Continuous Learning: It’s the Best Way to Grow

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When does learning end? When you land a promotion that requires new knowledge? When you’ve demonstrated that you’re an expert in a field?

Atsumori Sasaki, a Cloud Solution Leader from Japan knows, and the answer is neither of these. The answer, he says, quoting IBM founder Thomas Watson, Sr. is: “There is no saturation point in education.”

Atsumori has earned all 12 IBM Cloud certifications offered by the IBM Center for Cloud Training (ICCT). He did it in only two months. And he did it AFTER his transfer. He did it so he would be more effective in his new position.

For Atsumori, certifications offer a structure for continuous learning. And he has no plans to stop. He already is making plans to earn two new certifications—in IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions and IBM Cloud for SAP—that ICCT is rolling out in 1Q.


As his career grew, so did his learning

Atsumori joined IBM in 2006, after earning a master’s degree in Information Technology. At IBM, he first worked as an Infrastructure Engineer, followed by Cloud Platform Technical Sales, engaging in the Cloud proposal activities across industries.

In October 2022, he was appointed to Cloud Solution Leader on the IBM Consulting Platform Services and IBM Technical Solutioning team based in Singapore. In this position, he helps grow and increase Cloud content in consulting engagements as he solutions and certifies cloud solutions for a successful client experience.

But his previous positions had not required Cloud certifications—or the expertise that comes with them. “I was familiar with IBM Cloud because I worked in Cloud Platform Technical Sales,” he explains. “However, I was not familiar with some roles such as IBM Cloud Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) or newer specialties such as IBM Cloud for Financial Services.”

The time for more learning and Cloud certifications had arrived.


A rapid path to certification

To identify strengths and gaps in his knowledge Atsumori began with the sample certification quizzes that ICCT provides in its mobile study guide, IBM Cloud Prep. Then after a few tests, he tackled ICCT study materials about any unfamiliar topics. Most nights, he studied after 11 p.m.

And when he began to take the actual exams, they went fast. “I took the exams remotely almost nightly in November,” he recalls, “and I successfully earned all 12 certifications in a few weeks.” His certifications now range from the foundational IBM Cloud Advocate and IBM Cloud Technical Advocate to the advanced IBM Cloud DevSecOps v1 Specialty.

He praises the ICCT program: “The curriculum was well organized and systematic and so adding all 12 role-based programs was the perfect learning tool for me.”


His success can be a model for others

How could his approach work for others? Atsumori has some suggestions.

  • To succeed, Atsumori recommends others use the IBM Cloud Prep study guide. “If you don’t have enough time to study, I strongly recommend trying the sample certification quiz,” he says. “And as you work through the sample certification quiz, it becomes part of your study materials.”
  • He recommends that candidates book an exam date even before they finish studying. “It is important to set a deadline,” he says, as a deadline can provide motivation.
  • And while Atsumori already was familiar with Cloud, he notes that Cloud is new to many others, even those on the engineering or client success teams. So, if a candidate is not successful on the first try, he urges, “It is very important to retake the exam.” He recommends that candidates take advantage of ICCT’s Second Chance promotion, which allows them to take a certification exam again free of charge.


Making the exams even better for a global audience

Atsumori also has played a role in helping others by working with ICCT to offer certification exams in Japanese. “Generally,” he says, “most IBM engineers use English for their work.“ But many other IBMers, as well as Business Partners and clients rely on their local language. He explains: “I think we need materials for certification to expand in the Japanese market.”

Thanks to his efforts and learner demand, ICCT now offers the certification exam in Japanese for the foundational program, IBM Cloud Advocate. As ICCT strives to reach more learners in more countries, the Japanese language test joins an existing test offered in Portuguese.

Atsumori wants to help others achieve the same levels of success he is experiencing. And he recommends Cloud certification to earn trust and confidence from both clients and fellow IBMers.

Find out more about the role-based certifications ICCT offers here.


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