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IT Won't Kill You If You Fall

Posted by TestOut Staff on

One of our favorite movies of 2018 is the Alex Honnold rock climbing documentary Free Solo. It's one of five films presently in contention for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar, and a must-see for anyone who's the least bit intrigued by big wall climbing. If you haven't seen it yet, then check your local theater listings quick! There's a special one-week IMAX release that begins Friday, and this is definitely a film that would be more enjoyable on a massive IMAX screen.

Honnold, a 33-year-old Californian who not only climbs rocks, but looks like he might have been chiseled from one, is best known for his attempt to climb Yosemite National Park's towering El Capitan formation in 2017, alone and without ropes or protective equipment. That style of ascent is known as "free solo" climbing, hence the title of the film. In free solo climbing, you've got your hands, your feet, and some chalk dust for your fingertips. Everything else is up to you: skill vs. bare rock.

The obvious problem is what happens if you slip and fall? It depends on how high up you are, of course, but you don't have to be very high up for the answer to essentially be "certain death." Yes, free soloing is incredibly dangerous, and yes, a lot of talented free soloists have fallen to their deaths. Basically, you can't make any mistakes. And yet mistakes are an essential element of learning. Especially when adding new skills, it's axiomatic that you won't get everything right on the first try.

That's what's so great about the certification training that we offer here at TestOut Continuing Education. Our LabSim training tool lets you carry out actual IT job tasks in a virtual environment. If you make a mistake, then you'll have to try again ... but you won't have damaged or destroyed any expensive computer equipment. You can make all the mistakes you need to make in order to figure out what you're doing. It's a natural and effective way to learn that removes the element of risk.

Which, incidentally, is what Alex Honnold does, too. Before attempting to free solo El Capitan, Honnold spent months practicing his intended route with ropes and protection. (We won't spoil for you whether or not he pulled if off. See the movie!) There were plenty of mistakes and falls along the way, but you don't die from losing your grip on a hold, or not reaching or lunging quite far enough, when you're roped in. Want to excel in IT? Learn by doing — without doing real damage.

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