Where next?

3 11 2011

Been in a bit of a no mans’ land since passing the ICND2, in terms of what to study for next.

I’ve so far purchased:

* CCNA Voice CBT

This is mostly a “need” – the member of my team that administers our Call Manager phone system is leaving, so thought I’d swot up on it. Unfortunately, I’m finding it pretty hard going in terms of keeping my interest – too much “historic voice” stuff which I’m not too interested in. In addition, the 2008 syllabus focusses on Communications Manager Express and the UCM 500, whereas I have the full blown Communications Manager, with an Express in our satelite office for failover purposes.

I’ve now swapped this video series out for the 2011 series, which apparently has less of the historic voice stuff, and also includes the full blown Comms Manager.

* A CCNA Security Book

This was purely out of interest – security training’s never going to be a waste of time, after all. This is keeping me much more engaged than the above, even though it’s a book, and the above is CBT (my favourite training method).

* A Linux Professional Institute book

This exam was one of my learning objectives for the year – going broad on learning rather than deep (which I think I’d prefer – that’ll be the objective for 2012) – wow, much harder going than even the CCNA Voice – certainly for the first chapter. Just a million file manipulation commands to memorise to start with – snore! Seems to get a little more interesting within a few chapters though. I highly doubt that I’ll be getting myself up to exam standard for this (apart from the fact there’s only about 6 weeks til Christmas) – I just find the Cisco stuff much more engaging.

* Practical Packet Analysis with Wireshark

I was obviously aware of Wireshark, but hadn’t really used it for any more than interface familiarisation purposes. But during the process of troubleshooting some firewall issues with my firewall consultants, I began to see the true potential of it. Wireshark is amazing – used it to help troubleshoot and fix various issues now, when before I wouldn’t have even thought of it. This book was great in helping to understand the various functions, and focusses on really useful real world scenarios.

I also have the CCNP SWITCH and TSHOOT videos from CBTNuggets – the SWITCH syllabus is great, as you have to go to that level to learn about L3 switching and all the cool redundancy / load balancing features. TSHOOT is great too, an amazingly valid way of testing knowledge.

I think I’ll be hitting these guys next year.

So quite a mish-mash of different subject areas. I think I’m going to continue to watch the 2011 syllabus CCNA Voice videos, whilst reading the CCNA Security book – before deciding which exam to do and really get down to studying for it. I’ve already read through the Wireshark book several times – and I envisage there being quite a few more as a refresher.