FIN 2013

2013 was a very eventful year and brought a lot of good things to my family and I. I changed jobs twice which brought me to an employer that I’ve wanted to work for over the past 2 years. The salary is decent, the benefits are good, and the people I work with are great! I have been challenged since day one to keep up with everything going on which is exactly what I was looking for. In addition to changing positions every quarter, I passed Juniper’s JNCIA-Junos exam, Microsoft’s MCITP (Windows 7) exam, and a couple of Cisco exams (SECURE and FIREWALL) that brought me closer to becoming CCNP Security certified.

 My goals for 2014 are much the same as they were for 2013, 2012, and prior years. I will strive to become a better human being and continue learning and educating myself to become a better IT professional. That might seem generic but I do have some specific goals that I’d like to achieve as well.

First on my list of goals is the CCNA Data Center certification. I’ve been working with Cisco Nexus gear since late last year and my new employer wants me to become heavily involved in the data center so it makes sense to continue building my skill set and possibly gain a few certifications in the process. I’ve been studying over the last couple of months by using the new CBT Nuggets DC series, reading the Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals book, and reading Cisco’s relevant white papers; all 3 sources have been great. Anthony Sequiera does a great job in the CBT videos and Gustavo Santana’s book is absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend the book if you deal with or want to get into data center technologies. Unfortunately, because this is a newer cert and things have been changing so rapidly in this space, there aren’t a lot of official books for the certification so you have to piecemeal everything together from multiple sources. I plan on attempting both exams, 640-911 and 640-916 next month so hopefully I’ll be CCNA DC certified by the end of January.

If that goes well, I’ll be at a cross roads. Do I finish my CCNP in Security with the VPN and IPS exams still left remaining, move straight into CCNP DC, or start my path towards CCIE R&S? All 3 avenues have their advantages. I definitely don’t like leaving things undone so finishing my CCNP in Security is important to me. However, at my current employer, we are moving away from Cisco ASAs and IPSs as the firewall/VPN and IPS of choice, respectively. We are moving toward Palo Alto Networks’ Next-Gen platforms so while the knowledge would be great, those exams seem to be very vendor specific which would seem to be a waste of time at this point. Moving into CCNP DC would definitely help keep the momentum going since I’m already studying those topics, however, something keeps pulling me towards the CCIE R&S track. If you stay current with certification news, I think you can see why… With Cisco’s recent announcement of version 5, there’s definitely a new energy surrounding it. A new version means refreshed books, videos, and training materials and I would definitely like to be one of the first to say they passed the new version.

My next goal is to make it to my first Cisco Live event. It’s in San Francisco for 2014 and while I have the money saved up for it, it’s an enormous investment. Not only is everything coming out of pocket (I estimate somewhere between $3500-4000), I’ll have to burn a few days of leave as well. The deadline for early-bird registration is January 13th so if I don’t register by then, I doubt I’ll be going. Time will tell on this one…

The last official goal for 2014 is to blog more and to invest more time into this. I bought the domain, the hosting, etc… Now it’s time to put forth the effort and generate content. Sometimes I feel like I have no voice. Either things have been covered a few times already and I don’t want to beat a dead horse or I’m afraid that I won’t explain or convey things to my audience correctly.  Hopefully I can overcome that and offer something more to the community. Again, time will tell…

I hope you all have had a great 2013 and I wish you nothing but success and happiness in 2014 and beyond.

Thanks for reading!