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PMI Certification Prep: PMP (Project Manager) and PgMP (Program Manager) on Pluralsight

November 6th, 2019

“But Jason, I’m not in tech!”

Oh yeah? What industry today doesn’t have tech?

And what career path would not benefit from tech-related certifications?

Jeremy Jarrell PluralsightCheck out the Pluralsight learning path titled Program Management Professional – PMI-PgMP® Exam Prep. There are six courses by Jeremy Jarrell, who teaches you how to prepare for the PMI Program Management Professional certification. You can actually get this prep for Pluralsight’s low $299/year price… considerably lower than taking a year of university classes. I know having a PMI certification specializing in program management would be helpful for me to land a program manager job!

You think project management is cooler than program management?

casey-ayers-pluralsightPerhaps it is… for you. Why don’t you go over to Casey Ayers‘ learning path titled Project Management Professional – PMI-PMP® Exam Prep, which has FOURTEEN (14)!! courses to prep you to become a certified project management professional. Think that won’t open some career doors? Holy cow. Again, the super low price of Pluralsight to get you PMP exam prep blows my mind.

Invest in yourself. Invest in your education. These are two great learning paths that easily justify the price of a full year membership on Pluralsight (right now it’s only $299/year). In addition to those learning paths you get access to EVERYTHING on Pluralsight. Crazy.

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Get More Out of Mentoring (Pluralsight Courses)

October 25th, 2019

pluralsight_transparentI have two courses on mentoring on Pluralsight. One is for the mentee and one is for the mentor. On the mentee course (How to Be a Great Mentee: Get More out of Mentoring) I responded to a question from Joseph, and I wanted to share that response with you. Joseph asked if I had any recommended reading (about mentoring). I responded with this:

This might come as a surprise but the first book that comes to mind is one of the best books on deep interpersonal relationships and I think is required reading: How to Win Friends and Influence People. I strongly recommend this as an excellent book for mentors and mentees alike.

The second “book” is actually a category of books that I find so inspirational: biographies and autobiographies. I find inspiration in learning about the journeys that others have… what challenges they had, who impacted them, what advice they have picked up along the way, what principles they live by, etc. As I read those I can get a better perspective of my own journey. When I have a random conversation with someone now I can go up 30,000 feet and think “this might be one of those profound moments or people along MY OWN journey.” This perspective, I think, will help us become better learners and mentees.

Probably not what you expected, but those are the two that came to mind first and strongest :)

In our discussion I followed up with this link, and think that John Maxwell’s Mentoring 101 would be an excellent read.

I’m sure it’s very good. But I still think my best recommendations are the Friends book and any biographies.

What do you think?

jibberjobber-mentoring

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Pluralsight 33% off for Next 3 Days

October 22nd, 2019

I just got notice that you can get the full Pluralsight library for 33% off today, tomorrow, and Thursday. They don’t do this very often, and saving $100 is freaking awesome.

Pay $199 (instead of $299) and you get 365 days of all the Pluralsight you can consume! Click here to check it out.

Are you a techie? This may be the best investment you’ve ever made into your continuing education. There’s a reason top programmers at huge companies use Pluralsight… you can’t get this up-to-date training from anywhere else. The breadth and depth is astonishing.

In addition to technical stuff there is a full PMP (for project managers) test prep learning path, as well as courses for business analysts, product managers, user experience (UX) designers, graphics designers, technical writing… and of course data. Data is HUGE right now, and will be for many years to come.

Are you any of those? Or, are you interested in a career change?

I find myself pointing people to the amazing field of UX right now. It’s an exciting area and there is a ton of work to be done. I remember hearing a recruiter last year say that they can’t find any UX experts (that they could hire, because they were all working) in all of Utah.  That’s pretty impressive.

Of course, you get access to over 100 soft skills and professional development courses. Not to overwhelm you with too many courses but even if you just listened to any of my 33ish courses, as well as courses by my colleagues who do courses on communication and professional relationships and teamwork and other soft skills, including Dan Appleman, Shelley Benhoff, Casey Ayers, Stephen Haunts, Alan Ackman, Amber Israelsen, and others. If you get bored of my soothing voice and ideas, check out any of the many others.

Look, $199 is a KILLER price for this amount of continuing education. Don’t wait for your employer to invest in you. YOU need to invest in you.

If you are serious about career management you can’t go wrong with a Pluralsight course, and 33% off is music to my ears :)

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Pluralsight Course #34: Understanding Your Audience

October 21st, 2019

My Pluralsight journey, which started in 2012, has been quite a ride. It’s been crazy. And it’s been awesome. I was recently talking to someone who said that with all of the work I’ve put into my courses I could have gotten a Ph.D.! I dont’ know about that… and no, you don’t need to call me Dr. Alba… but I have spent thousands of hours since 2012 thinking deeply, studying, researching, and then teaching soft skills and professional development topics.

Last week my 34th course was launched: Understanding Your Audience.

Pluralsight Understanding Your Audience Jason Alba

I was excited to work on this course because, as I told my contact at Pluralsight, everything I’ve done has centered around understanding my audience. I take you on a bit of a journey as I’ve had to understand my audiences for my books, for JibberJobber, for marketing partnerships… If you aren’t understanding your audience how are you creating any content? Are you creating content for you, or simply based on assumptions?

This course invites you to dig deeper… to try to understand who they are more than just demographic data. I want you to understand who they are, why they do things, the root of their thinking, and how you can best connect with your audience.

Whether your audience is on the other end of an email or phone call, in front of you while you present, or across the table from you in a one-on-one, you can understand your audience to a point where your communication becomes more effective.

If you love it, rate it. And leave a comment.

If you want a 30 day Pluralsight pass please reach out to me. I think I can find one or two laying around :p

And now, I begin scripting my 35th course! Wahoo!

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Career Change: From Cashier to Software Engineer #HomeDepot

October 18th, 2019

When I was at the Pluralsight Live conference in August they showed this video… it was so freaking inspiring! Take three minutes and watch this:

The “OrangeMethod,” Home Depot’s “in-house skill development program.” Wow.

I’ve heard that The Home Depot is a great place to have a career. This video showed the awesome story of Jennifer, who started out as a cashier, and had the opportunity to grow into a software engineer role.

Talk about a career change!

Many of the people I talk with through JibberJobber, The Job Search Program, and through my speaking opportunities are ready for a change. These changes can be big or small… but they are in a point in their life where they need to make decisions about their careers moving forward.

A question everyone should ask is “should I stay on this path I’ve been on? Why?”

You should also ask “What if…?”

What if you could learn to do something more rewarding?

What if you could make more of an impact in the world (even if you make less)?

What if you could, like Jennifer, make A LOT more money than what you have?

What if you could retool yourself, add new skills, and do something that only “smart” people could do?

What if, what if, what if…

Don’t get me wrong… I don’t think that any of my courses were on Jennifer’s radar. My soft skills courses don’t teach you how to be a developer… but there are around 6,000 other courses in Pluralsight that do. And I’m proud to be associated with an organization that is passionate about helping others find and develop skills that can improve their lives as well as the lives of those around them.

I’m not saying you have to be a software developer. I am only asking, inviting, you to think about “what if?”

Why not me?

Why not now?

Career transition is a real thing, and maybe, just maybe it’s the right thing for you.

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The Difference Between Branded and Nobody #personalBranding

September 24th, 2019

Almost two years ago I hung my shingle out and looked for a full-time job. I had JibberJobber at a point where it didn’t need (or want) my full attention, Pluralsight wasn’t ready for anymore of my courses… and I had time. I also needed a change of scenery. And heck, if I had time, why not look for something where I could get paid, and create one more income stream?

So I did what I had been talking about others doing for years and I became a job seeker. It wasn’t as fun as it sounds, but it was definitely more fun than years early, in 2006, when I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Long story short, I got a job, and here’s how it started: I found a posting on LinkedIn that was just plain weird. It fit me perfectly and I couldn’t imagine it would fit anyone else. I applied, thinking it would go nowhere, but I got this reply from the hiring manager, a VP (I blurred out his name but then thought he wouldn’t really care :p):

Jason Alba Rusty Lindquist

Up to that point the only response I got to any applications was a canned automated email or crickets. And now I get this flattering response from the VP. When I told my wife about his response she thought for a minute and then said “he probably says that to everyone who has applied.” I was pretty stoked, but she brought me down to earth :p

Long story short, I got hired, months later Rusty left, and a few months later they pulled the plug on my whole program. So I got nine months in corporate, refreshed my ability to “politic,” and had a fun time working my tail off on something that was just destined to die (well, as long as Rusty was there it wasn’t. That’s another thread, though).

The point of this post is not about my last job, or its demise. It’s that I impressed the hiring manager enough that he would respond to me in such a way as he did. Yesterday I was thinking about this and realized that it wasn’t necessarily my background… sure, I’ve done some really cool things, and everything I have done was perfect for this role… but I know tons of people who have done amazingly cool things. Would Rusty have given them the same kind of response?

I’ve heard sayings like “if you aren’t on LinkedIn you don’t exist” and “if I can’t find you on Google you don’t exist.” Not true. There are plenty of people who have no online presence who exist and are very successful. But, as I was thinking about why Rusty would respond to me that way I thought it had to do with how I presented myself and my experiences on my LinkedIn profile.

I’m not going to say that you “don’t exist.” But, I can tell you that as a hiring manager, if I’m down to the last five or ten profiles, and they are all pretty lame (I call them skeleton profiles), but one stands out because not only does that person have the experience I want, but they explain and dig into their careers in a way that they are memorable and prove they have what I’m looking for, I’m inclined to be more interested in them than you.

Skeleton profiles on LinkedIn don’t help you. Not looking? Congratulations… but you might be looking soon :p

Let me suggest one of the most important courses I’ve ever done for Pluralsight… I just tweeted this yesterday:

The concepts in that course are timeless principles. In the olden days we called it reputation and reputation management. Now we call it personal branding. Who knows what it will be called next. Whether you use LinkedIn or Instagram or whatever, there are principles. And that’s what I go into. The course is 2 hours… if you want a 30 day pass to the entire Pluralsight library let me know.

Pluralsight a Developing Killer Personal Brand

Since I started out with talking about LinkedIn, let me also recommend my LinkedIn courses… the first is on optimizing your LinkedIn profile and the second is on developing a proactive strategy on LinkedIn.

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Pluralsight for Project Managers and Business Analysts (Interview with Casey Ayers)

September 13th, 2019

I met Casey Ayers years ago at a Pluralsight conference. He is super smart. He also has just finished his 48th(!!!) course on Pluralsight. You can see his course list here.

Once upon a time I wanted to be a project manager. I also applied for business analyst jobs. And so I thought it would be fun to hear from the expert on both career paths… I asked Casey some questions and he graciously shared his expertise. I hope this inspires you. Please share this with others who are interested in project management or business analysis, which are great fields for people who want to be in tech but don’t want to be developers.

Down below Casey talks about his PMP exam prep courses. This is a full suite of courses to prepare you to pass the PMP exam… I did a quick search online and found that you can get in-person classroom training to pass the exam for around $2,000 to $3,000. I found other classes for $1,000 and on-demand course for $348… the prices are all over the place. Let me know that you get all of Casey’s courses, including the PMP exam prep courses, with your Pluralsight subscription. Full retail price is $299. That is a super deal if all you want is PMP exam test prep…. and you get a whole year to do it at your own pace. The bonus is you get the other 6,500ish (give or take a few hundred) courses for that price.

But wait, it gets better! Click the pink image on the right and you can get all of that, including Casey’s PMP exam prep courses, for only $199. Seriously, why isn’t every future PMP doing this killer deal? It’s like buy one exam prep series and get a year of access to the thousands and thousands of other courses. This deal ends next Friday.

Tell us a little about your career… why are you the authority on project management and business analysis (which are two different career paths)?

In a variety of roles, including Development Director for a mobile app studio and Chief Operating Officer for a startup healthcare company, I’ve had to define missions and lead teams to accomplish objectives successfully. I find the intersection between business analysis and project management to be fascinating, where designing the solutions to challenges shifts to making those plans a reality. The relationship between these two professions is as unique as the roles analysts and project managers play in their organizations: serving as arbiters of change and creation in environments often more focused on simply maintaining or expanding on what exists today.

I’ve learned enough to know that no analyst or project manager is so complete in their individual knowledge and experience as to be unable to benefit from standards and practices developed from the collective knowledge of a global array of experts in these fields. That’s why my courses tend to focus on industry-recognized certifications and frameworks. Knowing how much the experience of each viewer may vary from others, and certainly from my own, this focus on making best practices as accessible and applicable as possible helps me to connect and offer value to PMs and analysts from a variety of industries and different backgrounds.

Casey Ayers Pluralsight AuthorWhat are things that project managers do? What might a typical day (or month) look like?

The specific tasks project managers (PMs) might be faced with on a daily basis will vary drastically based on an organization’s structure and norms, the scope of the project in question, whether a more agile or prescriptive methodology to accomplishing project objectives is being followed, the size of the team, and a limitless array of other factors. PMs working on a standardized sprint basis to deliver incremental value to stakeholders follow a different rhythm from PMs working toward milestones or phases in long-term projects, where most value is delivered at one or a few points in time.

What doesn’t change is this: the need to balance limited resources, ensure a clear and continuous connection between work in process and underlying objectives, and a mandate to work with a wide array of stakeholders who may bring conflicting viewpoints and priorities to the project.

If I want to go into software project management, what are some recommendations you’d give me?

Working as a member of a project team can provide valuable insight into how the work of the project is accomplished and help in better assessing the complexity and worth of potential initiatives. However, the actual work of coordinating resources and managing the project can often seem subtle to even members of the project team when it is done effectively.

Taking on increasing responsibilities for administration and coordination within project teams can assist in making the transition into project management, as can studying the frameworks, methodologies, and best practices that effective project managers rely on to ensure they’re providing adequate attention to each dimension of project work.

What are some key characteristics or attributes successful project managers have?

Project managers must be effective communicators, first and most critically. Without expressing objectives and priorities clearly to others, without receiving and leveraging information from others, and without fostering support and a shared vision between stakeholders, the project will inevitably run into challenges or failure.

Secondarily, effective project managers must develop the ability to balance limited resources while best serving their organizations’ needs. Changes to either project scope, schedule, cost, quality, or resources will always impact all other factors in a variety of expected and unexpected ways. Determining what mix of these priorities best serves the organization’s underlying goals empowers effective PMs to deliver solutions.

If I want to become a business analyst, what are some recommendations you’d give me?

Successful business analysts come from a variety of backgrounds. Some may initially serve as financial or quality control analysts, while others may come from a sales background or have spent time delivering solutions as a member of a project team.

New business analysts are typically well-served by selecting positions that place a particular emphasis on their previous background. For organizations where ensuring solutions can be delivered on time is a top priority, prior experience in project environments can prove helpful. For those where defining underlying needs and objectives are most critical, communication skills and a sales background can help the analyst to gain insight from stakeholders.

Begin by building on what you know best, and never hesitate to clarify information with subject matter experts or conduct additional research if you’re not certain where the organization stands today, or what direction it should take tomorrow.

What are some key characteristics or attributes successful business analysts have?

A sense of curiosity can serve business analysts well, coaxing them to chase down leads, clarify information, and allow conversations to yield unexpected revelations. The ability to communicate with others effectively is perhaps even more critical than in project management, if that’s possible.

Maintaining a willingness to question assumptions and biases – especially those the analyst themselves brings to the table – and vigilantly ensuring that recommended actions remain aligned with underlying needs, especially when scope creep or environmental changes might lead the analyst astray, can help to ensure successful outcomes.

If I wanted to become a project manager, which of your courses should I take, and in what order, and why?

Those without much prior experience managing projects or even working with project teams would be well-served by my CompTIA Project+ (PK0-004) learning path, which starts with Beginner’s Guide to Project Management – this is a great opportunity to learn the fundamentals of project management and to earn a well-respected certification not requiring formal experience or training.

If you’ve been leading project teams or been managing components of projects for some time now, the PMP® learning path  beginning with “Introduction to Project Management & the PMP Exam” will help you learn and apply time-tested frameworks to your project-based work. This series will prepare you to earn the gold standard in project management, the PMP® certification, and equip you with formal tools and methods that will greatly enhance your work as a project manager.

If I wanted to become a business analyst, which of your courses should I take, and in what order, and why?

The PMI-PBA learning path culminates in a certification that is particularly valuable to business analysts working in project environments, but can be useful for business analysts serving in any capacity. Introduction to Business Analysis & Needs Assessment  is my most popular Pluralsight course, and provides a great overview of the value business analysts offer organizations on a day to day basis.

I’m presently creating courses for Pluralsight’s ECBA, CCBA, and CBAP certification series, each of which will prepare viewers to earn industry-leading business analysis certifications offered by the International Institute of Business Analysis. Some of these courses are available now, with more on the horizon. Stay tuned for the official learning paths to be launched later this year.

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Pluralsight for Job Seekers? #Yep

September 12th, 2019

This post is part of a series of posts through next Friday, to promote (push!) the $100 off at Pluralsight. Instead of paying $299/year you can pay $199 a year and have access to their rich library of over 6,000 courses. Most of them are technical, and most of them are for technologists. But back in 2012, when they invited me to do my first course, they showed that they value soft skills and professional development. There are now around 200 soft skills or professional development courses in the library, and more on their way. Here’s a list of six of my courses I suggest for people in a job search:

Developing a Killer Personal Brand

No matter what you think about personal branding, it’s important. Neglect your brand if you want, but you’ll still have one. I say: you be the author of what your brand is, and create the narrative the way you want it to be. Otherwise, others will create it for you, and you might not like that.

Informational Interviews

I believe there are no silver bullets in the job search. But I have said, across the country, that if I were in a job search I would spend about 95% of my time on informational interviews. Seriously, 95%. Haven’t heard of them? Or, they aren’t working for you? Watch this course and learn how to do them well, and get your job search MOVING! Speaking of 95%… my new Job Search Program holds your hand as you put this into practice.

Working and Communicating with Different Personalities

In your job search you need to understand how to influence others, and why others act and speak the way they do. Working with others can be baffling… but the more you understand human nature, personalities, and why people are the way they are, the better you can work with, communicate, and persuade others. You might even learn something about yourself!

Becoming a Better Listener

Listening is about the most important aspect of communication… and I think we all have some room for improvement. Listening better will help you in your networking, your interviewing… in every aspect of your job search! This course has the most ratings and comments of any of my courses. Come on over and listen!

LinkedIn Strategy: Optimize Your Profile

This is where most people (should) spend their time… making their LinkedIn profile better. This course is a how-to on every bit of your profile.

LinkedIn: Proactive Strategies

And then, this is Part II for your LinkedIn strategy. “LinkedIn doesn’t work for me!” Neither does that hammer behind your workbench. The tool works when you use it! In this course I teach you how to network on LinkedIn instead of assuming having an okay profile will get you your next job.

There are more courses that are appropriate for job seekers. But let’s do the math… if you only watch those 6, and pay the $199 for the year, you are paying about $33/course. But, for the $199 you get 12 months of unlimited access (think Netflix) to the entire library! That includes the full PMP certification courses… you could pay thousands for that elsewhere. Not to mention all of the other stuff you could get… even the introduction to programming, design, databases, etc. courses. More on that over the next few days!  Click the banner above to get your one year pass for $100 off… it’s only $199 for the next few days!

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Pluralsight: Building and Managing Your Career Plan Testimonial

September 11th, 2019

Over the weekend I got a really cool testimonial on one of my 31 live Pluralsight courses. First I’ll share the testimonial, and then I’ll comment on why this was special. Maurie wrote:

“I just completed Jason Alba’s course “Building and Managing Your Career Plan“. It is excellent. The content is EXACTLY on point. The presentation is very professional–no endless stream of bullet points that Jason just reads, Relevant icons that reinforce the message. Sparkling examples delivered as a multitude of very short real-life situations, and a call to action for each module. I am an instructional designer by profession, Jason has hit the target dead center in all the things that make this kind of presentation useful, memorable, informative and fun from the perspective of effective and efficient instructional design. This course is at least 7 or 8 stars in the five-point scale.”

Wow, that was cool! Thank you Maurie, for a well-written testimonial! Here’s what I love:

“I am an instructional designer by profession,” says Maurie. Well, I am not. In fact, it wasn’t until last year that I spent significant time with a professional designer. But for a professional instructional designer to give that compliment to anyone is really cool.

When I create my courses, I feel like my job is to not think about any future courses, but to do the very best I can on each course. Leave it all on the field, as they say. I give everything I have to the current course, with design, language, etc. Thank you, Maurie, for recognizing that.

Maurie Coleman (Illinois)“The content is EXACTLY on point.” Thank you, again. This course is based on principles of career management. The first module is about defining and visualizing where you want to be (what’s your ideal title/role?). The second module is a methodological approach to working yourself towards that title/role. The third module talks about career satisfaction. This course is foundational to career management and enjoying the journey you are on. I was super excited to create this course because I’ve learned that YOU need to manage your career, and this is a course to get you focusing on bettering your career.

“This course is at least 7 or 8 stars in the five-point scale.”  Flattering. The current course rating is somewhere around 4.5 (I don’t know if that is rounded up or down), but thank you, Maurie. I’ll take a 7 or 8 :)

Want access to this, my other 30 courses, and the other 6,500 (give or take a few hundred) courses for only $299? You are in luck… the sale is on through next Friday. But don’t wait, click the banner above and buy your one year pass for $100 off!

 

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Pluralsight $100 off: Now Is The Time To Upgrade on Pluralsight

September 9th, 2019

Every once in a while Pluralsight goes on sale. Now is that once in a while. The normal price is $299 for the personal plan, so this is a 33% savings and definitely worth it. (the premium plan is normally $449/year, and with this discount it is $349). Upgrade here.

“What?!?!?!”, you ask?

“Get Pluralsight for a whole freaking year for only $199? That is absurd!!”

Yes, yes it is. Very absurd. Nutso.

But it’s true. And now is the time to jump on it. Here’s the email I got from Pluralsight:

Hi Jason,

Ready to take your tech skills to the next level? Spend the next 12 months learning for less.

LAST CHANCE TO SAVE ON PERSONAL ANNUAL AND PERSONAL PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTIONS!

For a limited time, you can build the technology skills you need at a seriously discounted rate. Take advantage of this awesome offer and get $100 off premium and personal annual subscriptions. Building the tech skills of the future never felt so good.

And they clarified **offer not valid in India** (because the pricing in India is so different already).

What is Pluralsight, you ask? Well, let me tell you. I have been a Pluralsight “author” (which means course creator) since 2012. I am currently working on my 34th course with Pluralsight. I started out doing courses for your career, and then went into anything soft skills and professional development. Over the next few days, until 9/20, I’ll be sharing ideas, thoughts, and even testimonials about my courses on the blog. Stay tuned. And sorry if you get Pluralsight fatigue…. but this sale doesn’t happen often and it’s a great time to get serious about improving yours skills.

Jump on it here and buckle up… I’ll be sharing as much high value as I can. If you hate personal improvement and career management, come back in a couple of weeks :p

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