer Simpson.