By Andrew Bettany, MCT, MVP 

  Guest blogger Andrew Bettany is a MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer), Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), training mentor, and author of several publications including Windows exam certification preparation books and video training materials for both LinkedIn Learning and Pluralsight.

Microsoft Ignite is crammed full of technical content, with more than 1,600 keynotes, breakouts, and theatre sessions. Instead of being another What’s new in Technology talk, my session was designed to inspire, challenge, and motivate IT Pros to act in ways that would move their career forward. 

My session—IT Pro to Cloud Pro: Skills Needed and Learning Roadmap—started gaining the attention of the attendees. Typically, theatre sessions attract 100 attendees, maybe 200, but four weeks before the conference, nearly 1000 attendees had added it to their session builder, and I was hyped! By the Monday of the conference over 2000 attendees pre-registered: that’s nearly 10% of all attendees and a big chunk of the IT Pro audience. 

What captured their imagination? Simply put, I told them to: Quit sunbathing, wax up your board, and start paddling. Surf is up! Have I got your attention? Here’s the deal . . .

Only a few times in our IT careers will we have the opportunity to surf the crest of a new technology wave. Over the last decade alone several waves have emerged for IT Pros to ride—PowerShell, Office 365 and Azure, with Microsoft 365 also starting to emerge. These disruptive technologies can change the way Enterprises embrace “IT” and our roles. By embracing and adapting to one or more of these technologies, we can ride the wave of change, feel the rush (and fear), and come through the process more in control of our future. Alternatively, we can stay safe in the middle of the herd, that is, until we are pushed out of the way . . .

To earn your place on the surf, you must commit to working hard to improve your skillset. The technology revolution is here, there is a lot to learn, and it will keep evolving. Once you start, it will be less daunting and much easier to stay up to date. Need proof? Ask anyone who currently uses PowerShell—they learned that in the last 10 years. Now look at how smug they are. 

So, my advice is: pick a topic that you want to learn and then head over to the Microsoft Learning website and start your learning journey today. In two months, take your first exam, and then repeat until you have your first MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate). Celebrate with a cold beer or glass of something fizzy, and then decide if you want to specialize by aiming for your MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) or broaden your skillset by tackling another MCSA. 

For my session, I was keen to signpost the learning paths and help available from Microsoft Learning. You may also find guidance from colleagues, local colleges, and training centers, and of course, from your peers here at Born to Learn.  

As a bonus, the session was selected to have a re-run on the Microsoft Ignite Studio stage. The Mechanics production team are serious about making knockout videos. It was a joy to be invited to present on their stage and be introduced by Jeremy Chapman.  

After you make the decision to change, you will be amazed how much more motivated, driven, and happier you will be.  What topics are you interested in? Share them in the comments below and let us know how you’re progressing and any feedback on your journey that will inspire others. 

Thank you, and good luck!