Keeping Skills fresh!

egrizzlyegrizzly B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+Member Posts: 453 ■■■■□□□□□□
So you just got certified or graduated from college however due to one reason or another you have not started work for about 6 months. This thread is for ideas that Texamians (<--- like the ring to that huh) can adopt to keep the technical skills fresh whether from CCNA, MCSE, CISSP, or BS Computer Science.

My first idea is to draw up a quick process for labs that you can complete once a month. The labs ideally would have one of the everyday tasks of a real network. Create the process for about 3 to 4 different labs. Do one per month then once you get to the fourth start over. That way your skills remain fresh.

Since my area is CCNP you could do labs like

- Troubleshooting loss of connectivity (using the exam lab for CCNP Troubleshooting)
- performing configuration of OSPF and EIGRP
- Configuring switch security.

The floor is open of course for other ideas.
B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+

Comments

  • gbdavidxgbdavidx Member Posts: 840
    You could also help out in the CCENT/CCNA/CCNP forum of tech exams to keep your skills current

    also there's reddit.com/r/ccna that im sure could use some help as well
  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Apply and get a job that will use them, why else get certified unless you want to use it in anger. Labbing up is all very good, but labbing up a 20+ router simulation is a completely different thing to working on live mission critical networks.

    Labbing teaches you the knowledge, but it does not teach you the critical skills of how to approach working on a live network, where a single mistake or not getting it right first time can have huge consequences.

    I come across to many people who lab and get certified, but know nothing about the real world of applying it. concentrate on getting a job, and then on advancing skills further.
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Member Posts: 879
    Specifically for the CCNP I would say that the Layer 2, EIGRP, OSPF and BGP sections of the INE CCIE RS workbook volume 1 are pretty amazing for maintaining your hands on skills. Some tasks may be a bit overkill but most features of the protocols are covered, and in a very systematic fashion. Additionally, the solutions are often very solid and explain the why behind the task you just did.

    DevilWAH wrote: »
    ...
    I come across to many people who lab and get certified, but know nothing about the real world of applying it. concentrate on getting a job, and then on advancing skills further.

    Sure, but you could also argue that there are people who make critical mistakes because they rely too much on experience and lack fundamental knowledge. There's obviously a synergistic effect going on between experience and theory, and I don't think anyone's disputing that.
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    My plans are to keep participating on this forum and begin my CCNP studies.
    Ultimately I want to work in a career with Cisco but I know I need to start at the bottom and work my way up.
  • egrizzlyegrizzly B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+ Member Posts: 453 ■■■■□□□□□□
    you couldn't have explained it any more accurately. Often people tend to cry or rely heavily on experience without showing "direction" or using the standard industry formulas (best practices) to approaching a solution. If you know the best practices (usually through education) you can easily duplicate the knowledge to multiple people whereas experience alone which could be in the wrong direction, would require that you teach people one at a time....that's time consuming and inefficient.
    fredrikjj wrote: »
    Specifically for the CCNP I would say that the Layer 2, EIGRP, OSPF and BGP sections of the INE CCIE RS workbook volume 1 are pretty amazing for maintaining your hands on skills. Some tasks may be a bit overkill but most features of the protocols are covered, and in a very systematic fashion. Additionally, the solutions are often very solid and explain the why behind the task you just did.




    Sure, but you could also argue that there are people who make critical mistakes because they rely too much on experience and lack fundamental knowledge. There's obviously a synergistic effect going on between experience and theory, and I don't think anyone's disputing that.
    B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+
  • egrizzlyegrizzly B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+ Member Posts: 453 ■■■■□□□□□□
    you got a point but for a lot of all those situations where people find themselves between projects for one reason or the other that is a lot of room for open discussion on ideas about keeping your skills tip-top...
    DevilWAH wrote: »
    Apply and get a job that will use them, why else get certified unless you want to use it in anger. Labbing up is all very good, but labbing up a 20+ router simulation is a completely different thing to working on live mission critical networks.

    Labbing teaches you the knowledge, but it does not teach you the critical skills of how to approach working on a live network, where a single mistake or not getting it right first time can have huge consequences.

    I come across to many people who lab and get certified, but know nothing about the real world of applying it. concentrate on getting a job, and then on advancing skills further.
    B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+
  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Then I would suggest using it as an opportunity to expand your skills, If you have your ccna/ccnp and are hunting for work, build labs that included servers, so a basic AD domain and exchange set up, build a Public Key infrastructure. Use you core skills to link it together and for sure and make that bit over complex as you wish :). Play with some Linux, and build up a basic web server.

    I think people going in to IT should try out several areas, so they have a good fundamental understanding across as wide an area as possible. Especially being a network engineer you end up in the position of tieing every one elses systems together. Understanding how they work, means its much easier to understand what they are asking for and so deliver the correct solution for them.

    Once you get in to a job especially if it is a company that silos different skill sets, means you can end up going through your career completely blinkered. And even if the company does not blinker you, simple work load can prevent you looking in to other areas. Now you have the fundamentally network skills is the time to start building labs that have the full range of IT services in them.
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
  • W StewartW Stewart Member Posts: 794 ■■■■□□□□□□
    That's about what I did when I was working at a NOC where most of my co-workers just watched netflix for 12 hours and let any previous IT skills they had fade away. I created a checklist of lab based tasks to do. You can use packet trace or gns3 for network related tasks and virtual machines for the rest of an infrastructure such as servers and load balancers. certs always help too.
    Being a sys admin sucks but I love it
  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    I'd suggest to learn other technologies such as CCNP Security / Voice / VCP, and then integrate those technologies into your R/S topology as you learn them, until your brain melts out of your freakin ears from knowing so much awesome stuff icon_thumright.gif
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