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As a Senior Digital Designer, I’ve carved out a career doing something that I’m good at and love doing. While I appreciate what I’ve been able to do, I’ve reached a point in my career where I’ve maxed out my ceiling as a Graphic Designer. This has led me to realize that I have to make a career transition. The word transition may be a bit of a stretch. In my current role, they’ve tasked me with performing duties that don’t just align with graphic design and are more along the lines of Digital Marketing/Product Manager. While I’m more than capable of doing the job (I ran the Marketing department for an International Corporation and a previous employer while Management was in transition), I’ve realized that this company needs to expand my fiscal growth opportunities within the organization. I have no issue doing the job of management, but I would like to be recognized and compensated for that job, and that wasn’t happening in this situation. This was a complicated situation because we were beginning what was to become a pandemic, and I feel truly blessed to have a job where I work from home (eventually, that story may make the blog).

While I feel blessed to have employment, I want more for my life and family. I’ve reached a cap on what I can earn as a designer, and it does not reflect my level of experience and knowledge. Having a wife and two children, I make it a practice to always progress in life, and one of our primary progression tools as a family is education. In our household, education is a priority that opens a world of opportunity.

In figuring out what to do about my situation? I decided to pursue getting additional education and skills training. This training would assist me in presenting my current skill set and filling in some gaps that I may not know I have. The issue was that the current cost for higher education is ridiculous, and the time it would take to get another degree doesn’t align with my current financial plan and timetable.

As a lover of all things tech, I have a wide range of interests. I’ve studied Cloud Computing. I’ve built websites using WordPress and AWS, and I’m also a solid website developer. Having previous experience in IT, I’m also interested in Cybersecurity and Networking. After a long look at what would work best for my situation, I decided to pursue a Nanodegree from Udacity. The cost is suitable for my case, and it allows me to add another tool to my toolbox without the investment associated with traditional education.

As I looked through the Udacity platform, I had to narrow down the best path for me. They have so many options it wasn’t easy to make a choice. As I went through the programs, I realized that the initial program that brought me Udacity many years ago was the Udacity Digital Marketing Nanodegree.

Since Digital Marketing aligns with position at the time, I didn’t feel like it would be the best utilization for me to reach my next career objectives. However, I like Udacity because they have a wide range of options when it comes to, as they put it, Radical talent transformation.

Looking through their program offerings is quite the journey. Since my interest is wide-ranging and vast, I decided to learn a skill to enhance and complement my current skill set. The good thing about Udacity is that you can take a class or two, or go all-in on a Nanodegree (equivalent to certification, in my opinion). So, I decided to take a few classes related to my ever evolving UX skill-set. I began with the Product Design course added Rapid Prototyping and UIKit Fundamentals. Then, knowing that I’m all in on UX/UI, I did the UX Design for Mobile Developers course. As a self-described tech-head, I was pleased to see that I knew many of the concepts and practices in these classes. This confirmed the wisdom in my decision to attend Full Sail University for my Bachelor’s degree. The training I received at Full Sail has more than paid for itself tenfold!

Having finished the bulk of Udacity’s UX classes, I then decided to pursue a Nanodegree. Knowing that I have extensive experience in UX/UI design, I didn’t think it would be beneficial to take the UX Nanodegree. I have skills on a Senior UX designer level, and I thought the Nanodegree would be repetitive. I also took a previous class on UX and didn’t want to double my efforts in this area.

One of the areas of technology that has been of interest to me has been Cloud Computing and DevOps. A few years ago, my wife and I went to an AWS Conference here in Atlanta, and ever since then, my interest in the entirety of Cloud Computing has increased. However, while I definitely see the value of the goliath, AWS, I also see Google’s Firebase platform and Microsoft’s Azure quickly make up ground.

During the heart of the pandemic, I found myself doing a lot more reading. One of the books that I thoroughly enjoyed was The DevOps Handbook by Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois, and John Willis. This book is considered the DevOps bible, and it describes how all types of organizations can employ DevOps, an Agile workflow, and why they can help them gain a competitive advantage from an IT perspective. Reading this book, coupled with my desire to learn more about Cloud Computing, led me to select the Udacity Cloud DevOps Engineer Nanodegree.

As a UX designer, I believe it’s essential to know the process flow that my designs take. Including before I touch them as well as after they leave my hands. The Cloud DevOps Engineer skill set can only serve to assist me with this. This Nanodegree also provides me with a new tool for my ever-expanding tool belt.

Udacity provides a great platform and environment for upgrading your abilities and achieving your career goals through education. As a lifelong learner and Cloud enthusiast, I view the pursuit of the Cloud DevOps Engineer Nanodegree as a win-win!