::cisco black belt::

March 16, 2009

CCNP Book List

Filed under: books, CCNP, self-study — ccxx4488 @ 7:12 pm

I’ve compiled my CCNP book list. Still a ways to go before I get cracking. Need to finish reviewing ICND 1/2 topics, and complete IINS 640-553 before I get started proper. Gotta upgrade my lab with more gear. I’m pretty sure, I’m going to be leaning heavily on GNS3 this time around. Get to put this shiny quad core to the test, maybe dual boot with debian to run Dynamips (Vista, hmm, well, umm, better not post that…). Anyways here’s my list, any recommended additions, let me know.

  • CCNP Official Exam Certification Library (5th Edition)
  • Routing TCP/IP, Volume 1 (2nd Edition)
  • Routing TCP/IP, Volume 2
  • CCNP Quick Reference
  • CCNP Building Scalable Internetworks (BSCI 642-901) Lab Portfolio
  • CCNP Building Multilayer Switched Networks (BCMSN 642-812)
  • CCNP Implementing Secured Converged Wide-Area Networks (ISCW 642-825)
  • CCNP Optimizing Converged Networks (ONT 642-845) Lab Portfolio

Not 100% sure about the Quick Reference, it seems like it may be one of those books that are great in concept, but you don’t really need. Kind of like the CCNA Flash Cards book, it wasn’t needed, although the PDF version of the book on the CD included a concise review of ICND1 and ICND2 topics, not found in the printed version. I might not of considered the Jeff Doyle books, but many people swear by them for the CCNP level. I hope the lab books are good. This will cost a small fortune. Forget paying subscriptions, I need a real book plus an electronic version.

March 12, 2009

Flip flop

Filed under: misc, News, rant, self-study — ccxx4488 @ 8:21 pm

I change my mind like the weather… I’ve been talking with a couple people that have been in the industry for awhile, and I’ve reversed my decision on doing CCNA Voice > CCVP. Gonna stick with CCNP, once I clear the CCNA Security that is. I guess its the unknown, not being 100% sure if you’ll secure the type of work your looking for when you hit the CC*P level. I was looking for leverage, by going the route of CCVP first. Its always been the core R/S I’ve been most interested in. Sure, I’d like to get into Voice one day, but I’ve been advised that I’ll have no problem securing the work I’m looking for with a CCNP. On top of all that, the Voice stuff is super expensive. I could have enough gear for CCNP and CCIP and pretty much CCIE R/S for the cost of a Voice lab. I know you can emulate a lot of it. Blindhog have some excellent tutorials. I guess it boils down to this, if I can’t get the job I’m looking for as a CCNP, then fuck ’em, the certs’ for me, not the job offers.

September 11, 2008


Filed under: misc, self-study — Tags: , , , — ccxx4488 @ 7:36 am

It’s been a really tough call, deciding on the best path forward. Studying for and obtaining Cisco Certification has taught me a lot. I’ve learned that with enough effort and discipline you can achieve what you want. This brings me to my point; I’ve made the decision to complete a BS Degree in Network Design and Management. I should complete it before my CCNA expires. My long term career aspirations require me to accomplish this, and I’ve learned I have what it takes to stay motivated, study and be successful. My CCNA expires, July 2011—hopefully I have enough time to prepare for a professional level exam instead of just recertifying with another CCNA exam.

Its been a tough call, to turn down career opportunities that would enhance my skill, but hinder my educational goals, to take a massive pay cut in the shorter term to pursue my degree, and most importantly to put Cisco Certification study on a 2.5 year hiatus, especially while I read of the challenges and fun others are having in their pursuits.

I’m looking at long term, and obtaining my degree is vital. At least, when I complete my degree, I won’t need to digress from learning Cisco Internetworking again.

July 22, 2008

CCNA ICND2 Official Exam Certification Guide Second Edition

Filed under: books, CCNA, ICND2, self-study — Tags: — ccxx4488 @ 3:46 pm

ISBN: 978-1-58720-181-3

I’ve read my fair share of computer books, and Wendell Odom has to be one of the best technical writers out there IMHO. The ICND1 and ICND2 books are the de facto standard for the CCNA exam. They provide the most complete coverage of any training resource available.

The ICND2 book is not without flaws, the Boson Exam Sim in both books, have incorrect diagram info, incorrect answers, questions in the wrong category etc, but having said that, its still an essential part of exam prep. The ICND2 content turns it up a notch or two, emphasizing greater technical skills and command usage etc, combining the theory from ICND1 with theory from the ICND2 objectives. In short the ICND1 is mostly theory and the ICND2 is more advanced and requires greater technical ability. Having said that, the errata for the ICND2 book is really frustrating, especially the Frame Relay section. There are multiple inaccuracies in the illustration of command syntax, you can pretty much put a line through most of the top paragraph on page 500. If your paying attention and really trying to get a deep understanding of the material, you’ll spot the errors—hopefully before you print your notes!

Given that 70% of people self-study for Cisco Certifications and Cisco Press, is pretty much the only provider of study books, (outside of CCIE lab books) you would think they could do a better job of providing accurate resources. Check the errata and you’ll see the usual suspects: command syntax, ip address (fat fingers?), diagram info, question/answer, etc, etc. It just pisses me off, I can put hundreds of hours into study, refining my notes, practicing, and up until the final week before test, I’m spotting major technical mistakes in the book, and consequently in my notes.

So why do I recommend this book? Its still the best available, its still very well written you just have to look past the books technical flaws.

July 16, 2008

Time for a rant

Filed under: CCNA, ICND2, misc, rant, self-study — ccxx4488 @ 11:11 am

OT, I booked my test, I take it on Monday.

< rant>

I’m really pissed off with the quality of the Cisco Press study materials. I found some errata and submitted  some, ignored some for the CCENT/ICND1 OECG. So, as I approach my test, where I still need to brush up on a few things like frame-relay, OSPF, EIGRP and IPv6, I digress from my studies in complete frustration.

The ICND2 book is already “jacked-up” with errata on the frame relay chapters, but I keep finding more:

Chapter 13, question 5, according to the answer page, then answer b should read 102 not 101 at the end.

Chapter 14, Step 5 page 488 and step 6b page 489, the syntax is wrong: frame-relay map ip ip-address dlci broadcast is what it should read, not …dlci ip-address

Chapter 14 page 500. Then entire first paragraph needs a re-write, try using a frame-relay map statement on a point-to-point subinterface and see what the IOS tells ya, can’t do it, sure it will work for a multipoint subinterface but the book doesn’t tell you that, the entire paragraph is jacked and needs re-written.

I wonder how others feel as they pursue their CCNP or CCIE, are they stuck with same level of technical proficiency that we’re stuck with at the CCNA level?

I guess the greatest piece of advise comes from Himawan Nugroho item 10, be skeptical. Nothing could be more true….

< /rant>

Ok, I’m out til I take my test, I’ll post back the results.

July 3, 2008

Looking ahead

Filed under: misc, self-study — ccxx4488 @ 9:33 am

I was planning on putting my study notes up here, but I had seconds thoughts. Most of my notes are condensed versions of the books I use, I’m sure it’d be a copyright issue.

Still studying, hope to wrap up my final 3rd read thru the ICND2 ECG this week and finish my notes. The last 2 weeks of review will be practice labs, subnetting, exam sims, and a lot of reading, and putting together a super brief version of notes to read on the way to the test center.

I’ve had a lot of ideas for content to put on this blog, I just dont’t have the time right now, but after my test and before I move back to Washington State, I plan to upload some decent content.

Back to the test. I was looking over the exam blueprint (ICND2). You could easily put it into the following categories: VLANs, STP, VLSM, IPv6, OSPF, EIGRP, NAT, ACL, Frame Relay, and PPP. I’m going to work on EIGRP today and finish part III of ICND2 book. That still leaves me with NAT, Frame Relay, IPv6, and PPP as main areas of review.

Before I start my CCNP, I will have my study methods/plan in check. What I mean is, I’m constantly tweaking my review processes, trying to find the best method. But for the CCNP, I will decide on a study process before I begin, and just stick with it, til the end. I’m estimating to spend 4.5 – 6 months per exam for the CCNP.

On the subject of jobs:

I leave Germany and return to the states, I don’t have a job lined up. I see jobs out there I could do, hopefully something falls into place. Jobs and the CCNA, as I’ve looked deeper into the skills Employers are looking for and what you learn on the CCNA, theres a gap, and it can only be filled with the CCNP. I didn’t want to start on the CCNP upon completion of the CCNA, because I wanted to gain CCNA level experience. I’ve given a lot of thought to that perspective lately, important points people have made stand out. Two of them in particular: “Keep learning” and “even without CCNP experience, having a CCNP, will get the attention of someone looking at your resume”. I think that’s solid advice, I was considering expanding my skillset into CCNA Voice or Security but as much as I’m interested in those paths, its a digression of my ultimate goal of CCIE R/S–so I plan on remaining focused on my long-term goal.

In the meanwhile, I need another coffee, and I gotta get back to studying.

June 28, 2008

ICND2 Exam Approaching

Filed under: ICND2, self-study — ccxx4488 @ 8:23 pm

I originally planned on taking the exam on July 7th, but I’ve pushed it back to either the 14th or 21st of July.


On the ICND1 I spent the bulk of my time taking notes, reading & re-reading, CBTs, and testing configs in my lab. This time around I was wanting to cut-back with the notes (massive time-burner). What I’ve learned the hard way, is that by the time you get from technology A, detail X covered in chapter 2, to wrapping up the book, you forget some of the integral details. Highlighting and reading through a 600+ page book just doesn’t cut-it. Its worth the time taken, to write (not type–I think you retain more, through the slower process of writing) detailed notes.

So yea, my original approach this time around isn’t working and I’ve pushed my test date back 1 or 2 weeks, bit I’ll get there soon!

New Cisco Site

Filed under: CCNA, ICND1, self-study — ccxx4488 @ 8:01 pm

Have you checked out Cisco’s new site yet? Its pretty slick, low volume of traffic in the discussions, but likely will pick up when the old site is phased out next month. You’ll find details of exam price changes, new exams, and the new CCNA concentrations.

June 16, 2008

My favorite Cisco Instructors

Filed under: CBT, self-study — ccxx4488 @ 10:09 am

Wendell Odom, Chris Bryant and Jeremy Cioara are awesome Cisco Instructors. They each bring a unique quality to the table. Here’s my view on what they offer.

Wendell Odom:

I’ve read the ICND1/CCENT Official Exam Certification Guide a few times, parts 1 and 2 of the ICND2/CCNA Official Exam Certification Guide a couple times and sampled a little of the CCNA Video Mentor CBT. Wendell’s technical writing is top notch, and importantly his texts are very complete. His writing style is clear–I never seem to have questions about something he writes, like “what did he mean by such and such”. I’ve read a ton of technical books over the years, from linux, security, scripting, you name it, but his books stand out, as the most complete texts on any given subject. If your looking for success on the CCENT and CCNA or on the job, his Certification Guides will definitely help you!

Chris Bryant:

Chris Bryant is one of the most motivational and inspirational Instructors I’ve come across. His down to earth teaching style, really simplifies Cisco Study. In some of his CBT materials Chris talks about how he came from a standard support role to becoming a CCIE, he points out the pitfalls along the way, and some of the obstacles he had to overcome, such as co-workers attempting to discourage him, and web forums full of bad advice and negativity. The success he has carved out for himself serves as a role model for anyone wanting to achieve the highest level of success in the networking world. I can accredit some of the skills I’ve developed and a belief in myself that one day I will become a CCIE to Chris Bryant.

Jeremy Cioara:

I’ve got to sample some of Jeremy Cioara’s CBTs from CBTNuggets. Jeremy is a really fun Instructor, he breaks up a sometimes dry topic with humor–referencing the Matrix movies on one of his CBTs. His teaching sytle is similar to Chris Bryant’s in that it is very easy to follow. On one of his CBTs he discusses testing, “pass pass fail, pass pass fail”, regarding Cisco tests he’d taken–from that, your left with a feeling that the CCIE is not exclusive to the select few with uber high IQ, but that its something, that with a enough hard work and practice, can be attained.

The structure of his CBTs are well designed, and fun to watch. I’ll definately need to check out more of Jeremy’s training in the future.

April 22, 2008

Self-Study Training Materials

Filed under: self-study — ccxx4488 @ 4:05 pm

I wanted to share with you, my opinions of training materials I’ve used to prepare for the CCENT. I haven’t settled on a specific review process. This site for the most part will be a work in progress–project. Eventually, I’ll have everything formatted and organized, but for now, it is what it is.

Blog at WordPress.com.