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And boy does it feel good! I took the test early Saturday morning and came out with just below a 900. I really wish I could have scored above a 900 but hey a pass is a pass. It’s weird to think that I have been working on this certification for 5 months. Time has really flown by. Guess what the next 5 months of my life is going to entail? Yep you guessed it…onto the Switch exam. I just informed my employer of my pass and they are very excited for me. I am also happy that they are going to reimburse me too. I will be posting the Switch study plan hopefully later today.

CCNP Route Scheduled!

Its been 20 weeks since I began studying for my CCNP Route exam and the time has finally come to show what I have learned! I scheduled my exam for this Saturday at 8am, reason I am taking it so early is because I am going to the beach afterwards :).  Hopefully all goes well and I pass so I can have an enjoyable weekend of rest and relaxation at the beach. If I pass Route then I plan to dive right into my Switch studies on Monday. I am still working on the CCNP Switch study plan. However expect to see it posted in the following week. Just to recap here is what I have used to prepare for my CCNP Route exam. 

  • Cisco Press FLG Route
  • CBT Nuggets
  • The Bryant Advantage
  • 101 CCNP Labs
  • Cisco Student Lab Manual: Route

CCNP Route Study Update – 6/5/13

Been super busy with work lately so I have not had a chance to update the blog. However I am still going strong in my studies and hope to take the Route exam in about a month or so. In my last update I left off by saying that I was working through CBTnuggets and labs. Since then I have completed all the  CBTnugget videos and have also completed a good chunk off labs from gns3vault. For the past week and a half I have been speed watching the Chris Bryant videos. Reason being is that at this point everything should be a review for me. I am going to be finishing up the video series tonight.

For the next two weeks I want to skim through the Foundation Learning Guide again as well as complete the SLM labs. So hopefully in the coming weeks I can take a shot at passing the exam. As it stand right now I have been studying for the Route exam for 16 weeks.

Getting your first networking job!

So I had a question asked to me…one that I myself even asked many people before I got into networking. “How do I break into the networking field with little or no experience?”  This is a very common question among both young and old IT people who are determined to get into the networking field. However it is always easier said then done. Networking is a tough field to break into especially if you are young, fresh out of college, and no experience under your belt. So what does somebody do in this kind of situation? Well here is what I did and I suggest you do the same and I can almost guarantee that an employer will be sure to take a chance on you.

Firstly you need to be dedicated to your networking studies…specifically Cisco. You not only need to be dedicated but you also need to have a passion for it, you need to love to learn it and it should become somewhat of a hobby for you. If you don’t have any experience in the field I recommend getting your A+ so you can at least get your foot in the door with an entry level IT job. After that you should go for your Network+ and your CCNA. You could skip on the Network+, its all personal preference. The only reason I got mine was because I had no experience in networking and wanted to learn as much as I can. Even if you do not get that entry level job after your A+ you should always be studying and going for your next cert, never stop studying!

Now after you have your entry level IT position and also just past your CCNA you should be putting your resume up on as many job posting sites as possible. I have another blog post about this, just search for it in the top right. During this time you should also be studying for your CCNP, trust me when you go into those interviews and say that your currently studying for your CCNP they will be very impressed. I know this from my own experience. Another thing is that you should have a home lab that you can get some hands on experience with, this will also impress potential employers in interviews.

It may take a few interviews before someone gives you an offer on that entry level networking job but it will happen, you just have to stay positive.

CCNP Route Study Update – 5/12/13

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?

CCNP Route Study Update – 4/28/13

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. :)

CCNP Route Study Update – 4/21/13

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.

How to look for your next job

Looking for a job can be very intimidating especially if you have never dealt with job posting websites before.  However going to these websites and getting your resume on them is very important so recruiters/employers can see if you are a good fit for their company.  Also these websites will allow you to search through thousands of different job openings and apply to whichever ones interest you most.  Keep this in mind though, most job posting list requirements that often times far exceed your skill set. This does not mean you shouldn’t apply. Remember these requirements are for an “ideal” candidate. Companies will oftentimes take a risk on someone who doesn’t have the “ideal” skill set and mold them to their liking.  However this does mean that you will most likely get paid less than what the job posting originally said.  This may be worth it because the experience you gain will pay itself off in 1-2 years time.

Personally I like putting my resume on as many job posting sites as I can.  I like being able to go to each site and browse through the different job postings and apply to ones that catch my eye.  Keep in mind that these websites don’t always have the same job postings across the board.  So if you really want employers to notice you, you should post your resume on at least 3-4 sites. Also as side note, you WILL be contacted by a lot of recruiters and I think it is in your best interest to give them some of your time and chat with them.  Recruiters have a very big network and they can often get your foot in the door of a job you have been wanting.

So here are the resources I use when I am on the hunt for my next job.

  • Indeed/com
  • (I usually would only browse around)



A bitter farewell

Well the day has finally come, it is my last day at my current employer :( I never thought this moment would happen so quickly, but I know I am making the right decision for my career. This was my first job since graduating school and I am very thankful that I was lucky enough to have been given a job in my field of study upon graduation.  I met a lot of great people here and I really do hope to stay in touch with some of them. I’ve learned that building a network is very important, especially in IT. I feel that I have learned a ton during my employment, both personally and professionally.

I am really excited about my new job as a network engineer. Oddly enough I am not nervous one bit, I just want to start already :) I really hope I do well in my new position and that I exceed even my own expectations. This is the position I have been working so hard for this past year, now its time to show what I’ve learned in the books/lab and apply it to the real world. Wish me luck! Here goes nothing!

Sharing in other’s success

When someone tells you that they recently passed a tough certification or have gotten a new job they have always wanted, what is your first reaction? Say congratulations? Ask questions? Or give a smirk and brush off whatever the person just told you? Until recently I never realized how many people in this world would actually choose the last option I listed. I don’t understand why it is hard for some people to be genuinely happy for someone who is advancing in their career. The only way I can explain it is maybe that person is jealous because they never have achieved those kind of things in their own lives. I’m sure if you work in IT then you have run into these kinds of people, typically they are the people that says certifications are a waste of time.

Co-workers at my current employer, upon hearing that I was going to be working as a network engineer, instantly started coming up to me and asking me questions. Of course their were some people that were very happy for me and even said that this is a great move for me. However others would try and bring me down saying that “I don’t know what I am getting myself into” or that “I am too young”. I honestly don’t think some of my co-workers understand, even after I explain, that I am trying to expedite my career in the direction I want and not waste my time doing desktop support.

No one at my current job understands how hard I work everyday after work, oddly enough the one guy that was happy for me also pursues certifications. I guess you can say like minded people understand the struggles that certification testing brings so they are more likely to be happy for you when you achieve something. So please never let people bring you down, they only do it because they can’t do something themselves. 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