CCIE Pursuit Blog

April 3, 2007

Bonjour tout le monde!

Filed under: Personal,Work — cciepursuit @ 5:29 am

This post will be a brief introduction as I really hate to write about myself.  I will “fill in the blanks” in future posts. 

As stated in the “About” page, I am a Twin Cities-based network engineer.  I have been “doing the Cisco thing” for just over seven years now.  I’ve been working in IT in one fashion or another for nearly 10 years.  I started out doing graphics and web design and then moved to a corporate Help Desk position.  From there I became certified as a Microsoft MCSE(NT4 – old skool).  I (very) briefly worked in Microsoft networking as well as desktop builds/support.  In March of 2000 I took a job working in the NOC of a very large (actually, the largest in the world) privately-held company.  At the time that I took that position, the sum of my network knowledge (outside of the Microsoft realm) consisted of knowing how to ping from a DOS prompt and also that a T1 contained 24 64K channels (although I don’t think that I fully understood what that meant).  I was definitely not qualified for that position.  I learned later that I was hired based on my “potential”.  Oh, and also, the other candidates were either pretty horrible or wanted way too much money.  This was during the Golden Age of IT when people were getting hired just because they could spell “computer”.

I took the NOC position because I wanted to get a foot in the door and quickly move on to Microsoft server support.  Unfortunately these plans were scuttled when the bottom dropped out of the dot com industry and the IT industry went into a long, dark freeze.  I was stuck doing Cisco.

I spent 5 years working in that position.  While we did get to work on some interesting equipment (Cisco IGX switches, DACS systems, Adran CSU/DSUs, and RNET/Motorola/Whomever-The-Fuck-Owns-Them-Now Vanguard routers) our main duty was supporting a very large, international Frame Relay network.  A lot of this consisted of seeing an alert and turning the circuit into the appropriate carrier to test.  During this time I concentrated on studying database design and .NET programming.  I wanted to be a DBA and/or a web programmer. 

Finally the “IT Freeze” started to thaw (at least internally) in 2005.  I threw out my DBA/.NET plans and took a position (and huge pay/status cut) to join the Router Team.  I effectively decided to stay in networking for the rest of my life.

In the NOC position we were not granted “enable mode” (privileged exec).  As a result, I could trouble-shoot Frame Relay inside and out with “show” commands, but I was way over my head when it came to configuring routers and troubleshooting routing issues.  Also, I had never touched a layer 2 switch in my life.

A few months after I joined the team, the team was split in half during reorganization.  I was placed in the LAN team.  This was actually a boon to me as it effectively cut in half the amount of technology that I had to learn.  We had a mixture of Nortel and Cisco switches (as well as some rogue hubs) in the field.  This made troubleshooting LAN issues “interesting”.  I quickly appreciated the power of CDP.

I eventually became the “wireless guru” as I inherited the WLAN when one of our consultants left.  That became my major passion.  I loved working with wireless.  We rolled out hundreds of access points and supported them with WLSE.

Although I was fully “engaged” (corporate babble) in my work, I was feeling the pinch in my pocketbook.  I took a large pay cut when I moved into that position.  I was quickly promoted, but my pay increase was half of what I had been promised.  I soon left the company and began working in my current position (at a higher salary).

As I have gone on way too long with my (supposedly brief) back story, I will wrap it up here.  My current position is working on a very large CISCO ONLY (hallelujah!) network.  I had to quickly learn BGP, ATM IMA, and other technologies when I moved over.  I decided at that point to start pursuing Cisco certification starting with renewing my CCNA and then working on the CCNP and CCIP certifications.  I have completed the CCNP and the first test of the three remaining CCIP exams (QoS).  I recently decided that I would make a run at the CCIE.


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