The last week of November 2018, I made a trip to the Red Hat office in Westford, MA. I was enrolled in Automation with Ansible I (DO407) with exam (EX407) class. One of my co-workers scoffed when I told him I was going. He didn’t seem to quite understand why I wanted a certification I don’t need (I do work for Ansible now after all). I hope to address that and why Product and Marketing people should get certified (not only Ops).

Why did I feel the need to do this?

The one thing I wanted most from this class was a skills assessment. The longer someone uses a tool the less they tend to pick up new features of that tool. People develop habits; it’s natural. I wanted to know how many of my habits were legacy. I know assumptions are enemies of effective engineers; how accurate are my assumptions. I also wanted to show a working knowledge of the product I’m working with daily. Getting certified shows that while I was off learning Kubernetes, I was still keeping up with Ansible.

Marketing Connection?

Good capital ‘M’ Marketing flows from the product through to the users even after the curriculum creation process. Good Marketing isn’t “cloud” and “hyper-converged” and “serverless” (dibs on the first product that does all three of those). Good Marketing is a mixture of both technical “How?” and practical “Why?”

“How” to use something is often less important than the “Why” folks are using it. The documentation for a product could be phenomenal. But, if that product doesn’t solve a problem folks have, who should use it? In the case of Ansible, I need to know more of the “Why” folks are using it versus anything else. With Ansible, the “How” and “Why” are often blurred. The Why folks use Ansible is often, “It’s easier than .” But, that’s the “How” isn’t it? If something is easier to use that is a legitimate “Why” but, it’s a design decision too.

What Next?

I’ve provided some feedback to training about one oddity I found on the test. Much like when I provided feedback on my RHCSA in 2012, I doubt I’ll hear anything back. But, that definitely highlighted a possible improvement in the documentation and use cases around this issue. I might be able to glean more after scrubbing my notes more.

At the very least, I now know where the Red Hat office in Westford, MA is. What I hope will happen is that other Product and Marketing folks will go through their training programs. It’d be interesting to see with their product knowledge what they can give back to the product teams and/or their communities.

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