Reflecting on Goals and Accomplishments as I Look Ahead to the Rest of 2023
I like to reflect and plan. I create short-term and long-term plans. I prefer to keep these separate, as otherwise I continuously focus on the same items every day and never feel like I have accomplished my long-term plans. With the year over halfway done, I felt like it was a good time to reflect on what I've accomplished professionally so far in 2023 and look ahead to goals for the remainder of the year.
Earlier this year, I focused on the Certificate of Cloud Auditing Knowledge (CCAK). I work heavily in SaaS security, and the cloud auditing knowledge I gained from studying and passing this certification hit the mark. This was a certification my CISO recommended to my team when we initially started in December 2021, and it felt good to finally get this one under my belt.
Another goal I set for the year was to get back the AWS certifications I let expire. So, a couple of weeks ago, I passed the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam and am ramping up to take an associate level one by the end of the year. Solutions Architect or Sysops Administrator are both on my list. With this solid foundation established and my hands-on experience, I feel confident I can pass one by the end of the year. I am also making this a priority to help with my employer's AWS partnership.
In addition to these certifications, I recently began my Master's degree program in cybersecurity at Central Washington University. Furthering my education has always been important to me. I am the first member of my family to graduate college, and I knew right away when I finished my BS degree that I wanted to get my Master's, but the timing wasn't right until now. Being that the program I am in is flexible, I am pushing to be done by the end of the year, or in early 2024.
Besides all of that, I have made several strides to work on things that might feel uncomfortable. For example, I created a video on SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM), presented to large groups of people on SaaS security, and took the initiative on tasks to be more of a leader (within the scope and reason of my job).
Looking forward, there are more goals I've set for myself. I want to ramp up my hands-on skills by completing at least two Python projects. Python is versatile for tasks like automation and data analysis, and I hope to build tools and applications that I can add to my portfolio.
Finally, I intend to begin to learn Terraform this year. Infrastructure as code is becoming essential knowledge, and I want to leverage it for my AWS and cloud projects.
So far, my accomplishments this year have positioned me well for success. But I can't become complacent. Continued learning, skill building, and setting realistic goals are crucial for advancement. With the right balance of focus and drive, I'm confident I can achieve my professional goals and be ready to hit the ground running in 2024. The future is bright, and I am looking forward to it!