Posts Educational Sabbatical

Educational Sabbatical

The time has come… I’ve officially left a well compensated and perfectly stable career to follow my long time passion of software development. I’ve been coding for well over a decade, but not entirely at a professional level. About a year and a half ago I began trying to round out my skills with deep study so I could hopefully make a smooth transition. Well, that was hard to do while working 50-70 hours a week. What the 1.5 years of intent did accomplish was illuminating just how much stuff I needed to go learn and it also helped me narrow the focus on what to pursue; which is a lot…

Oddly, my objective changed from “getting a software development job” into “taking the rest of 2021 off for deep self study”. Luckily, I can afford to do that and is probably the only way I’ll reach the bar I’ve set for myself anytime in the near future.

Learning Objectives

Given the crazy world we live in, I have decided to put Security at the heart of everything I am doing. This is a large deviation from my typical cowboy ‘just solve the problem’ methods. I will be backing this up with actual certifications; see Cert plan below.

The next focus has to be Cloud, because its where everything is headed (more like already there) and I’ve only had minimal exposure to it over the years. However, there are a lot of players and you really can’t count any of them out. So, I’ll actually be learning AWS, Azure & GCP. I haven’t decided which of those I will specialize in yet, but it is abundantly clear that developer level knowledge of all 3 is important.

I already have a lot of breath in the area of programming languages, but really don’t consider myself a professional at any of them. I originally wanted to master several of them and some new ones like Rust/Java, but eventually realized spreading myself that thin wasn’t actually going to help me; I have to truly master 1 of them and the rest just become dialects with special caveats… So, the primary focus for mastery will be C#/.Net with a secondary focus on TypeScript/Node.

Finally, there is the seemingly impossible decisions of Platforms, Stacks & Supporting Architecture. Clearly establishing that C# was the primary language helped solidify ASP, Entity Framework, WPF, and Xamarin. However, I absolutely love Angular and was happy to see that it plays well with ASP. So, I’ll be trying to master Angular from the .net and node perspectives. Architecture is a little abstract, but microservices and distributed systems is a necessary focus. Which will include extremely deep dives into Docker, Kubernetes and load balancing.

Being a traditional Windows user, I have an underlying goal to learn (in depth) other Operating Systems too. I have added a 4 port dual 4k KVM switch so I can actually use Windows, Linux and Mac effectively. I’ll be including highly generalized->advanced OS training for Mac/Linux on this journey.

eLearning Weapons of Choice

To accomplish my extremely lofty goals, I need curated content; YouTube is NOT going to do that! Being unemployed, I have to do this efficiently and cost effectively. Below are some general impressions and money saving tips on some of the eLearning platforms I’ll be using.


These guys do sales constantly and you do get a certificate of completion link for wherever you want to share it. The problem with udemy is that you have to do a lot of research to figure out which classes are worth buying. Some of them are the best courses you’ll find anywhere on the topic and some of the are worse than the average YouTube content. All courses live & die per their user rating system so the “good courses” are regularly updated; more frequently than on any other platform. Tip: you can often get the best deal by using the links from the websites in the instructor profiles.


This is the best money I’ve ever spent! I am pretty sure I’ll be maintaining this annual subscription for many years to come. Every course I’ve been through has been fairly top notch. Some of it is dated, but I’ve found immense value even in the stuff I’ve watched that was 7 years old; it seems like they very strategically retire/replace old content. Tip: they regularly do 33% off promotions. You can typically find the links for them on DevopsCube


These guys are kind of niche, but they are quite entertaining. I am slightly mixed because they are accomplishing their goals a bit too well. For me, I want a major data download from content. My favorite courses are where every word was chosen carefully to deliver some new important detail you don’t want to miss. I don’t get that from ITProTV, but what I do get is the perfect format for passive education. If your not in a hard core learning mode, then its perfect for learning topics your not overly excited about or general vegetational programming. This is basically my new Netflix… Tip: sign up for their free account and wait a while, you’ll start getting promotional offers. I finally bit when I saw one come in at 50% off.


I haven’t been using this service long enough to really speak to its quality, but my interest in them had to do with all their competitors being very expensive. You’ll find a common trend of people telling you to go with “BigBox” if you can afford it, but immediately saying WhizLabs “is okay” if you can’t. Well, the BigBox option would be incredibly expensive due to the number of certifications I am after. WhizLabs gives you labs, practice tests and trainings for a $100 annual subscription! I still found a 20% off code. So, regardless of their quality, their breath and price point make them a must-have…

Certification Goals

There is a term, which is “paper tiger” and it basically means you were able to pass exams, but can’t really perform the work. I think this is a fair concern for employers and was a concern of my own given the scale of my objectives. However, one thing I’ve learned over the years, you never stop having to do a bit of research to put your background knowledge inline with your foreground knowledge. If anything, you really just do less of it based on whatever your more recent experience has been. With that said, the plan below should give deep context with a wide breath. With all that to draw on, I am assuming I’ll have what I need to adapt and perform. Time will tell…

Here is my insanely over eager list of exams I will or hope to have passed by 01/31/2022.

Azure: AZ900, DP900, AI900, SC900, CDA Azure: CSE
Certified Cyber Secure Coder  
Certified Application Security Engineer (.Net)  
Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Associate Certified Cloud Security Associate
Professional Scrum Developer  
Node App Developer  
Node Service Developer  
Docker Certified Associate  
Kubernetes: CKAD Kubernetes: CKA, CKAS

Blog Hiatus

I would like to find time to talk about the best sources of information I used on the various topics, but I have a very busy schedule. If I am going to reach my goals, this blog cannot be a time vampire. So, maybe you’ll get some posts about the best parallel programming courses on Udemy (I’ve watched most of them), but maybe not…

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