If the IT landscape were a forest, and tech companies were the individual trees, then you wouldn't have a very pretty picture. It's commonly estimated that nine out of 10 startup companies fail across all business realms, and startups are a huge presence in IT. The IT forest would be a peculiar one, with many impressively large and noticeably thriving trees, but many more fallen, rotting, burned out, or otherwise devastated saplings.
Another one bit the dust today when Doppler Labs announced a full shutdown of all operations. Doppler's signature product was battery-powered "smart" earbuds that could be used to literally tune out unwanted noise and enhance more desirable sounds. Because of technical complications, Doppler could never quite deliver the product it promised, and other tech innovators quickly improved on its initial ideas.
Because startup failure is so common, there's a lot of advice floating around out there about how to prevent it. One key nugget of wisdom is written into a Forbes.com article that advises entrepreneurs to expand their vision beyond individual roles. In other words, don't focus on what your "job" is and let everyone else worry about business processes. Your role in the company is larger than whatever duties are specific to your job description.
In a sense, the same type of thinking is vital to your certification efforts. The end goal of certification, after all, is not just to add a fancy acronym to your résumé. For most, if not all individuals who seek certification, the aim is to find better employment, become qualified to earn a larger salary, or some combination of both. And if that's your aim, then there's more for you to do than just figure out various tech processes and principles.
That's because your career is very much like a startup. And if your whole focus is on the product — improved knowledge of (topic of your certification) — then you won't be developing the other skills employers are looking for. Any job requires that you work with people, and you should be building up your people skills (oral and written communication, working well in teams, quickly becoming comfortable with new circumstances) with the same focus and determination that you apply to certification.
Don't let your IT career fall apart because you aren't paying attention to the bigger picture. Certification is important, yes, and your studies will require a certain level of concentration and application. You can't expect the other pieces of a stable IT career, however, to simply fall into place. Always remember that you are in charge of your own career development.
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