Tyler's Blog

🎓 WGU C850 - Emerging Technologies

Written by Tyler on November 11th, 2021 at 8:14 am.

I'm cataloging my journey towards earning my bachelor's degree from Western Governor's University. Emerging Technologies was the first class I took after my orientation. This was a relatively easy class - it covered examining emerging technolgoies (who'da thunk? 😊), the pros and cons of technology adoption, and outlined a process on evaluating and implementing new pieces of technology in the workplace. Here's a brief synopsis of the sections of the paper:

  1. Organizational Need: Why does the company need to utilize the product you are suggesting? How would they benefit from it's adoption?
  2. Technology Solution: What piece of technology are you proposing for the executives' approval? Why should they consider your suggestion?
  3. The Adoption Process: How would the company rollout the changes necessary for the adoption? Justify your reasoning with the Gartner STREET approach. (Scope, Track, Rank, Evaluate, Evangelize, and Transfer)
    • Scope: Determine the requirements and risks for the technology. Is this the solution the company is looking for?
    • Track: Build the list of possible solutions to the problem. Build some criteria for picking a product.
    • Rank: Rank the products based on what was decided in the Track step. Build a list of Pros & Cons.
    • Evaluate: After building a list of potential products, try them out to see if they meet the company's needs.
    • Evangelize: Hype up the product, and get the rest of the team onboard. This step is crucial!
    • Transfer: Your job is done - transfer the project to the team responsible for keeping the product running day-to-day.
  4. Tecnology Impact: What are some side effects the company would face if we went ahead with the adoption? Positives and Negatives, e.g. layoffs, time savings, etc.
  5. Technology Comparison: Why did you choose the product that you did? What other competitors are there in the space?
  6. Adoption Success: What is the criteria for success? Define a goal for the company to hit and justify it.

Essentially, it's a class about writing a proposal for the management team of your company to approve. It can be completeled pretty quickly if you put your nose to the grindstone. The rubric they give you is spot on as far as what the evaluation team wants. If I had dedicated 3-4 hours a day like WGU suggests, this is easily a 2-3 day class.

The instructors really hold your hand through this course, too. After receiving the welcome email with the very detailed rubric / cheat sheet for writing the paper, I started working. Each section of the rubric was a header on the paper, followed by a paragraph or two depending on the topic. After I finished the paper, I asked around on discussion boards to make sure I formatted my paper correctly. I then submitted the paper to my instructor over email for a cursory glance and they responded with the exact changes I needed to make. e.g. "replace this entire sentence with this entire sentence word for word."

After two emails back and forth with the instructor I submitted the paper and passed without any complaints.

My Evaluation Report
You appropriately summarized organizational needs, such as the need to comply with FISMA using NIST as a security framework. You also outlined an adoption process for the technology, including details of the STREET methodology. In addition, you presented a competent discussion about the technology comparison, such as the analysis between the proposed emerging technology solution of Datadog's Log Management and Analytics and an alternative technology solution of Splunk, and included two advantages and two disadvantages that each technology may have for the organization.

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🎓 Going Back to School

Written by Tyler on November 1st, 2021 at 4:25 pm.

Ever since I graduated, I’ve felt… underqualified. I guess most of the industry would call this "imposter syndrome". I’ve had a handful of jobs after earning my associate degree, starting in the Help Desk and working my way up to a Systems / DevOps Engineer, and then a Systems / Network Operations Engineer after transitioning to another company - but I’ve still never been able to shake the feeling.

After 5 years of being in the workforce, I’ve decided to go back to school and earn my bachelor's degree. Thinking back to when I was in high school, I was hesitant to go for a four-year degree for a few reasons:

  1. Money. I was worried about running up debt I may have trouble paying off.
  2. Distance. I wasn’t going to be able to afford to commute or move to a far-away school.
  3. Incompetence? I was never the best student. What if I failed? My work would be for nothing.

In retrospect, I am glad I went the route I did. I saved a load of money on tuition and ended up landing a decent job after graduation, which allowed me to pay my $12,000 of remaining debt off in a couple of years. At this point, I had married my wife, we had bought a home together, and life was chugging along smoothly for the both of us. I had job hopped a few times and found myself working in my field of choice. After a few years though, I began to feel stagnant in my level of knowledge. I didn’t want to coast along for the rest of my life without trying to improve my skillset further. I want to feel like I actually know what I'm talking about.

The thought of having to quit or drastically reduce my working hours was my main reason for kicking the can down the road for as long as I had been. I didn’t want to spend hours of my day sitting in class – either virtually or physically. There just wasn't enough time in the day for me to do that and maintain what little sanity I had left.

I had seen advertisements for Western Governor’s University online in a few places – Reddit, Facebook, YouTube. The claims were foreign to me – flexible schedules? Go at my own pace? That can't possibly be real, right? Is it a diploma mill? I spent a few weeks pondering it and doing my due diligence - reading testimonials, checking their accreditation, and familiarizing myself with their model. I finally bit the bullet and applied in October of 2021. We were also in the process of selling our first house to take advantage of the “hot” market. (As hot as the market can get in rural Minnesota, anyway!) Thankfully my family was understanding and let us rent out half of their duplex (aka mom’s basement) while my wife and I were in-between houses.

Along with cutting out about half of our housing expenses, joining the workforce early put me in the privileged position of being able to cash-flow my schooling. After we crunched the numbers, cut our spending, and pooled our income together, we were able to set aside enough of money to cover my monthly tuition expenses out of pocket. I began school on November 1st of 2021 and am planning to accelerate as much as my two jobs will let me. I will continue to write about my experience here. I’m pretty new to the writing / journaling / blogging thing so if my writing style makes your eyes bleed – my deepest condolences. 😊

We haven’t had to sell the Tesla yet, so stay tuned for my very own bankwupt post likely coming soon. I know that selling our home and keeping a flashy car sounds stupid - and it is - but with the money we've been saving on gas it was a no brainer. Combine that with the fact that it was almost impossible to break even on the sale despite the crazy housing market. We only walked away with $99 after closing. Not being stuck underwater in the mortgage was our primary reason for selling - the college was just a happy accident. 😊

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🗿 In the beginning...

Written by Tyler on April 25th, 2022 at 6:21 pm.

Hello, world! Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet... looks like it works.

I am working on getting this blog up and running. I already have a few things written up waiting for this so the posting dates may be a bit funky. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming. 👀

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Hey there! I'm Tyler.

Hey there! My name is Tyler, and I'm an experienced infrastructure engineer, web developer, and cloud administrator.

I have over 8 years of experience supporting companies of various sizes with their networking and support needs.

I am currently going back to school in an effort to earn my bachelor's degree in Network Operations & Security.

I am also a small business owner providing web design, hosting services, and other I.T. consulting offerings to my client-base of over a dozen.

I write about a bit of everything - technology, my hobbies, electric vehicles, and whatever else piques my interest.
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