This weekend: SQL Saturday, Providence, RI #sqlsat892

This weekend, I will be traveling out to Providence, RI for SQL Saturday #892! It will take place this Saturday, August 24, at New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, RI.

I will be doing my (still-relatively) brand-new presentation about ‘blogging! This is my third time speaking at Providence SQL Saturday, and my first time since December, 2017!

Come on out, check out my presentation (as well as a bunch of other good ones), do some networking, and have fun! See you on Saturday!

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Pursuing postgraduate education, part 2

“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”

Satchel Paige

“Moving me down the highway, rolling me down the highway, moving ahead so life won’t pass me by…”

Jim Croce

Only a couple of days after posting about pursuing additional education, some interesting things have come up.

In my previous article, I mentioned that my biggest stumbling block was financial, with schedule being the second biggest blocker. I may have discovered a solution to both issues. I did a little homework on Western Governors University. I had heard of WGU before — I have a friend who’s an alum — but I dismissed it, thinking it was a for-profit enterprise. (I’ll also confess that the possibility of it being a diploma mill also crossed my mind, but knowing my friend, who wouldn’t waste his time with that kind of scam, dispelled those thoughts.) As it turns out, WGU, is not-for-profit, accredited, and is 100% online. It’s a learn-at-your-own-pace program, and the price tag is affordable. I’m looking into possibly pursuing an MS in IT Management. I submitted a form saying that I was interested in more information, and I set up a phone appointment to speak with an enrollment counselor next week. We’ll see how it goes!

I also thought about other reasons as to why I want to do this.

For one thing, I feel like I need a new challenge. I wrote before about stepping out of your comfort zone to move ahead. Although this program is affordable and at my own pace, it nonetheless would still tax my financial and schedule resources. Additionally, despite all that I’ve accomplished professionally up to this point, I still feel that I am capable of accomplishing more. Not only would the degree itself fulfill that, but the potential return on investment includes opening more career doors.

Second, there’s a matter of keeping myself professionally relevant. I’ve written many times before that I’ve made an entire career out of adapting to my environment. As technology, job requirements, and our own skill sets change, so must we change along with them. Eugene Meidinger has written and presented about how difficult, if not impossible, it is to keep up with technology. As I come to terms with my own skill sets, I realize that I need to adapt in order to make myself more professionally valuable.

People often wonder what they need to do in order to get ahead, or at least maintain status quo. However you do it, I suppose the answer is to just keep moving.

Pursuing postgraduate education

I’m on a mailing list for the Albany Business Review, and I get correspondence from them regularly. This morning, I received an email from them advertising an advanced certificate program in data and analytics from Siena College. It got my attention, and I filled out the form link, saying that I was interested in more information.

Ever since I completed my Master’s degree, I’ve toyed with the idea of pursuing another postgraduate credential. I’m confident that I have the aptitude to pursue further education, but my main impediment is financial — advanced education these days is not cheap. There’s also a matter of life getting in the way as well, although given the right circumstances and the right program — a number of degrees can be completed online these days — I think I could juggle it and make it work. So at the moment, the biggest thing stopping me is trying to figure out how to pay for it.

I completed my Master’s degree in 1998. Back when I was in grad school, I discovered a few things about myself. Among them:

  • I love learning.
  • I love the academic environment.
  • I believe in education.
  • I love helping other people learn.

At one point, I remember taking a study break while sitting in the library at RPI, looking around at my surroundings, and saying to myself, “wow, it took a while, but I’ve finally become the academic bookworm my parents have wanted me to become.” I enjoy the academic environment so much that I’ve come to the realization that, given the opportunity, my top preferred industry in which I want to work is academia. I have no qualms about the career path that I’m currently following, but my only regret is that I did not come to this realization much sooner; I would’ve taken the steps — which would’ve been much easier when I was younger — to pursue a career in academia. Now that I’m older, that career path — though not impossible — is more difficult to attain.

I suppose it’d be fair to ask me why I’m considering another credential, whether it’s another Master’s, an advanced certificate, or even a Ph.D. Do I need another degree? Probably not. I seem to be doing pretty well with the accreditations that I have now. So why even think about it? Well, there are a few reasons.

As I stated earlier, I love to learn. In my opinion, there is no such thing as too much education, regardless of whether or not you have a piece of paper to show for it. Education is about much more than a credential; it’s about knowledge and learning, something that can’t be taken for granted, especially living in this era of fake news. And I’m always learning; I always will be. It’s impossible for anyone to know everything, so there’s always something new to learn.

In addition to a love of learning, I’ve also discovered that I have a passion for helping other people succeed — and that often occurs in the form of teaching. It’s why I’m so passionate about my SQL Saturday presentations. It’s one of the reasons why I continue with this ‘blog. At one point years ago, I was out of work and started a part-time teaching gig to hold me over. I enjoyed it so much that I continued to do it even after I landed a full-time job. Someone once said that life is not a competition; everyone should be able to succeed. I’m one of those people who believes that, and I’ll do whatever I can to make sure that people do succeed.

I’ll admit to having thought about what I would do if I ever decided to change careers. Every time, it’s always come back to teaching others. It was one of the main reasons why I took on that part-time teaching position way back when. It’s why I continue to speak at SQL Saturday and other presentation opportunities that present themselves. It’s why I continue to write this ‘blog. Another credential would likely go a long way in accomplishing that goal.

And if nothing else, another academic credential is another goal to shoot for, not to mention that it’ll look good on my resume — and on my home office wall.

So we’ll see if I ever decide to ante up and go for the additional credential. If it ever happens, it should be a fun time, and it’ll be yet another notch in my list of accomplishments in my life journey.