Newbie with no networking experience

PamelaDPamelaD Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
I have worked in the telecom field for about 10 years, have been with the same employer for 14 years. I started out on Siemens/ROLM, then Avaya for 6 years, now my company is installing 17 Cisco systems world wide. When I say I have no networking experience I mean specifically routers and switches. I have set up VoIP with 4-digit dialing between 5 locations with nothing but a manual to learn how and I have a good knowledge of IPT. I also do all of the programming for ACD. Personally, I think I have an advantage over someone who knows network but not voice. It's a whole other world and someone who really knows networking knows what I mean when I say that if there is something wrong on voice I almost always know what the problem is without having to look. I GET it and love what I do.

Next week we have an instructor coming to our office for CCVP Boot Camp for 4 people, all day for 5 days. I've also enrolled in a CCNA course but I am only on chapter two of the book. Just yesterday I learned that CCENT is sufficient for CCVP certification. As I really have no interest in "networking" outside of what is required for voice, I think this is the path for me.

Are there any big drawbacks about having the CCENT instead of CCNA and CCVP? I don't anticipate ever changing employers voluntarily. I have made a career at this company which is rated as one of the best places to work in the Bay Area so I am not concerned about what other companies standard requirements are in voice.

I spoke with the trainer yesterday and he joked about whether I was ready for an intense week. After seeing the 5 books that were delivered that is no understatement. I received CIPT1 vol 1,2,& 3 and TUC vol 1 & 2.

Wish me luck. :D

Comments

  • shednikshednik Posts: 2,005Member
    PamelaD wrote:
    Just yesterday I learned that CCENT is sufficient for CCVP certification. As I really have no interest in "networking" outside of what is required for voice, I think this is the path for me.

    Not sure what your source is but if you look at the requirements for the CCVP, it clearly states a valid CCNA..

    http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le3/le2/le37/le65/learning_certification_type_home.html
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaPosts: 5,163Mod Mod
    Good to see someone from my neck of the woods on the forum.

    About CCENT/CCNA, you might want to check with Cisco to make sure that you only need CCENT for CCVP. Checking the CCVP information page on Cisco's site, it looks like you need the full CCNA in order to be able to become CCVP certified. Beyond that, having CCNA-level knowledge will be increasingly useful as you work, there are a lot of concepts that span both telecom and networking, especially as more and more companies are gravitating towards unified messaging. The networking skills may not be 100% related to what you're doing, but they won't hurt you either. I know it's a little bit beyond what you're looking to take, but have a look at the CCIE Voice recommended reading list, and you'll see that there is at least one "general networking" topic there that will be introduced during CCNA studies: frame-relay. (And keep in mind, even though they say "CCIE" on them, the books on that reading-list are excellent supplimental material for your CCVP, in addition to the formal study-guides. icon_wink.gif )

    Good luck with your studies, and let us know how you're progressing.

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  • PamelaDPamelaD Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    That the pyramid with the dotted line meant one or the other of CCENT or CCNA.

    That's going to be hard to get a certification that I don't have much interest in. Just because of a restructuring at work Telecom was lumped in with Desktop Support and I was required to get MCP certification like the desktop people. I had/have absolutely no interest in it but because I was forced to I studied for the exam and passed on my second try. I didn't learn it, I studied for the exam.
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaPosts: 5,163Mod Mod
    Double-check with Cisco, to be sure. Before CCENT existed, it only said CCNA down there, and now it says both. Keep in mind, CCENT is really only a halfway point to CCNA, as it requires one of the same two exams that you'd take for CCNA. Also, the site explicitly states "CCVP Prerequisites: Valid CCNA certification" just below. Give Cisco a call. If you're right, then it's no sweat. Otherwise you might go through 640-822, the four exams needed for CCVP, only to find out that you needed to take 640-812 as well before they award you the CCVP. I, for one, dislike nasty surprises when I think I'm done with something, and I wouldn't want someone else to have to go through it either.

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  • PamelaDPamelaD Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    We are doing Unified Messaging, or Unified Communications. I know this is a big change from Avaya with Octel voicemail but, I am looking forward to learning something new. There is no one at my company that has experience with Cisco IPT or UC so it is also a big change for the Server Group that manages Exchange.

    I hope to later take courses in UCCX since ACD is a good portion of my work and I really need to know the new system.
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaPosts: 5,163Mod Mod
    PamelaD wrote:
    We are doing Unified Messaging, or Unified Communications. I know this is a big change from Avaya with Octel voicemail but, I am looking forward to learning something new. There is no one at my company that has experience with Cisco IPT or UC so it is also a big change for the Server Group that manages Exchange.

    I hope to later take courses in UCCX since ACD is a good portion of my work and I really need to know the new system.

    Sounds like you've got quite a road ahead, but it sounds like a lot of fun. Best of luck in all your studies and endeavors. :D

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  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    PamelaD wrote:
    I think I have an advantage over someone who knows network but not voice. It's a whole other world and someone who really knows networking knows what I mean when I say that if there is something wrong on voice I almost always know what the problem is without having to look. I GET it and love what I do.
    Correct -- the best CCVPs I've seen are the old telecom guys/gals.

    But if you're adding voice to a Customer's existing data network, issues and problems that affect voice could appear that don't affect the data side, or adding voice makes the existing issues and problems apparent on the data side -- but unless you have someone who knows the networking side, you could get blamed for "breaking the network."

    As I mentioned in this thread
    mikej412 wrote:
    If you have a telecom background, it will be easy. If you don't, it will be new and strange.
    and
    mikej412 wrote:
    If you're part of a team, you may not need CCNP skills if you are the "CallManager Guy/Gal" or the "plug the phones in at the desk guy/gal." Someday, as you advance in your job, you may want to add the CCNP.

    Also in this thread
    caseyg1204 wrote:
    The voice side of things is very different than data. The voice part relies on the data side for transportation, but you do not have to be a data expert to learn voice. But if the data network isnt running correctly, it doesnt matter how you set the voice up, it wont work. Some data concepts are key and you need to know them (ie trunking and QOS).
    and
    mikej412 wrote:
    As long as you've got some CCNP or CCIP (or greater :D ) backup on the job, you should be fine going from CCNA to CCVP. If you're working as part of a good team, you may never feel the need to get the CCNP.
    With your existing Voice knowledge and depending on what you decide to specialize in on the Cisco side -- and your team members -- it is possible you might never have to touch a router or switch - other than in class :D

    Good Luck! icon_cool.gif
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  • PamelaDPamelaD Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the words of wisdom that I don't HAVE to be a CCNA to manage Cisco voice. We have an international network and we have 3 dedicated network engineers who handle all of it. We have 9 US locations, 1 in Canada, Ireland, Italy, Hong Kong, London, Spain, Brussels, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth... may be others but that's what I can think of right now. I know they wouldn't appreciate me messing with their network, same as I don't want them messing with my voice. :D We do work together well though and we are all in on the project.
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    PamelaD wrote:
    Thanks for the words of wisdom that I don't HAVE to be a CCNA to manage Cisco voice.
    In a large organization or a big implementation, there are a lot more people than just Cisco CCNAs, CCNPs, and CCVPs (and the occasional CCIE) who are nice to have around when designing, installing, configuring, and supporting this stuff.

    Just try and stay awake long enough while you're studying for the CCENT/CCNA so that you are comfortable working at the IOS command line. Learn the help (?) and command completion (TAB) for sure before your class. icon_lol.gif TCP/IP, Subnetting, and basic routing will be useful.

    Partner up with a networking person if you have to share lab equipment in the classes, it will be good practice for your job in the future -- and would help to get you both through the classes.
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  • PamelaDPamelaD Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    The class is going so fast that we aren't doing the labs nor the Module self-tests. It's like sitting there listening to an overview of the system and I don't feel like I am LEARNING anything. I know it will take time to really know what I'm doing but I am uncomfortable with this feeling that I'm going through this and I STILL don't know the system.

    Going through the books CCVP Boot Camp, CIPT 1,2,3 and TUC 1&2. It's one book a day for 5 days.
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    PamelaD wrote:
    Going through the books CCVP Boot Camp, CIPT 1,2,3 and TUC 1&2. It's one book a day for 5 days.
    Hold on tight!! It sounds like you're in for a wild ride!! :D

    Bootcamp training is hard if you're not prepared before hand. And not getting the hands-on work in the class just makes it harder. Try to follow the high level concepts, rather than the low level configuration details, since you'll be able to go back through the courseware, Cisco Documentation, and the Cisco Press books later -- if you survive the class.

    Hopefully this bootcamp training us at least using the official Cisco courseware -- then you could go back through it at a more leisurely pace and practice hands on.

    CVOICE is the introduction or overview -- so if that wasn't covered, something like the CVOICE CBT Nuggets could fill in some of the knowledge gaps.

    If the training is focusing more on CallManager (Or Cisco Unified Communications or whatever the new official name is) -- think of it more as "application training." You're just learning how to use a program -- so as I said, focus on the high-level. You'll be configuring the infrastructure, services, and users -- learn the concepts and worry about the details when you have more time.

    TUC is the "wrap up course" for the CCVP -- it covers troubleshooting for everything else covered by the other exams... and maybe a little bit extra. In just a couple days you probably won't remember the steps in a call setup or understand a trace -- but you should know where in the courseware the information is. After the class you'll want to "lab it up" and spend some time hands on watching some debugs and traces.
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • ITdudeITdude Posts: 1,183Member
    That is kinda unusual even in a bootcamp format not to do any labs, especially from an authorized Cisco partner.
    I usually hang out on 224.0.0.10 (FF02::A) and 224.0.0.5 (FF02::5) when I'm in a non-proprietary mood.

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  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    PamelaD wrote:
    Next week we have an instructor coming to our office for CCVP Boot Camp for 4 people, all day for 5 days.
    Hopefully it more of a "what you need to know to care and feed Callmanager" type of class, rather than a "here's stuff to memorize for the CCVP exams" type of bootcamp.
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • PamelaDPamelaD Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    We did some labs yesterday, things like a pick-up group, extension mobility, etc. I'm going to have to get my head around how differently Cisco has done telecome than any other system I have worked on. To me, who has done telecom for 10+ years, everything is way more complicated than it needs to be. I can absolutely see that a network person designed this, not telecom. icon_lol.gif It's not necessary to have a Route Pattern, a Route List, a Route Group. Everything seems to be this way, layer upon layer. Total overkill.

    When the instructor said, "Cisco has come up with AAR..." I opened my mouth to say something and then just shut it again. No point in saying that wasn't true.

    My co-worker asked the instructor this type of question when something was explained and it was so involved that it is just unbelievable to someone who knows telecom. He asked Why do you have to do all than when "normally" it would just be... The instructor said "because it's Cisco." We all busted up laughing.

    Something happened in class that caused this problem: I could call every phone in the room except Chris. Chris could call every phone but mine. Every other phone could call me and Chris. We checked the partitions on all of them, we checked the CSS on all of them. Nothing wrong there. We couldn't solve it so we asked the instructor what was wrong. The engineer for the VAR was in the room and he was working on something for a demo the next day and created a partition. The instructor moved that partition down the list after AllPhones and TA DA! We could call each other. Now that is scary. On my current system I would have to do some pretty obscure things to cause that to happen and it would have to be very deliberately done. Not a typo or a mistake.
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    PamelaD wrote:
    To me, who has done telecom for 10+ years, everything is way more complicated than it needs to be. I can absolutely see that a network person designed this, not telecom. icon_lol.gif It's not necessary to have a Route Pattern, a Route List, a Route Group. Everything seems to be this way, layer upon layer.
    You seem to be staying awake -- AND paying attention! icon_lol.gif

    I just kept telling myself that this was for greater scalability..... and I blame it on the programmer for not hiding it better.

    But it's funny that you should mention this specifically -- when I think of Route Patterns, Route Lists, and Route Groups -- it always makes me think of "walking backwards" icon_eek.gif
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
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