2018 Challenges and Accomplishments

As the 2018 year nears closure I have so many things to be thankful for both in my personal and professional life. Specifically, the last 2.5 months professionally have been very challenging, but rewarding. In October I accepted a new position with a company named Lightstream based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Lightstream is a very unique technology company that has been around for over 14 years and continues to hand-pick each and every employee. They strive to hire and retain the best of the best in the industry. Personally, I am nearing my 19th year in the tech space and hiring talent is not an easy task especially if you’re not a household name. This is where Lightstream shines as that unique company always focused on doing the right thing for its Rockstar employees and customers.

Within two weeks of becoming a “Lightstreamian” I was challenged with the task to obtain the AWS Security Specialty certification. If you are familiar with the Amazon specialty certifications you know that this was no easy challenge. Even working with the AWS platform since 2007 didn’t make things easier. After lots of study time, re:Invent videos, whitepapers, lab time and did I mention more study time I went and sat the exam. As I navigated each question I felt further and further away from passing and before I clicked the submit button, I said a short prayer in hopes that all of my prep work had paid off. To my surprise the words “Passed” were on the screen in front of me. Pretty sure I double, and triple checked that I was looking at the right screen. I am proud to say I passed with an 813 on my first attempt.

About two weeks later I was challenged with the task to obtain the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional certification. This has always been the holy grail of exams for AWS certifications and thinking about it made my stomach turn. I approached this exam the same way I did the Security Specialty exam, but I added the CSA Pro boot camp as my main priority at re:Invent this year. After spending a full day in the boot camp I scheduled my exam for that same week at re:Invent. Personally I don’t recommend this path as I like spending my time in re:Invent sessions learning about new services and features. However, I sat the exam expecting to fail due to time management on each question. I approached the exam like a race sifting for key information and not getting caught up in the weeds. Any questions that I couldn’t rap my brain around quickly enough I marked to revisit at the end of the exam if time permitted. Once again, I didn’t feel confident that I had what it took to get a passing score. Either way I was at the end of the exam and reviewed my 12 marked questions and stared at the screen saying a short prayer and clicking the submit button planning for the fail screen. Much to my surprise I received the “Passed” message on the screen. Honestly, I walked away from the exam numb and physically drained like I just ran 10 miles.

Overall, I am proud of the challenges and accomplishments I have achieved this year, but more importantly joining an astute team and company. If you are looking for a change and want to join the best of the best look no further than Lightstream. 2019 is on the horizon and don’t look back on the things you should have or could have done. AWS and Azure are in high demand and so are your talents. Do you have what it takes to be one of the hand-picked “Lightstreamians”?

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