How Anderson Luis de Paula Silva earned all 12 certifications offered by the IBM Center for Cloud Training.
About 15 years ago, after he earned his first IBM professional certification, Anderson Luis de Paula Silva of São Paulo, Brazil received some advice from his manager that he still follows today.
“Keep going, keep going,” he recalls being told. “So today, I have 29 IBM certifications. This includes all 12 certifications offered by the IBM Center for Cloud Training (ICCT).”
It’s an extraordinary number, even for an IBM Solution Architect who describes himself as a “technology enthusiast.” But it’s a testament to his dedication to learning, his personal journey through a number of IBM positions, the rapidly evolving nature of technology and the ever-growing needs of his customers.
“I’ve always understood,” he explains, “that to be certified in a technology gives me confidence to talk with customers and to provide the best solution.”
But why and how did he earn so many? What benefits have he and his customers experienced? And how can others follow his example?
It began with a single deployment
Anderson earned his first certification in 2006 for IBM Rational Portfolio Manager. At the time, he was working for an IBM Business Partner that needed expertise to deploy the solution for a customer.
Three years later, his expertise caught the attention of IBM, who offered him work as a consultant. He continued earning certifications in engineering and architect specialties, from both IBM and other companies.
Last year, he became a fulltime IBMer working with cloud computing. “So, I understood I need to go deeper, to answer: What is IBM Cloud.?” He then proceeded to collect his 12 ICCT certifications in a short 11 months.
Learning how to learn was key
For his early certifications, Anderson found answers in a combination of his own research, materials from other vendors and training by IBM. He still uses his knowledge of other platforms.
“I need this because many customers are using our competitors. If they have a solution that runs on a different cloud provider, I need to know about these cloud providers,” says Anderson.
His expanded knowledge also is important because the IBM strategy is not only to provide its own cloud platform but also to serve clients running multicloud environments (combining solutions from two or more cloud vendors) and hybrid environments (combining cloud with on-premises solutions in the client’s own data center).
But when others ask him how he learns, he now recommends a single source: learning and support materials from ICCT. “They are amazing,” he says. “I use them a lot.”
An ICCT learning tool (introduced just last summer) that he finds particularly useful is IBM Cloud Prep APP, the free online tool with sample tests and instruction to help learners assess their readiness for the certification exam.
A process anyone can use
But just as Anderson took multiple steps in his journey to 29 IBM Certifications, he also has multiple suggestions for others who might want to follow:
“First, you need to know what you want to do. We have architect and site reliability engineer certifications, we have developer certifications and we have others. You don’t need to follow all the paths, but you need to choose which path you want to follow.”
“You need to make studying part of your routine. In the morning or at lunch, it doesn’t matter. There are no strict rules, but it’s important that have a working system. And you need to review the materials at least twice to make sure that you are ready to go.”
“I recommended trying the technology you are learning. We have labs that are available for free. Use them and do the exercises to understand and touch the technology.”
- “Determination is important. I schedule the exam early and then start to work studying. You need to have a deadline.”
“After this, I believe that you will be ready to go for certification. But if you are not sure, don’t worry. We have assessment tests and sample certification tests. You can use both of them.”
The benefits of learning
Anderson’s example shows that even specialized certifications don’t box a person in to a limited field—instead, they expand the field. His knowledge of both competing and IBM solutions, for example, enables him to give customers a more complete solution for their technology platforms.
“I think people need to keep learning,” he explains. “This is very important because technology changes every day. And we need to keep up to date about what’s happening in the in the market.”
But it’s not all about the technology professional. It’s about the customer.
“This is important. We need to understand what our customer needs,” he says. “The business behind our customers is important, because at the end of the day, the customer doesn’t want to buy technology. The customer wants to buy a solution that fits their business opportunities and business progress. This is the main point.”
Learn more about the IBM Center for Cloud Training
Are you ready to join Anderson in learning about cloud and advancing your career?
Find out more about the role-based certifications ICCT offers.