Who am I? Do you really care… I’m writing this post in hopes that in later days, I will form a kinship with many readers. A kinship that drives me to learn more about them, and them to learn more about me. Hopefully you’re them, and hopefully that is why you’re reading this. Welcome to my very first ARP.
I’m Jeremy. I just finished up the spring semester studying for my master’s in aerospace engineering. Its a fun degree, but if you know what an ARP is you already know this blog has nothing to do with airplanes. See, I wasn’t doing very well in school. You need a B average to stay in a grad program. That means no Fs (which I received). It also means no B-’s. Seriously, no B minuses? That’s a strict standard. Anyway, I had to face the facts. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to be the Regis Philbin of aerospace (not sure where I was going with that). I didn’t know it then, but in early May when I handed in my final and raced outside to catch the bus, it’d be the last time I took a class in the building named in Neil Armstrong’s honor. You’re right, not that big of a deal. So I was talking to my brother-in-law about my struggles in school, and he offered,
“Why don’t you interview at my company?”
Now, I had only been married for all of two months at this point and knew little of the details of my recently acquired family. Net? NetApp? Net worth? Network!..network something. He worked for a networking company, as in an internetwork company, which is short for internet. I guess its actually long for internet, but who says things are long for?
“Really Jeff? You want me to work in a “technology” field. I am an engineer! I work with calculus,linear algebra, and differential equations. More specifically, I study computational fluid dynamics where we use adaptive grid generation techniques to solve the Navier-Stokes equations of aerodynamics or simplified versions of those known as Euler equations. My peers borrow time on supercomputers to run their simulations and you, Jeff, want me to work for your ‘technology’ company? Thanks for the offer, but I really must….”
“Whats that? You make over $100,000 a year? Well maybe its not so bad. “
A month later, I had the job. After my first interview, the boss liked me, but I still knew nothing about networking. They wanted to bring me on slowly, a case-by-case basis, but two weeks later when I showed up for a tour of the office, the boss called me into his office. He knew I had been studying at home, and it was time to see what I knew. Gulp. In a gentle but penetrating manner he dove into what I’d learned over the past two weeks and then told me I could go. “How’d you do?” my brother-in-law asked. I honestly didn’t know. I had said a lot of things, things I couldn’t exactly remember. I guess I said a few things right because later that day he told me they wanted to bring me on full time. “Can you start next week?” Umm, sure. And so I packed my bags up, walked out the door, went back inside to having forgotten my wife, and moved two hours away to start a new journey down the path of Cisco.
Here’s the thing with flash cards: evolve them over time.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. A couple times while going through practice exams, I’ve found that Cisco likes to play dirty tricks. They ask you about a minute detail of a typical command.
“What show command is used to determine the speed of an interface?”
Now it would take me all of 10 seconds on a keyboard to figure this out. Since I’m still relatively new I just cycle through all the commands I know. I can remember a time where I had to know the speed of an interface so chances are I’ll get there if I keep running through commands. I know there are scalability issues with this method, but for now, it works for me.
I assume the position at the keyboard
sh ip int br
sh cdp nei
Aha! That’s the one. Unfortunately, this is not an acceptable practice or considered best practice for an exam, but I digress. Our question has to do with how much information to put on an exam. I find that should evolve. In this example I would begin by writing out a summary on the flash card of what is in the sh int command. It begins with int connection/status, then tells the speed, then tells the encapsulation good. Once you start nailing that card each time it comes up in the rotation, rewrite the card with more nitty-gritty detail. Keep it up until you can see the output of the sh int command in your mind.