Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in cloud computing, virtualization, and networking, all with an open source view

Looking Ahead: My 2013 Projects

In early January 2012, I posted a list of my 2012 projects. Those projects included learning to script in Perl, learning German, becoming more familiar with Xen/Open vSwitch/OpenStack, and pursuing CCNP. In late June 2012, my mid-year project update let you know that I was dropping the Perl efforts, but sticking it out with German, Xen/OVS/OpenStack, and CCNP. (I later dropped Xen in favor of KVM.) Finally, in early January 2013 I graded myself on my progress on my 2012 goals. In this post, I’d like to take lessons learned from my 2012 projects and apply them toward my list of 2013 projects.

As a quick summary, here are some key “lessons learned” from my 2012 projects:

  • The synergy of the projects does make a difference. I should try to find projects that are related and that support one another in some fashion.

  • Projects need to be more tightly defined. Projects that are overly broad will have mixed results.

  • There are still some fundamental building blocks that I need to reinforce.

With the conclusions listed above in mind, here is my list of 2013 projects and—in some cases—some proposed goals for which I’ll be aiming.

  1. Continue to learn German. Obviously, this is a continuation of my 2012 project to learn to speak German. This year, I’ll need to re-evaluate ways to enhance my motivation, and find additional ways to reinforce the information I’m learning. I don’t have any specific goals in mind for this project, although that is something I’ll be evaluating over the course of the year (I do agree that clear goals—something I didn’t establish last year—can help with progress.)

  2. Reinforce base Linux knowledge. This is one of the “fundamental building blocks” that I needed to reinforce. I’ll be focusing on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and RHEL variants, since that seems to be what’s most commonly found in enterprise deployments today. My primary goal here is to be able to do most anything that I need to do without constantly having to look up a “how to” guide; a secondary goal that I’m considering (but haven’t decided upon) would be to look at a Red Hat-focused certification (like RHCE).

  3. Continue using Puppet for automation. This will be partly tied to #2. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that you can’t automate something you don’t fully understand, so as my base Linux knowledge is reinforced I will also be seeking ways to automate tasks with Puppet. As with my base Linux knowledge, my primary goal here is to be able to do most anything that I need to do with Puppet. I might consider Puppet certification, but I think that’s a long shot.

  4. Expand and deepen data center networking fundamentals. Making progress on CCNP was one of my 2012 goals, but it didn’t really fit in with the rest of my focus areas (which were almost all centered in the data center). To help improve the synergy of projects, then, I’ve decided that my networking focus should be DC-oriented. This also ties in nicely with my new job role at Nicira/VMware. My primary goal here is simply to be more knowledgeable, although over the course of the year I will consider pursuing CCNA-DC.

So, that’s my list of 2013 projects. I’m sure that I’ll have a few side projects here and there as well (for example, there is a book project and at least one video training series project on the books for 2013), but the projects listed above represent the majority of my technical focus over the coming year. I’d love to hear your feedback—am I missing something important? Are there ways I could further improve the synergy of the projects? As always, your honest and courteous comments are welcome.

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