A review of 2019

2019 was a roller coaster of a year when it came to examinations. Having passed the CCNA Wireless and Security exams on my first attempt I then went on to fail the CCNP SWITCH twice! Due to time constraints and having read other peoples experiences with the CCNP track I’ve decided I will no longer be pursuing it, instead I will now concentrate on the new exams launching in February 2020, starting with ENCOR.

Of the Cisco exams I’ve sat so far, the CCNP Switch exam felt like an extreme exercise in memorising esoteric trivia. There aren’t many topics in this exam but they each require a deep amount of knowledge. With hindsight I would have approached this exam like I did the CCNA Security and used material from a level above, i.e. CCIE.  I wrongly assumed at the CCNP level things would be different but they aren’t, they’re still looking to trip you up with ambiguity. That said, even though I failed this exam I did learn a lot. So it wasn’t a complete waste.

To the future. At the moment the certifications that interest me the most are the following:

I’m currently taking a deep dive into packet analysis. This is a topic that’s been in the periphery for some time but recently a situation in work was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and it sent me down a youtube rabbit hole. On that journey I discovered the hilariously insightful channel Packet Bomb by Kary Rogers. I ended up purchasing his fundamentals course which is excellent. I’m now working my way through Laura Chappell’s “Troubleshooting with Wireshark”, and I’ve also got Wireshark Fundamentals by Jerome Henry / James Garringer queued up on O’Reilly.com. (You can get a year subscription for $99 via ACM.org!).  Sprinkle a ton of videos from past SharkFest events along with Practical Analysis by Chris Sanders and that’s going to keep me busy. Ultimately the goal of this endeavour is being able to diagnose and troubleshoot issues more efficiently.




Next goal: CCNP Routing and Switching

I’ve decided to pursue the CCNP R&S certification with the goal of achieving it before the end of 2019 (I have until February 2020 to get it done before the big refresh!). Based on my current position, this path is the next logical progression. Ultimately I hope the pursuit of this is going to help me diagnose and troubleshoot issues with more efficiency. Recently I’ve recognised gaps in my knowledge that I hope the CCNP R&S will help fill. In preparation for this series of exams I currently have the following material:

  • CBT Nuggets CCNP Routing and Switching series
  • CBT Nuggets CCNP Hands-on lab series
  • CCNP Routing and Switching  Official Cert Guide Premium Edition eBook and Practice Test series
  • CCNP Routing and Switching Portable Command Guide, Second Edition
  • CCNP Routing and Switching series by Kevin Wallace

Certifications aside. I’ve recently been dipping in and out of the following books:

  • Computer Networking Problems and Solutions: An innovative approach to building resilient, modern networks
  • Network Warrior
  • Cisco Networks: Engineers’ Handbook of Routing, Switching, and Security with IOS, NX-OS, and ASA
  • Practical Packet Analysis 3rd edition