Here's what I think is a good, balanced opinion on this ...
(1) "There is no Golden Ticket," except in Willy Wonka movies. Don't expect to find one; don't believe anyone who promises to sell you one. Think about it:
if the situation were reversed, such that you
were with the person tasked with the decision to hire someone, would the presence or the absence of a piece-of-paper be your primary criteria? (Uh huh, I've been there, and the obvious answer is "of course not.")
(2) A serious, good-faith effort to train yourself is always a worthy thing to see. It means that you're at least trying to better meet your employer's needs. But there are many ways to demonstrate that. Be creative.
(3) Certification training materials
are professionally developed, serious "sip from a firehose" documents, and they can be excellent sources of pragmatically useful information. (Full disclosure: I've contributed on some of them, but don't sell them.) When I find one on a remainders table at a bookstore, I often pick one up.
(4) "Start small." It is written: 'those who are faithful with little, will be faithful with much.'
And it's also excellent advice. My first job consisted of tearing pages off a line-printer and stuffing them through the appropriate slot. (The "PC" wouldn't be invented for many years...) I did the job well, read every manual in the place (with
permission), never saw a single password
, but in any case never
used any password that I did
see (without permission) ... and wound up working in that place for many years among people whom I count as my first "mentors."
Your personal qualities ... your professionalism
with regard to this very-complex and profoundly-important business (and infatuation?) of ours ... are, in the long run, far
more important than what's stuffed into your head at this particular time. The technical particulars of the business will
change overnight. (Trust me: they've changed dozens of times.) "Soft skills" such as discipline, dedication,
and [u]especially[/i] humility(!)
are what's actually the most needed ... and therefore, the most prized.
(Once again: think about it ...
if the situation were reversed ... and one day believe it or not it will
be ... what would
you seek, and why?)