Posts Tagged ‘ network+ ’

For the Love of Networking or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

People usually tell you to do what you love. What they may not tell you is that you probably shouldn’t do something unless you love it.

There are obviously exceptions to this. If you need the work and can’t get anything else, you have to do what you have to do. However, with IT, the rule of “do what you love” seems particularly harsh.

I realize more and more that, with IT in general, if you don’t love what you do, you won’t get very far. You’ll probably work at a Tier I help desk for the rest of your life. While someone has to do it (and while it can be an art itself), I think most people aspire for more. Unfortunately, if you don’t love it, you won’t get any further.

As I study for my JNCIS, I have realized more and more that if I didn’t really want this, there’s no way I could pass it honestly. Sure, I could use a brain dump (read here for why not to) and pass, but that wouldn’t get me very far. I would either bomb every interview or get lucky, get hired, and then get fired within 30 days as my employer realizes I cheated on the test.

This stuff isn’t extremely simple. It’s not overly difficult, but you’re going to hate it if you don’t crave it. And if you hate it, how far do you realistically expect to get?

If you love it, don’t worry. It will all come with perseverance and dedication. Just study, ask questions, and delve deeper and deeper.

BGP, OSPF, Spans, and Bounces – Working for a Service Provider

Disclaimers

First, I would like to say that in general, I like my job. Second, it should be mentioned that I am in a group that is often looked down upon. Third, I am good at my job.

It should also be mentioned that anything contained in this post is my own personal opinion and does not in any way reflect the views of the company I work for, my department, my bosses, my peers, or any other organizational unit or entity within my company.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way…

Background

Let’s get something straight. I consider my job to be vital to the continued operations and profitability of the company I work for. I do not resolve issues on my own, but instead escalate them to the support group responsible for a particular piece of equipment. This is usually DNOC IP or DNOC ATM, although sometimes it can include our server group or applications support.

I watch Netcool. For those of you not familiar, it basically collects SNMP traps from all of the network-facing equipment in our company. By network-facing, I mean network backbone and service equipment. Customer equipment and building equipment – such as a Cisco 2960 switch – is not included. Netcool tells me when something bad happens. This could be as simple as a single IMA T1 going down or as bad as an entire market losing connectivity to the rest of the network.

I’ll say it again: I don’t resolve issues. However, that being said, I can tell you why an iBGP peer dropped and then re-established. And I can do it pretty quickly. I can generally tell you why anything that I receive an alarm for happens. I’ve been doing this for less than a year now, but I feel very confident in my abilities to narrow something down. This is where the problem comes in.

The Problem

If a routing protocol bounces for a few seconds, it is generally held for 24 hours. If it stays clear, the ticket is closed.

This is simple. Why must I send the ticket to another group for something so simple? I think I’m capable of periodically checking on an interface to see if it has remained stable. If we monitored these ourselves and escalated if necessary, we could save time for the support groups. And saving the time of people that get paid more than we do means saving the company money.

When we receive traps, I can easily find a root or common cause. Not always, but often.

I hold a NOC position and title. Why, then, does it feel like I am not a member of the NOC?

The Solution

We need to raise the standard for our group. We need to be more consistent as a group and provide better information as a group. We need to increase our knowledge as a group. Everyone needs to be on the same page.

If we can accomplish those things, perception of the group should become a little more positive. Over time, it should get to the point of trust. At that time, we should be allowed to be integrated more fully into the NOC and better fulfill our entry-level position expectations.

Summary

Working for a service provider is not all that it’s cracked up to be. If I did not have such an excellent boss, I would have jumped ship longer ago in search of greener pastures. No place is perfect, but not troubleshooting is a nightmare. Do not apply for a service provider position expecting sunshine and rainbows. You may find that it is either more than you bargained for or nowhere near as challenging as what you expected. I’m not sure if there is a happy balance anywhere in there. Unless, maybe, you want to be customer-facing.

Certification Future

2012 – The Year of Certifications.

This month alone, I plan on taking three certification exams. I’m waiting on a voucher to be e-mailed to me by the company, and if I get it in time, I’ll be taking my Network+ on Friday, January 13th.

I’ve scheduled my CCENT for Friday, January 20th.

I plan on taking my CCNA SP Ops (SSPO) on Friday, January 27th.

My JNCIS-ENT exam should be on Friday, February 10th.

Wish me luck!

JNCIA and Network Fundamentals

There is a very fundamental concept behind the Juniper JNCIA-Junos exams: they expect you to have an understanding of networks before you ever take the exam.

The exam itself expects you to understand concepts such as subnetting and other networking basics. If you are not familiar with subnetting, how it’s done, why it’s done, what it means, etc., please consider taking the CompTIA Network+ exam. The official materials for the JNCIA-Junos exam do not really go over the fundamentals of data networking. (please see the note at the end of this post)

If you need to study or brush up on your networking fundamentals, I can recommend Michael Meyers’ CompTIA Network+ Guide to Managing and Troubleshooting Networks, Second Edition. It is several years old now, but it is still an excellent book.

If you’re looking for something more up-to-date, or if you prefer videos to books, check out Professor Messer’s N10-004 CompTIA Network+ Training Course. They’re free, too!

I don’t think that anyone could stress enough how important the fundamentals are. Although subnetting seemed to be the only fundamental stressed on the JNCIA-Junos exam that wasn’t covered in the official materials, everything on the Network+ exam is important to a career as a network technician, analyst, or engineer.

[note]
When I say “official materials,” I am talking about the materials offered via FastTrack. I don’t have the funds to purchase the JNCIA-Junos handbooks or attend the JNCIA-Junos classes. While the FastTrack video does talk about several fundamental concepts, I feel that it does not touch on them enough.
[/note]