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BlueWolf's Howl

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December 21, 2016

One Book Closer

I am now one book closer to scheduling the CCIE Security Written exam. I just finished reading "Cisco Next-Generation Security Solutions." It covers ASA FirePOWER Services, NGIPS and AMP. Good book, but tough to get through. It wasn't the material. The book is mostly well-written. My only criticism is that there are some very obvious errors that should have been caught in the proofreading. And it's only at the end - which I found odd. It was like the proofreader got most of the way through the book and then skipped the end. But they are very obvious (eg. "You can manage variables can in the FMC's Variable Set section of the Objects tab.")

But that's not what I found to be daunting. It's a matter of endurance. I have been studying for quite a long time for this exam. Yes, it is a big one covering quite a lot of material to an expert level. I have watched over 200 hours of video, read about 3ft of textbooks and taken two composition books of notes. I made my first attempt at this exam in January and did not pass. So I'm a bit gun-shy (and it's a considerable amount of money). So the procrastination and slow-moving last pages of my study are somewhat of an effort to avoid that. But the other side of that coin is that avoiding potential failure also avoids potential success.

The biggest part of this is recognizing that it is happening. Once you recognize and name it, you can work on fixing it. I do believe that waiting to schedule the test is the best path. I have already recertified my CCNPs, so there's no expiration deadline looming. And I know the method of scheduling a test to draw a line in the sand and working towards that date. But in this case, it would add pressure that doesn't need to be there. There's enough pressure with taking the test itself. My method to power through this is to make daily goals with daily rewards to inch my way to the finish line.

Today's example was to finish that book - and the reward was to take a break from reading and continue blogging. No, not just this post. I'm also blogging my way through the blueprint - and I'm currently on section 2. In addition, I'm making pudding for tonight's dessert. Yesterday's reward for getting through the largest chapter in the book was that I watched an on-demand movie. Bonus was that I found one that was free by browsing the list of movies on the network channels first.

The last book on my list is "Foundations of Modern Networking." It covers the Evolving Technologies section of the blueprint. I'm looking forward to going through this. It's the "new" stuff! It covers SDN, NFV, QoE, IoT and Cloud. Only 500 more pages to go! This material is on all the CCIE tracks - so any efforts in this realm may pay off in many ways. However, the downside of new and evolving is that there isn't a lot of material available.

I have a few ideas on finding more about these topics. The first one is to search YouTube. There's always someone somewhere talking about any subject in computing. Perhaps this book will give me better ideas on search terms to get more specific videos. The other idea is to search / browse the Cisco Live material. New technologies are usually presented at an event like this. Sometimes the presentations can be more overview / marketing -related, but every now and then you can find a deep dive presentation (red meat for the techie crowd). The third idea is to search the Cisco Documentation. Again, better search terms may lead to more relevant information. I need a little more than a 3 min video but a little less than a 200 page White Paper on a specific implementation of one aspect of the technology. There is virtue in balance.

Let's see how quickly I can plow my way through this book. Hopefully, my next update will be soon.

Posted by BlueWolf on December 21, 2016 07:12 PM