Embrace the Side-Quests
What are side-quests? In video games, they are tasks given to the player that have no direct bearing on the main story/campaign of the game. Completion of a side-quest often results in the acquisition of money, items, or unlocks another side-quest.
Careers in technology are filled with goals and side-quests. However, unlike video games, I believe career side-quests DO have a direct bearing on your journey.
For example, I am currently working on my cloud and devops skills, perhaps even sitting the exam for the Azure DevOps Engineer certification. Before I begin studying for the AZ-400 exam, I need to study for one of the pre-requisites. I’ve chosen the AZ-104 Azure Administrator exam. As I work through the areas of knowledge, I realize I really need to improve my networking skills. Right, fine, so I stop AZ-104 preparation to learn some networking fundamentals on PluralSight. I’ve been watching a great course by Ross Bagurdes called Networking Concepts and Protocols. When I get through the section on subnetting, I realize that this is important and I want to dive in a little more. Fine, pause there, and watch another great PluralSight course by Ross called Network Layer Addressing and Subnetting.
Whew. To summarize, my current side-quest is AZ-400 -> AZ-104 -> Networking fundamentals -> Subnetting. Once I finish up the networking fundamentals, I will get back to working through the AZ-104 material and I’m sure there will be more areas I will want to pause and dive a little deeper.
My point is, you should always be prepared to take side-quests because it means aquiring valuable skills. Be patient. Embrace the process. There is a literal infinite amount of knowledge to learn, so focus on a direction, and understand the journey is part of the quest.