Books, workbooks, videos, software, rack rental tokens, laptop hardware and software have all been purchased; it’s time to get this party started. So, what’s the plan?
The urge to dive right into the sexy labs and save the boring planning stuff for later was strong. More than once I had to channel my chalk-wielding 3rd grade teacher who repeated ad nauseam: PLAN YOUR WORK, WORK YOUR PLAN. Thanks teach, I owe you big big.
Like any large-scale 2-year+ project, there are lots of incremental steps, milestones, deadlines, etc. My project planning process leans heavily on PPDIOO lifecycle management (Prepare-Plan-Design-Implement-Operate-Optimize), merged with other framework ideas borrowed and mixed in over the years. I’ll post a web-friendly version of the detailed plan in the future, once it’s in a consumable format. The gist of prep for the written exam is this:
- Systematic review of each section of the 5.0 exam blueprint, leveraging relevent resources:
- INE study workbook
- INE video lectures
- Cisco Live! video lectures
- Cisco configuration guides and other docs
- Booklist read-through
How will I know I’m ready for each section? I haven’t figured out how to test my knowledge yet. I’ll feel that out more once a few sections are under my belt.
The role of books
Aside from the structured blueprint study topics, the books have their own cadence. This speaks to the medium itself. A printed book is practical during quick breaks, while waiting between chores, and for night-time reading after my self-imposed electronic screen cutoff time.
In the case of the first book, it’s an enjoyable read and offers a nice break from the blueprint grind; “Internetworking with TCP/IP: principles, protocols, and architecture (6th edition)”, by Douglas E. Comer. The early chapters are just review and could probably be skipped, but I wouldn’t recommend that – the writing style is very impressive. The 6th edition has fresh material, not to mention it’s rewarding to re-hash all the giddy stuff that made us want to be network engineers in the first place.
For now, note-taking (more on note organization later) with a healthy-sized printed book works just fine using my iPhone 6 Plus. No need for a laptop – just Evernote and the iOS quicktype keyboard feature. The software works so well that I’m convinced it approaches the speed of typing on a regular keyboard. Watching the algorithm work is entertaining, to boot.
Future topics: video sources, review of INE materials, note organization.