I haven’t made a study update in awhile so I just wanted to make a quick post on where I currently stand. The past few days I have been really busy with family functions so I was not able to get in good study sessions. Since my last update I have finished up the last section of Chris Bryant videos which discussed redistribution and PBR. Currently I am working on finishing up the labs from 101 CCNP labs and Cisco SLMs. Since my schedule has been pretty full lately I have only been able to complete 2-3 of these labs. Hopefully I can have them completed by the middle of next week.
My next problem is that now I don’t know what to study from next. When I finish up the rest of these labs next week I will have completed all my study materials. This includes the FLG Route book, CBT Nuggets, The Bryant Advantage, 101 CCNP Labs, and Cisco SLM Labs. I think I may read through the FLG Route book again as well as go through the CBT Nugget videos. I really don’t feel confident enough yet to take the Route exam. I am going to play it by ear for right now and see how things go next week.
What did you use to pass your CCNP Route exam? Do you have any suggestions for me on study material?
So I have found myself to be stuck at a crossroads. My new job and my studies have both been going great however upon starting my job I can’t shake the feeling that CCNP Switch would be so much more beneficial for me at this time. The reason I say this is because in my current role I will being dealing mostly on the LAN side of things. Yes occasionally I will have to troubleshoot WAN problems but I honestly don’t think those will come up as often as LAN issues.
I’m way to far into my Route studies to just switch to Switch so I am just gonna have to finish up strong so I can begin the Switch studies asap. I glanced through the Ciscopress Switch book last night and even noticed things in it that other engineers were discussing just that day. I hope to take the Route exam in the next 2-3 months, however now I feel like I am going to be rushing to get it done so I can move onto Switch. I really want to grasp all the concepts well so I am not just doing it for a piece of “paper”.
If anyone can comment on which has helped them more in the workplace Switch or Route that would be great! Thank you!
I am making this post now because I don’t think I will have time to write one tomorrow. I last left off when I told you about my first day as a network engineer. A few days have gone by and I truly am enjoying my job. Yes their are some downsides to it. Since I am the new guy and the youngest in the entire department I often am given the petty work that the other engineers do not want to do. Honestly I expected this because I only have a year of experience and I still have to prove myself. I did however already get access to the switches/routers and I even fixed two networking problems!!! One was a port I was trying to build a machine on had a speed and duplex mismatch so I had to log in to the switch and set it too 100/full. The other issue I had fixed was a port-security issue. All that needed to be done was take out the port-security commands and reapply them with the sticky command appended. I have also used the toner probe quite a but and damn is this thing fun to use! You would not believe how detailed the information this thing gives you.
I also have been getting up to speed on Cisco UCS and Nexus systems. We have a few in our data center sitting on pallets because we are having a data center makeover coming this year. My supervisor gave me a pretty detailed lesson on how the transition will work and I did get a better understanding. However I must admit I feel overwhelmed at times. I also spend a decent amount of time looking at network diagrams to familiarize myself with the infrastructure. Again though I feel overwhelmed since I have never done something like this before. I feel like a lot of the technology just goes right over my head.
One downfall that I have seen to the job is that I do have some small desktop support work that I am responsible for such as creating packages for imaging machines. To be honest with you though I feel that its best for me to start slow and build my way up. If they just threw me in and told me go configure that Nexus for blah blah blah I would crap myself. So I mean overall I am happy because these past few days I feel that I have learned a ton already and I am very excited on what is yet to come.
So I finished up on remote connectivity rather quickly. I finished it in about two days. Unfortunately their was not much lab work for me to do that goes along with it so I started on IPv6. I watched the entire Bryant Advantage video series last night, which was about two hours or so. Today I started on the IPv6 labs. I did run into some trouble though because four of my routers did not support IPv6. So I had to update their IOS which took me about an hour and a half. After getting all the IOS stuff straightened out I started on the SLM labs. I finished the first three labs and plan to complete the last two tomorrow. On Saturday and Sunday I hope to finish up the IPv6 labs from the 101 CCNP labs workbook. They usually take a bit of time so I won’t be too bummed if I don’t finish it all by the end of the weekend.
Ill start off by saying that my first day went by extremely fast! Everyone in the IT department seemed very nice and I am looking to forward to working with them all. Unfortunately I am horrible with names so it will definitely take some time for me to get everyone’s name down. The whole IT department is roughly 70 people and the networking team consists of 5 guys (including me). The fellow engineers I currently work with are very knowledgeable so I am very excited to learn from them. I must admit though that I felt very overwhelmed today. I realized that I really don’t actually know anything when it comes to real-world production networking. A lot of the concepts felt like they went right over my head but the engineers assured me that they don’t expect me to understand it all. I am very glad that they are understanding and are willing to work with me to bring me up to speed.
My day today really did fly by, however when I look back right now I feel like I really didn’t do much. Most of my day consisted of getting introduced to everyone and talking to various kinds of people. I also spend an hour and a half in an annual IT department meeting. I did get to use something today that I have only read about in the books; a Fluke Networks network tester. I remember in one of Jeremy Ciora’s CCNA cbtnugget videos him mentioning this exact model and that it costs over $1,000. I used it to trace a bad cable run which was something that I have never done before.
I’m sure I will have more eventful posts then this one in the future!
So the day has finally come! It is the first day of my network engineering career! I am very excited and I can’t wait to see how much I will learn. As I said before I am trying not to set my expectations too high but I just can’t help it! This has been what I have been working towards for the past year and a half. I don’t expect anything eventful to happen in the first couple of days but I will keep the blog updated on my daily tasks. My main goal here is to help/show people how to break into the networking field and also to show what life is like in a network engineers shoes.
Sorry for keeping this short but I just wanted to give a quick update before I start tomorrow morning.
Just wanted to post a quick update on my studies. Today I just finished up the BGP section of the 101 CCNP Labs. As expected they were very tough, it made me even question at times how far I have to go before even taking the CCNP Route exam. I just don’t know. I am feeling a bit in the dumps because I just finished up my 9th week of studying and I feel so far behind. Maybe the 101 CCNP labs are meant to be this difficult? I never have this problem when I do the Cisco Student Lab Manual labs. I am just gonna keep pushing forward and try not and doubt myself. I start on Remote Connectivity tomorrow, hopefully I won’t be too tired after my first day of work.
So I am going to be honest here and say that I really think that I am setting my expectations way to high for my first networking job. My first day is this Monday and I am actually super excited and not nervous at all, I just wanna get in their and learn as much as I can. However I think I need to take a step back and learn my place. I will be the low man on the totem pole and will most likely not get any real work until I prove myself. In my mind I just want to start logging in and configuring anything that they may need me too, but like I said that is most likely not going to happen for awhile. So really I am just going to try and take each day one step at a time and really try and show the other engineers that I want to learn and that I will do whatever it takes to get the job done.
From reading articles on various networking forums I feel that this is a common problem new network engineers face when they enter the networking field. They feel that since they just passed their CCNA/CCNP that the company that just hired them will just give them all the usernames/passwords so they can start configuring. Which obviously that is not the case. Yes certifications are important but they only lay a foundation for you to enter the networking field more easily. Someone with Cisco certifications will grasp the networking concepts in real world experiences much faster than someone who has not taken any certifications. I know this from experience because at my last job I surpassed the knowledge of the junior network engineer within a year of full time experience as a desktop engineer. I do cut him so slack though since he does have a family and many more responsibilities then I do.
Once I start work I hope to keep this blog updated with the various tasks that I complete on a daily basis.
Cisco study partners? Are they good to have? Or is it better to go through the Cisco certification path alone? What does one expect from their study partner? What if they are not on the same level you are on? If that is the case you will have to waste your time waiting for them to catch up to your skill level. Yes you could help them catch up to you and refresh yourself on some concepts, however that is valuable time you could be spending learning new topics. What if you and your study partner have different schedules? I am sure that will effect studying greatly. A time that is convenient to study for you may bot be so convenient for them.
Personally I have given a study partner a chance when I first started studying for my CCENT, and all I have to say about that is that I h\am never going to have a study partner again. Coordinating schedules was such a hassle and I felt like I was just wasting time often. Lets just say that the study partner and I only lasted for about a month. I truly believe that the path of certifications is a lonely one. You can really only rely on yourself to get the studying done and not expect someone to be right their behind you. I feel that is almost impossible for two people to be able to match each others study habits.
So my recommendation is to just go along the path alone and just focus on bettering yourself everyday. If you do come across a study partner one day and want to give them a shot, go for it, it may work out for you. I am not saying that all study partners are bad, it is just that I had a bad experience and am not willing to give it another chance.
Today I finished up on the CCNP 101 OSPF Labs. As expected they were a lot more advanced then the Cisco SLM labs. Like I said before it is nice to get the additional challenge in the 101 CCNP labs because it forces me to stay on my toes on all the different CCNP topics. For instance, in one of the OSPF labs today I had to implement an EIGRP adjacency in case the primary OSPF link fails. Obviously this is not exactly ideal for real world, but is is nice to see how all these technologies can actually work together. I also liked how the 101 CCNP labs incorporated tunneling for fail over purposes as well. Additionally the 101 Labs almost always included some sort of route policing that needed to be implemented. Which again is great because that for me is a topic that I know will be tough.
So that is it for OSPF for now. I start on the BGP videos from The Bryant Advantage tomorrow morning. I have this whole week off from work until I start my new job as a network engineer next Monday! So I hope I can get a good amount of work done this week.