One Size Does Not Fit All
There are a variety of paths to a Technical Architect role. The skills and experience can vary and there is no one size fits all when it comes to the path taken. I am presently a Senior Linux Engineer, so for me, the next level is that of an Architect. Why you may ask? Because I want to be able to not only support infrastructure, but I want to be the creator, the professional that designs what that infrastructure will be.
My road to tech was not traditional and I always chose the non-traditional path from choosing a career in Linux and contributing to Open-source. There are very few black women in technology (see details on my upcoming webinar on this topic October 26th) and I knew that I wanted to take the less traveled path, because not only do I have a deep passion for technology but I have never backed down from a challenge and accepted what is the perceived status quo.
My Chosen Path
I wanted to be able to prove my knowledge and therefore my value and I wanted the greatest challenge because I figured if there was a struggle in my efforts and I came out on the better side of it, the more I would appreciate the accomplishment. As I have alluded to before in previous blogs, I have to pass seven exams to earn the designation of RHCA. You just don’t come by the RHCA easily.
Once I decided to pursue the RHCA, I knew that success was not likely to come if I did not map out the course I planned to take to get there. I studied to focus on a hybrid concentration which means I have decided to pull exams from more than one area such as Open Hybrid Cloud, DevOps, Containers, Openshift, Redhat OpenStack Platform, Linux Mastery. The exams that I have chosen are as follows:
- EX 407 – Red Hat Specialist in Ansible Automation
- EX 318 – Red Hat Specialist in Virtualization
- EX 220 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Hybrid Cloud Management
- EX 342 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Linux Diagnostics & Troubleshooting
- EX 280 – Red Hat Certified Specialist in Openshift Administration
Exam Study Topics
I have discussed the EX 407 exam, which I am presently preparing for in much detail. Automation is a critical element and having a deeper understanding of Ansible allows me to automate an infrastructure intelligently and effectively.
The EX 318 exam is a performance exam that focuses on the ability to create, deploy, and manage Linux virtual machines using the Red Hat Virtualization Manager. Some of the study points of this exam include configuring storage domains, virtual images, working with logical networks, creating virtual machines from snapshots.
The EX 220 exam focuses on performance-based validation of Red Hat CloudForms skills. I have to demonstrate knowledge needed to deploy and manage a virtualization infrastructure using Red Hat CloudForms. Some of the study points for the exam include provisioning virtual systems, creating volumes and assign them to virtual machines, using cloud-init to customize virtual machines, configuring CloudForms databases and network settings, connecting to Red Hat Virtualization infrastructure provider, etc.
The next exam that I have chosen is the EX 342, which tests the ability to analyze Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems for common issues that may cause degradation or loss of performance and either correct the issues or gather forensic information. Some of the study topics in this exam include troubleshooting boot issues, recover corrupted files, identify and fix ISCSI issues, managing kernel modules and their parameters, collecting system information to aid in troubleshooting, etc.
And lastly, my road to the RHCA will never really be over, but my journey to the RHCA I, ends with the EX 280 exam, which is a performance exam that tests the knowledge, skills and the ability to create, configure, and manage a cloud application using the Red Hat Openshift Container Platform. Some of the study topics include configuring Openshift Container Platform node properties, configure resource limits to projects, deploying an application from a Git repository, editing and importing application templates, and installing Openshift metrics, and creating Openshift users, and a few others.
I chose these particular exams because I believe they cover some important topics and require I provide I have applied knowledge of them. Also, I believe that these are sound technical specialties in infrastructure which will be extremely important in my role as an Architect. Virtualization and cloud computing represent at least 75% of the data centers today. The exams align with the knowledge I want to possess as I ascend.
What does it truly take to become an Architect?
The IT/Infrastructure Architect role is to drive change that creates business opportunity through technology innovation. He/she will shape and translate business and IT strategy needs into realizable, sustainable technology solutions whilst taking end-to-end solution delivery ownership from idea to benefits delivery. IT knowledge, design knowledge, sector knowledge, and consulting knowledge are key skills and so I chose a more hybrid exam path to get to RHCA. You will have determined your own reasons for the exams or path you choose, but definitely, don’t take it lightly and give it some serious consideration.