I've been asking myself an uncomfortable question lately: "Can IT certifications become a liability? Have I reached a point where my IT certifications have become a liability to me?"
Design For How People Learn, by Julie Dirksen (ISBN 978-0321768438)
I saw the title for this book roll across my Twitter feed — can't remember from who, sorry — from someone who had a blog and was advocating for other bloggers to check this book out. When I read the abstract for the book, I immediately added it to my reading list.
"Whether it's giving a presentation, writing documentation, or creating a website or blog, we need and want to share our knowledge with other people. But if you've ever fallen asleep over a boring textbook, or fast-forwarded through a tedious e-learning exercise, you know that creating a great learning experience is harder than it seems."
When I started studying in earnest for my CCIE, I started a log of how I was spending my time studying, which books and papers I'd read, videos I'd watched, and so on. I thought it would be a neat exercise to look back afterwards at what it took to achieve this goal. I'm also somewhat self-deprecating and tend to minimize my accomplishments, so having this data is a way for me to remember that this wasn't a small accomplishment at all.
And now the big reveal. The reason I haven't been blogging or doing much of anything for some time now is because I've had a teeny tiny side project going on:
And this week I passed the lab exam! I am CCIE 47321 (Routing and Switching).
I was prompted to write this when I observed someone the other day who was sitting in the same training as me taking notes in a self-addressed email. No offense to people who do this, but W. T. F. How are you going to keep track of that email among the dozens/hundreds you receive every single day?
I take a lot of notes for research, certification study, and training. I use MediaWiki for almost all of these notes. Here's why.
Anyway, I thought it would be neat to document the tools I'm using today. It'll be interesting to read this in a couple of years to see how things have changed again and maybe it'll give a fellow cert-chaser some ideas for today.
I've been working on something that at this point in my career I never thought I'd be doing: another Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification. The CCNA Voice, to be exact. Now that I'm in a job role where I'm expected to be somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades, I can no longer avoid learning voice :-) For a long time I've focused on just the underlying network bits and left the voice "stuff" to others. Since I now need to talk intelligently about Cisco voice solutions, products, and architectures, I decided to go through the CCNA Voice curriculum as a way to establish some foundational knowledge.
This post is about the tools and methods I used to build a small lab to support my studies.