I’m a regular reader of the Bible and one of my favorite sections of scripture is Proverbs, in the Old Testament — probably because it reminds me of the things I should avoid doing ... again. A proverb is a short and often popular saying that “effectively expresses some commonplace truth.”
We can learn a great deal from familiarizing ourselves with many of these ageless adages. For example, take the proverb, “For Want of a Nail.” It’s a great proverb that reminds us that forgetting a small thing can cause a failure to accomplish a big thing. Authorship is unknown, but it’s been around since at least the least the 13th century. There a number of versions, the most popular being the “knight” variation:
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
Truthfully, in all endeavors, it’s the small things that seem to matter. One instance of a small thing working correctly and preventing disaster occurred Jan. 24, 1951, when a B-52 Stratofortress broke apart in mid-air over Goldsboro, N.C. Losing the plane was bad enough, but what got newly elected President Kennedy excited was that the payload — two four-megaton Mark 39 nuclear bombs — separated from the aircraft and fell to earth.
The parachute of one bomb successfully deployed causing it to descend gradually and land upright in a tree. Air Force personnel moved in, breathed a collective sigh of relief and loaded it on a truck.
The parachute of the second device failed to open, however, causing the bomb to land in a muddy field at close to 700 miles per hour. Fortunately, the bomb “mostly” disintegrated — without setting off its conventional explosives, which would have resulted in the nuclear core exploding.
When the recovery team located pieces of the second bomb, in what must have been the Mother of All “Pucker” Moments, they noticed that three of the four firing switches had clicked to the “arm” position. Thankfully, the fourth switch remained in its “safe” position. Had it also armed, the blast would have been 250 times greater than the Hiroshima bomb, and instantly vaporized everything within a 17-mile diameter.
Experts estimated that a successful detonation would have resulted in a radioactive fallout zone that stretched north past Philadelphia. Fortunately, the very small firing switch performed as designed and prevented a swath of our country from being rendered uninhabitable. One can only imagine the disruption to the lives of millions of Americans, to say nothing of upheaval in government.
While the Air Force did recover most of the second bomb, they didn’t get it all — one of its nuclear cores was buried somewhere between 100 and 200 feet and deemed unrecoverable. That’s right, one of the nuclear cores is still there. The Department of Defense now owns the field and has elected to leave it unmarked and unfenced. No construction of any sort is permitted on the site, though they do lease it for farming.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to rely on a nuclear firing switch to protect you, but the rule of small things also applies to your IT career. Regardless of your dedication, hard work and interest in IT, certifications do matter. According to a CompTIA report, hiring managers like to see certifications on an applicant’s resume. Employers use certifications in five ways:
- To assess the skills and knowledge of a candidate.
- Saves time and resources to evaluate candidates.
- Confirms knowledge gains of a candidate.
- Supports ongoing professional development.
- To match the need of professional training.
More frequently, it’s the one with a certification who gets the job. If you are serious about a career in IT, then it’s time to get serious about certification and the best place to start is with TestOut courseware. To date, TestOut has trained more than one million students and given them the skills needed to progress in their education and careers. Don’t let a missed certification be your “horseshoe nail.” Get certified today.
About the Author — Calvin Harper is an associate editor for GoCertify and a veteran of the publishing industry. Calvin is suspicious of any lease that permits farming on government-owned land.