August 10, 2022 By Natalie Brooks Powell 3 min read

Francis Poeta is a dedicated advocate for continuous learning.

Keeping up with advances and demands in the marketplace is critical for ever-evolving cloud technologies. For professionals, continuous education is the key to long-lasting, successful partnerships with clients, peers, and partners. Plus, “learning can keep your creative and technical minds engaged while refreshing skills that might need a little reinforcing from time to time.”

That’s what IBMer Francis Poeta advocates. Years of learning and earning certifications have reinforced his belief that everything is better when you keep up with your training.

An ecology of learning

For nearly three decades, Francis has been earning certifications across all manner of platforms and systems, including 27 IBM certifications. Along his journey, he’s realized the importance of continuous learning: “When you live in a world that changes so drastically, if you are not taking the time to train and learn — to actively migrate your skill sets — you might get left behind.”

Francis refers to it as an ecology in which continuous learning nurtures a professional’s ability to create new opportunities with clients and partners.

“For those of us who focus on our clients’ success, if your skills aren’t up to date, you can find it very difficult to add value. Clients increasingly have diverse environments and if you view them through a lens fixed five years in the past, it will be difficult to help your clients succeed in today’s market.”

Now a Principal Account Technical Leader, Francis relishes this ecology of continual learning, which satisfies his “thirst to know where you are and where technology is going.”

Earning certifications builds confidence

“Certification gives you confidence in yourself,” says Francis.

“You gain a clearer understanding of value. You can communicate to your clients with authority. This ability to communicate in a confident way with your co-creators will reduce the friction of new or unconventional ideas. Many clients are even willing to break with their preconceptions. This resulting creativity will bring about dynamic partnerships that are meaningful and, generally, longer lived. I think that’s really where the value of the certification process lives.”

As Francis can attest from experience, certifying across the range of vendor offerings gives clients confidence that you will have a clear idea of which solutions best fit their specific situation.

He notes, “When working with my clients, I’m able to say, ‘I’m not advocating for this solution because it’s the only one I know, but rather because it’s the best fit for your particular needs.’”

As he puts it, when you can confidently say “I’m leading you down this path because it’s the best path to go down,” win-win scenarios follow.

The cloud is ever-changing

“It’s an organic business,” says Francis about upskilling in cloud technology. For him, the cloud is “a truly organic organism,” always changing. The way to stay current with an ever-changing cloud environment is to keep up with certifications, either by recertifying, exploring new certifications in cloud technology specialties or certifying in a different job role.

Yet, even with this constant change, Francis believes that the value of certifications never expires. “While there are changes in a particular feature, command or deployment mechanism, the core value of products seldom changes. Once you certify in that platform or product, you should understand it.” And that knowledge is the base from which you can progress to wherever the next stage of learning takes you.

Using experience to upskill fellow professionals

Not only has Francis been taking tests over the years, but he’s also been helping develop and update many of those same certification exams and curricula, using his experience to help upskill his fellow professionals.

Francis sees his responsibility as making sure that learners are being asked questions on the exams that are relevant to what they do in their day-to-day activities. That’s because these professionals depend on the IBM Center for Cloud Training (ICCT) to help them gain the most up-to-date skills.

Thanks to dedicated professionals like Francis, ICCT’s program is at the heart of a learning ecology that offers clients, partners and employees a consistent knowledge base, which means a consistent experience when IBMers, their business partners and their customers interact.

Get started on your learning path

Visit the IBM Center for Cloud Training to learn more about how you can achieve your next cloud certification. And be sure to check out the new IBM Cloud Prep app for flashcards, detailed study guides and practice quizzes to help you on your cloud certification journey.

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