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Where the HECK have I BEEN?!?!?

I know I know. I am making the same mistake every single blogger does. They say they plan on posting more but never end up doing it. I’ll admit when I’m wrong! :X

So what have I been up to? First and foremost… no I have not gotten my CCIE… yet. I did however find my dream job with GREAT pay, so much so that it kind of made me feel comfortable and… lazy. The pursuit of certification for me has always been to get to that next role and get that increase in pay. Of course I love the technology but the idea of more money was a great motivator for me. So my new role is a Senior Network Engineer at a very large Cisco Gold Partner. I am working as a network consultant which means that I get to travel to various customer locations and deploy the latest and greatest technologies. So far I LOVE it.

So working at a gold partner has a ton of great perks, for instance I get all the training I could ever want for any exam. So why am I not hardcore studying for CCIE? Well I’m gonna be honest now. I’ve been LAZY! I lost that motivation I used to have where I studied 4-5 hours a night and loved every minute of it. As I said earlier maybe the thought of getting to that next job or getting that next big raise from moving jobs was my big motivator. I don’t know what it was but I miss it. I miss that motivation I had and I want it BACK. I will get the CCIE one day, and my goal was always to get it within 5 years of being in networking. I still have two years left.

My favorite part about my job now is that I get to design and deploy some of the latest technologies from Cisco. I think this is a great thing because I strongly believe when I get back into my studies it will be a bit easier. I do a ton of route, switch, wireless, and security deployments on an almost daily basis that it’s just about second nature for me.

So my plan moving forward is to get back into my CCIE studies in the coming months. At that time I do plan to post more because I really do miss posting!  I hope some of you guys that followed me are still out there and that 2016 is a great year for you!

Back Again! What I’ve Been Up To

Hello All! Long time no talk. I’ve been super busy as usual with work and studies that I rarely have a chance to post. So just an update on what I’ve been doing. I decided to go back to my CCIE studies instead of the CCDA/DP route. The reason for this is that the CCDA/DP stuff is very repetitive for me and quite honestly it is all stuff I am familiar with already. I do plan on going back and passing those exams at some point. However there are bigger fish to fry first! The CCIE. For the past 4 months I have been averaging roughly 20 hours a weeks of study time. I have a very strict schedule to adhere to this and most weeks I do go over 20 hours. I try not to rush the material and not push for the infamous “40 hour study week”. My thought on the 40 hours is that there is only so much your brain can retain that at some point you forget what you di an hour ago. For instance it’s Friday and you forget what you did on Monday. I think the 20 hour week is a happy medium of study. I usually try and do 4 hours Monday through Thursday and hit close to 8 hours on the Sunday.

As far as materials go work has provided me with the new INEv5 Advanced Technology Videos. These videos are soooo much better then INE’s v4 videos. Honestly I feel like that was the reason I stopped my CCIE training for a month about ~6 months ago. With the new ATC videos I feel engaged the entire time and Brian does a much better job explaining the topics. I have also been going through  the INEv5 workbook, which is also a great resource.  I should be finishing up with the ATC videos and v5 workbook this week, and then I will be reading the new CCIE v5 Official Cert Guide. I am so pumped to read this book! Written by Narbik you know this is gonna rock! I have already read the chapter on OSPF and thought it was a great overview. However it did not go in as much detail as it could have, but still a good read. I think the OCG is more geared towards the written exam which I hope to take within the next 6 months.

So what’s next for Networking-Link? Well I really want to start posting more! So I decided that I am going to start posting in my notes for each CCIEv5 Topic. I had started this a long time ago with my Multicast Overview. However that post was never completed. I plan to carve out an hour every Sunday, starting in about a week, and post a technical overview about the CCIE topic I covered.

And for those interested I am about ~300 hours into my studies. This does not count the ~200 hours from before I took a break from studying.

Thanks for reading!

New CCNP v2.0 Exam

Hot off the press…the new CCNP Routing & Switching exam has been announced.  Looks like current CCNP candidates will have until January 30th, 2015 to complete all threee of their current exams. Which if you ask me should be plenty of time, especially if you have one or two exams left. However if you are only just thinking about starting to study for the CCNP R&S it might be a good idea to just wait until the new exam is released.

On the bright side it looks like most of the topics will be remaining the same across the board. So all current CCNP R&S study materials will still be relevant. It kinda disappoints me that Frame Relay is still on the exam. I was really hoping they would have replaced in with DMVPN/MPLS topics. Especially now since DMVPN is a large topic in the CCIE R&S track. To each their own…even RIP managed to make the cut over to the new CCNP Exam.

For more information you can check out the official word from Cisco here:


Where I currently stand

Been a while…I figured I’d post how everything has been going for me and where I stand in my studies. Last time I posted I said I was pursuing my CCDA/CCDP, which is currently still in the progress. By the way I am not happy that Cisco raised their exam prices to $250 :( . In the grand scheme of thing it will be worth in though. However all my attention is not set on CCDA/DP. I am also going through a bunch of the below topics which relate to my current job.

  • General Networking
  • BGP
  • Multicast
  • Network management and monitoring
  • Redistribution
  • NAT
  • Route Filtering

For these topics I am going through the corresponding Routing TCP/IP chapters, INE ATC Videos, and also some lab work. Luckily a lot of these topics are also in the CCDP so it kinda goes hand in hand.

Work has also been going very well. I have been super busy. Also I will be starting a Nexus implementation project soon which will be tons of fun. Data Center tech really interests me, so much so that I hope to maybe even go for my CCIE DC one day….ohhh wishful thinking :)

Till next time!

A short little detour

So I decided the other day that I am going to halt my CCIE studies for a few months and push for the CCDA and CCDP. Both these certs were on my list to get so I figured this would probably be the best time to go for them since most of the CCIEv5 material has yet to be released. I really like the blueprint of the CCDP so I am excited about going through it. I am hoping that I can finish up both these certifications in 6-8 months total. Which at that point all the big training companies will have released their CCIEv5 study material.

I will actually be pursuing my CCDP first since the CCDA blueprint looks boring to death!

In addition to the CCIE…

So in addition to studying for the CCIE I have been working on getting stronger in both Linux and Python. Why you may ask? Well if you are currently in the networking field I am sure you have heard much talk about SDN and automation of network tasks. Hell, even look at current job postings. I would say most of them will say they want someone that has some sort of programming experience as well as being strong in Linux. Personally I have taken Linux courses in college as well as some programming classes. However to be honest, I really dreaded both. It wasn’t until I graduated that I found my passion for learning and bettering myself.

So recently I picked up Python. It seems to be the fastest growing language out there as well as having a huge community around it. It’s also a plus that Python is a high level language so it isn’t to hard to learn. If your asking what I am using to learn Python, I will post a link to another blog post of mine at the end of this post. So far Python has been going well for me. Some problems that I have been working on feel very challenging, even though they really aren’t. So there is definitely a learning curve for me. Hopefully within a couple months my skills in Python will grow substantially.

Along with learning Python I have also built my self a linux server that will allow me to access the command line at any time. So far linux has actually been lots of fun, makes me with I paid more attention in school :/.  For linux I am just going through the Linux Command Line Introduction book. Which so far has been really good.

So how am I managing learning all of this while also managing a full time job and CCIE training?  Well it been really really tough. Both the Python/Linux training comes second to CCIE. I always make sure I get all my CCIE stuff done for the day before moving on to one of them. I have been trying to organize my schedule in such a way where I study for CCIE 2.5 hours a day and then study Python/Linux for 1.5.  So far it has been working well for me and it is definitely nice to get my mind focused on something different then Cisco.


Trouble Finding Good Network Engineers

This is going to be a rant so I just want to apologize beforehand. I want to express my concern with the current state of network engineering applicants. I have had the displeasure in trying to find a few more guys to fill our team of network engineers. At first I thought, “Oh this will be fun!” But wow I was wrong. The applicants we have had so far has really made me realize that there is a serious problem in our industry. That problem being PAPER NETWORK ENGINEERS! If you have read my blog at all your know that I am a huge supporter in getting certified. But c’mon some of these guys we interviewed are CCNPs and can’t even answer simple subnetting questions! WTF! Oh its gets even better when we have someone that claims to be a CCIE candidate. Jesus Christ I just facepalm every time. The questions we ask are not even difficult. Were not looking for a superstar, just someone that loves networking and also can back up what they write on their resume. Simple VTP questions stump some of these guys. VTP the protocol we all learn about in CCNA stumps CCNPs….somethings gotta give.

Either we have been very unlucky or we are just getting braindump’d network engineers.  This is why most companies only take referral candidates. All these people that can’t back up their certs ruin the job market for the rest of us when we apply without a referral. My company goes through a lot of network engineer applicants since we are always looking for talent. We get FLOODED with resumes daily. It’s not wonder that most of the people we actually hire are people that were referred to us. One word of advice to the people applying for network engineering positions. BE HONEST. Really that’s it, be honest on your resume and don’t claim to know something that you’ve worked with once. Don’t be the CCIE candidate that we interviewed who claimed to know Nexus yet couldn’t explain VPCs or VDCs. Literally these applicants give me a headache, it’s so hard to keep my cool and not burst out at them and say “STOP BRAINDUMPING AND LEARN YOUR SHIT!!!” lol

/end rant

Happy Holidays!!!

Hope everyone had a great holiday, I know I did! Work has been going great so far and I am learning a ton. Hours are long but every second is worth it! The people I work with are very knowledgeable and helpful.  The current environment  I work in utilizes MPLS, BGP, EIGRP, QoS, and Multicast  heavily so I am very excited to announce that I will be pursuing CCIE after I pass Tshoot. I plan to take the Tshoot exam next weekend. Also I am going to make another blog post that explains how I will tackle the CCIE and what my plans are moving forward! So again Happy Holidays everybody!


Best Christmas present ever!

I got the job!

After a grueling 4 week interview process I finally received my offer. I was very happy to accept it and cannot wait to start! I’ll be working with a much larger networking team supporting 15 data centers across the world. The engineers seemed very knowledgeable, so I can’t wait to have the chance to pick their brains and learn as much as I can. However with every new job comes more responsibilities. My hours will become longer and my study schedule may not always be as organized as it is now. This is a positive though when  I think about, all this training I do everyday will now be reinforced constantly in the real world. I think this new work environment will also be a great starting point for my CCIE studies since I will be working with MPLS, Multicast, and QoS very often. These are topics that I do not know much about but I know are covered in depth on the CCIE exam.

I am slightly sad about leaving my current employer though. They have been nothing but good to me ever since  I started here. I have learned so much that I can’t even put it into words. Getting a chance to design and implement a full Nexus solution is something I never expected to have a chance to do at my age. However I know this move is for the best. I am sure it will be a huge learning curve but the experience I will gain on a day to day basis is sure to launch my career vertically.

I am very excited to start my SECOND networking job in the coming weeks. And as always I will post about my daily networking experiences.

Interview Process is Finally Over

and oh man was it a long one! Two phone interviews and a 4.5 hour on-site interview. Initially the first two phone screens were rather relaxed; I had a bunch of technical questions thrown at me but nothing too difficult. The real challenge came yesterday when it was time for me to go on site. It was actually a really convenient day for me to have my interview since I had off from my current job for Veterans Day. I woke up extra early so I could go over some things and also get my portfolio together. I always tend to leave really early as well because I am paranoid about hitting traffic. So as expected I arrived 45 minutes early so I just went to the closest Starbucks to gather my thoughts.

Eventually I made my way into their offices and met firstly with two HR people to go over some things. After that was completed three engineers came in and asked me a bunch of questions as well as diagram my current network. I feel like I made some stupid mistakes which I am beating myself up over now. I was drilled for a little over an hour by these three engineers until we said our goodbyes. Next two different engineers came in and gave me a scenario for a new building deployment and asked me to diagram it out to be fully redundant. Again I think I did well but I know I made some mistakes because of my nerves. Another hour goes by and the second part comes to an end.

At this point I am given a little break to use the restroom and get some water. I was honestly feeling dehydrated at this point because of how much I have talked. After about 10 minutes I meet with one of the network managers who seems really cool and down to earth. I tell him about my experiences as well as ask a bunch of questions about the position. All in all that portion was not as hard as the previous two. I talk to the manager for about an hour as well. Next comes in another supervisor/manager that I basically discuss the sames things with. At this point I am feeling overwhelmed since I am slightly forgetting which person I said what too. Meeting so many different people in such a short amount of time confused me at points. Finally I meet the last person, again another manager, who asks me some of the craziest puzzle/logic questions ever. My brain at this point of the interview is completely fried but he was impressed by my answers. He said that it is not about getting the answer correct but how you get to your conclusion.

All in all this whole interview process has been an experience I probably won’t have often in my career. I feel confident that I did well and I know that I gave it my best shot. It was definitely the hardest interview I have ever been through and most likely the hardest I will ever face in a long time. At the same time though I am glad I made it as far as I did. I should be getting a call/email in the next few days with their decision. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to