I’m Rich from the UK. Grateful to be here on NetworkLessons.com and learn from other great people!
I’ve been working in IT coming up to 10 years.
My current role is an engineer for a small IT team supporting the UK for a European company. We look after the UK network infrastructure (desktop / servers down to core network - including Cisco devices). The role has changed a lot over the last few years due to centralisation of the infrastructure back to head office who now managed the main network. I respect the decision but a lot has been taken away from my role - rather frustrating as I love being an engineer.
We still manage a couple of network domains and do general network admin stuff for a user base of 50-70 people, but a lot of my role isn’t giving me the opportunity to grow anymore. While the pay is good and I’ve worked with a lot of different network infrastructure, I desire to progress into a Cisco specific role due to my passion with networks and Cisco in general.
I’ve been with the company for 8 years, but worked for my first IT company for 15 months during my Computer Science university degree as a placement year doing Windows/SQL server systems integration onto network and telephony environments. During university I first learnt about Cisco and passed my CCNA 640-801. At the time I also had 2 x 2900 switches and 2 x 2500 routers from Ebay for trying hands-on learning. Very old stuff now!
After graduating in 2009, I found a job shortly after as a graduate network engineer with a managed services Cisco premier partner doing solutions and support. I worked for them about 6-7 months before they ended my role. I enjoyed the opportunity working with a lot of Cisco products - ASA / PIX, routers, switches and WiFi. However some of the people weren’t as supportive and looked down upon those who had the CCNA but not the experience (even though it was a graduate role where I was suppose to be learning). Unfortunately it made for a rather uncomfortable environment where it was hard to grow, learn and relax.
There were some other people at that company who were cool and an inspiration, but the sudden ending of my job hit my confidence. It made me question if I could ever be good enough to do Cisco or even IT for that matter. My thoughts were that Cisco was a lot harder than I first imagined, that maybe I had been in over my depth and that I wasn’t ready yet good enough to dive into a network engineer role.
Thankfully after 2 months, I found my current role where my performance over the years has been excellent based on appraisals given.
My job works with MS and a few other vendors, but has allowed me to do Cisco support and a bit of migration / installation on occasion with routers, switches, SNMP, VTP, VLANs, AAA, NAT, ACLs, Etherchannel, HSRP, RoaS, designing and implementing the switch network for our data centers, Unity, CUCM and phones as well as training my team on Cisco concepts.
But I desire to do more day-to-day Cisco instead of on occasion. My current boss has been a big inspiration to me and helped me a lot in. As a result, I’ve grown a lot since 2009 and gained a lot of experience, confidence, maturity and troubleshooting / implementation skills. I also feel more ready to go back into a Cisco role but will have to move on to do so.
My life circumstances have changed in a good way which allows for this. I got married last month to my American wife who is joining me in the UK. We then plan after a 1-2 years to move back to the Rocky Mountain west of the USA where I want to continue in networking.
Right now, I have passed ICND1 100-105 (as well ITIL Foundation v3) and am working on getting my ICND2 200-205 currently.
Once I pass my CCNA R&S, the goal is to find a Cisco role where I can use this knowledge and also self study for CCNP R&S. I do have interests in future tracks with Security, SP, Data Center and Design. My general career goal is to migrate from doing network administration into a network engineer with an aim to become a network architect / consultant.
My previous experience at my 2nd job really affected me and I don’t want a repeat - so taking my time to study hard not just to pass the exam but to build my confidence in comprehending the content and how to apply it in the real world. For this purpose, I have a home lab rack with about 9 routers (2801s, 2811s, 3825, 1841, 2522 for Frame relay) and 10 switches (3560s, 3550, 3570s, 2900s) + an ASA 5505 (mixture of IOS 15 ISR1 types from Ebay and some decommissioned devices my company gave me). Doing all this has helped me comprehend the material and implement in labs at home but also in Cisco work in my current job. My boss uses me as the Cisco person on the team.
I use Safari books (my company pays for this) for study content (John Pickard, Kevin Wallace, Lammle, Odom) along with Udemy (Chris Bryant and Neil Anderson) as well as the GNS3 labs. From my experience with Cisco exams - they seem to test the finer points to ensure you really know it. This is why I’m using a lot of sources and labbing so I that don’t fall foul and will be ready to jump in successfully to a new Cisco role.
I’ve joined Networklessons.com due to the encouragement and support seen from experts in the forums but also the excellent material and labs that have been provided by Rene to help with real world scenarios. I hope to be able to grow, succeed and also support others here too.
Hoping my goals are heading in the right direction and that I can become a skilled CCNP engineer along with staying multi-skilled across other technologies.
I appreciate all your support!