Introduction to Python for Cisco Network Professionals

career success ccna r/s Mar 20, 2017

The day-to-day tasks of Cisco network engineers are in the midst of a major industry shift. Specifically, we’re moving away from traditional command line interface (CLI) commands, and moving towards having programs do the work for us. The industry term for this new environment is Software Defined Networking (SDN). Cisco’s SDN product suite is called ACI. As an example, we could write a program to talk with a Cisco APIC controller, which could then send out commands to multiple Cisco devices (e.g. routers and switches).

This change is going to require Cisco engineers to become proficient in programming, and the most common programming language for SDN is the Python programming language. Unfortunately, the challenge of learning a new programming language can be a bit daunting even to seasoned engineers.

Fortunately, this video will break the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) surrounding Python. Specifically, in this video, you’ll learn:

  • How to download Python...
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Fundamentals of the Internet of Things (IoT)

It's another one of those buzzwords we're hearing a ton these days, the Internet of Things, or IoT for short.

But what exactly is it, and how's it going to impact us as networking professionals? That's what you'll learn in this new video: 

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5 Tips for Your Technical Resume

career success Aug 09, 2016

You’ve earned your certifications. Maybe you have a college degree, and hopefully some technical experience. Now, it’s time to sell yourself to a prospective employer. We all know first impressions matter, and when it comes to the job seeker, that first impression is often in the form of a resume.

Personally, I’ve poured through tons of resumes while hiring Network Engineers when I was a Network Manager at a university. Of course, I’ve been on the other side of the table too, and have updated and fine-tuned my resume dozens of times.

Resumes need to quickly let a hiring manager get a sense for how you can help their company meet their objectives. Towards that end, let’s check out five quick tips for honing your technical resume.

Tip #1: Be Brief

A mistake I’ve made in my resumes, is being way too verbose. What I failed to realize is more is not necessarily better when it comes to resumes. A hiring manager is wading through a pile of resumes....

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Your Learning Calendar

career success Jun 28, 2016

There are lots of things that I intend to get around to, sooner or later. One day, I’m going to clean out a bunch of old clothes from my closet. One day, I’m going to clean out my garage, and get it organized. The sobering fact, however, is I’ve had these intentions for a LONG time, and I’ve done nothing about them. If I were truly committed to getting these things done, I would put them on my calendar.

What gets scheduled, gets done. – Kevin Wallace

The unfortunate thing with all too many IT careers is we have good intentions to learn about some emerging technology, but, like my intention to clean out my closet, we never get focused on it. This reminds me of a story I a shared in my book Your Route to Cisco Career Success. The story was about a time when my director asked for my input on a decision regarding promoting a staff member. My director explained that this person had eleven years of experience. My rebuttal was they did not have eleven years...

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The “Job – Experience” Paradox

career success Jun 14, 2016

It’s a timeless paradox… “How can I get a job without experience, and how can I get experience without a job?” If you find yourself in such a situation, this blog post is going to show you a couple of ways to add experience to your resume.

Let’s say you worked hard to earn your CCNA R/S certification. However, when you submit your resume to perspective employers, you don’t get the interview, because you don’t have any experience. That’s an all-to-common reality for many entering the IT field. So, how can you get that elusive experience without that even more elusive job? Here are a couple of strategies you might consider:

1. Volunteer

There are plenty of charitable organizations out there that would welcome your services. For example, I volunteered to setup a wireless network for my church. You could do something similar, and ask if your volunteer position could be given a job title. Now, you’ve got some experience to add to...

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5 Essential Books for Your Cisco Career

career success May 12, 2016

When I was around 20 years old, I used to go into bookstores and look for a book (something on a technical topic, a business biography, or on personal development) that I could afford. However, I recently went into a book store, and it occurred to me that I’m never going to be able to read all the books I’d like to read in my lifetime. So, now my book selection is less about getting a bargain and more about which books will have the biggest impact in my life.

In this blog post, I want to give you my recommendation for five books that have been significant to me and that I think will help you in your career as a Cisco networking professional. Interestingly, only one of the recommended books is a Cisco Press book. That’s because the specific Cisco Press books best suited to you greatly depend on your particular technology focus. So, the assumption is, you’ll have your own personalized collection of Cisco Press books in addition my five book recommendations....

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Your Route to Cisco Career Success – Part 7: A Certified Success

career success Mar 07, 2016

Having the appropriate Cisco initials after your name (e.g. CCNA, CCNP, or CCIE) is a shortcut way of letting someone know your relative skill level. Even if you’ve got the skills and are at the top of your game, you still might be passed over when you’re looking for a new job, because that new job explicitly requires a specific certification. For many Cisco professionals (including me), earning certifications is less about impressing others and more about pushing yourself, to see how good you really are and what you’re capable of. I always get a rush when attaining a new certification and start thinking about what’s next. Also, if you’re a consultant, having a nice collection of Cisco certifications is an instant way to establish credibility with potential clients. You could even use your hard-earned credentials in your marketing materials.

The Spectrum of Cisco Certifications

Hopefully, you’re convinced that earning certifications is a worthy...

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Your Route to Cisco Career Success – Part 6: Getting Your Hands Dirty

career success Feb 17, 2016

While documentation is indispensable in your mastery of Cisco technologies, at some point you have to “get your hands dirty.” In other words, you have to actually configure the routers, switches, and other devices about which you’re studying. For some people, this is a trivial task, because they work with Cisco gear in their day-to-day jobs. For others, who might be self-studying, getting their hands-on practice equipment could be a bit more challenging. In this blog post, we’ll consider a few options for getting you the hands-on experience that is vital to your career.

Using Equipment at Work

If you work with Cisco equipment on a routine basis as part of your employment, you are in a very fortunate situation. You have access to, potentially, very expensive equipment, which you didn’t have to buy.

There is an important distinction to be made here. Do you have access only to equipment currently in use, or do you have access to spare equipment, which you...

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Your Route to Cisco Career Success – Part 5: Tomes of Wisdom

career success Jan 31, 2016

In high school, I really, really disliked reading. My reading speed was slow, and I found most of the assigned books were boring to me. Since this was back in the 1980s, before audio books really took off, I actually got my mother to read the books into a cassette recorder. That allowed me to listen to the books without going through what I considered to be the agony of reading.

A few years later, I discovered that my disdain for reading was based on the specific books assigned in high school. I actually loved reading about things that interested me. In fact, today, reading is what I mainly enjoy doing in my free time.

At some point during the 1990s, my local Cisco sales rep gave me my first Cisco Press book. I was hooked and started to assemble a Cisco Press library. Little did I suspect that one day my name would be on several Cisco Press titles.

My favorite quote about books comes from the late Jim Rohn, who was a personal development speaker.

Poor people have big TVs. Rich...

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Your Route to Cisco Career Success – Part 4: Time Alchemy

career success Dec 20, 2015

While having lofty goals is key to propelling your career into the stratosphere, if you don’t have time to take action on your goals, what good are they? I shouldn’t say that you don’t have time. After all, we all have the same amount of time during a day. Unfortunately, our days can become filled with distraction (e.g. Facebook®, television, and those people in your life that are “time vampires”). That’s the focus of this blog posting: Time Alchemy, which is the fourth in the Your Route to Cisco Career Success blog postings.

Life… is a timed test. No pressure.
– Kevin Wallace

This quote came to me after having a conversation with one of my daughters about a timed test she had at school. She had a limited amount of time to answer a certain number of questions, and it occurred to me that life is the same way. We’re here on earth for a limited time, and we’re presented with questions to answer and problems...

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