Forging a Certification and Training Plan for 2019
OK then, you know the drill. The holiday season is almost here, with 2019 following immediately thereafter. That means it's time to do a little thinking and planning about your career and certification plans for another year. What does this mean?
Listen carefully, dear reader, and I'll do my best to give you the broad strokes involved in putting a plan together. It's a tale in three parts, past, present and future. Here goes:
Keeping Old Certs Current (The Past)
For many a reader, the idea of a certification portfolio is more than a metaphor. It reflects their current situation, in that they've already acquired one or more cert credentials that they may wish to keep up-to-date.
That means digging into each certification's maintenance requirements, many (if not most) of which include renewal, continuing education, or recertification. There's still a bit of 2018 left, so if you have such requirements to discharge for this year — and I hope you do not, for your sake — then you still have some in which to get this done.
On the other hand, 2019 is coming on quick, so you'll also want to check what's on the docket for next year. Do you need to discharge some continuing education requirements? If so, then check out your options. Often a bit of reading, research, or writing work will get you over that hump, or you can find a conference to attend where classes on offer can help you meet Continuing Education Unit needs.
These days, online courses of the MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) variety can also help meet these requirements — check your specific cert's discussion of qualifying items to make sure — so you may even be able to get this behind you by traveling no further than sitting down in front of your PC.
Finishing Up What's Already Underway (The Present)
As 2018 draws to a close, for those with certs in close pursuit, there may still be time to add to one's certification portfolio before year's end. The holidays do bring with them a degree of extra time off work.
Such "free" time, for those with the inclination and the motivation, can be at least partially occupied with study, preparation, practice, and perhaps even a trip (or two) to a nearby testing center. From a planning perspective, what's already in process may take precedence over what still lies ahead (as discussed in the section that follows).
Deciding What To Pursue Next (The Future)
Certainly, if you're working on some specific certification already, then it should come first and foremost in planning for next year. If you start by finishing up what's already in process, you'll clear the decks for next year's training and cert planning.
Chances are good you've already got your eye on your next certification (or two), but if not, you might want to start by checking out the various certification and salary surveys so readily available online. GoCertify's sister publication, Certification Magazine is a great place to start poking around for targets, if you need some information and inspiration.
(Disclosure alert: I've written many, many articles for that publication, and was on the masthead from the late 1990s through the 2000s.)
Once you acquire your next target(s), you'll want to investigate the various preparation options available. If training is required — as it is for some, though not all certs — then you may want to investigate your employer's possible support for the costs involved (or not, as the case may be).
If training is in the 2019 cards, you'll need to investigate and plan for the costs involved, attendance dates, and all the other little details that must be taken care of before you show up for class (online, or in the flesh). Ditto for acquiring books, online classes, practice tests and all the other bits and pieces that go into cert preparation.
If you start now, you may even be able to find some end-of-year or holiday deals available. Training and certification providers are not immune to the allure of holiday budgets and spending either, don't ya know?
With objectives in mind, and plans in place, you can and will be ready for what 2019 has in store. Take advantage of this opportunity, and 2019 may offer smoother sailing than usual. Have a great (certification) year, and happy holidays, too!