I almost wrote an end-of-year recap for this particular blog post. I thought back to all of the things I’d accomplished over the past year. It didn’t take me long to realize that I didn’t really keep track of them as well as I should. The other thing that changed my mind was Greg’s great post about looking forward. I’ve only been blogging for about 3 months. I’ve really only had an online presence for about half the year. So recapping what I’ve done wouldn’t really do much to help me take stock of what’s been going on. But I’ve been trying to codify some things that I’m looking forward to in 2011 and I thought that putting them down in print would be a great way to make me own up to them. So, without further ado, here’s what I’m looking forward to for the next 365 days.
1. Passing the CCIE R&S lab. We are quickly getting to put-up or shut-up time when it comes to my CCIE lab. I know that I’ve only failed when I decide to quit trying, but the trying is really starting to smart. I’m in a unique position amongst some of my peers, in that my employer has been very gracious in allowing me to keep attempting the lab. But I’m starting to feel like I’m imposing on their goodwill. I’m starting to see a lot of RFPs being released that are requiring CCIE credentials to design what are essentially enhanced layer 2 networks. I realize that these RFPs have been crafted in some degree to lock my employer out of consideration in the bidding process. My pride tells me that I want to pass the lab for no other reason that to fly a big middle finger to them, as if to say “Ha! Guess what I did?!?” In the end, I want to really succeed here because I’ve never let any test beat me, save one. And I’m not about to let the CCIE become the second.
2. Upgrade my VCP to version 4. The other thing that I do a lot of at my job that doesn’t revolve around networks concentrates on VMware. I work with it more than I do with the actual OSes that get loaded to it, and I think it’s about time I made the move to getting certified on the current version. There are some interesting possibilities that await should I manage to get there, including the idea of getting the VCAP4 – Design. My job focus is quickly moving on toward building networks and systems on paper rather than physically, so some more designed-focused learning would do me some good. But first things first. I’ve got to get with the now.
3. Start looking at the CCIE Voice. Heh, compared to #1, this one looks kind of silly. Why start looking at another CCIE track when you aren’t even done with the one you started with? If the truth be told, I’ve stuck with R&S as long as I have because of my stubborn streak. I don’t work with BGP or MPLS in my every day job. I doubt I ever will unless I switch roles and/or employers. But I deal with voice every day. It’s not what I started out to do, but I find it interesting. And so I’m thinking that I might consider looking at some of the Voice courses and whether or not they appeal to me. Who knows? Maybe Voice will be an easier lab for me?
4. Wikify my documentation. I’ve been putting this off for a lot longer than I should. I need to take all of the information that I’ve gathered that resides on my laptop and put it into a form that other people can use and edit easily. I want to have all of my knowledge in a place my peers can get to so that they might find the information they need quickly. I want to clean up my haphazard note-taking style and make it readable. I also want to be able to disappear for a few days at a time without getting ten phone calls and tons of e-mails. I want to be able to pass the Bus Test.
5. Start teaching more. Part of the reason that I started this blog was to collect all the random things that I come across and write them down in a place that I could easily find. As an ancillary objective, I hope that other people might benefit from my research and study so that they could avoid the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve considered bringing that into something a little more formal. Some of my old college professors have talked to me about speaking to student groups. My boss has discussed having me train user groups and train-the-trainer type scenarios. I look at it as a two-fold opportunity. I get to disseminate my knowledge, but I also gain the ability to tighten my presentation skills and put a little polish on my approach. I don’t want to end up as a curmudgeon that sits behind a keyboard all day and loses all social ability. I figure that forcing myself to get out and speak to people might just do that.
I figure five things should be a good list to work on. Especially since #1 is going to consume a lot of my time. I hope to look back on this in 52 weeks and check off a few things. I also hope that I can add a few more items to the list as I go. Because surprises are always a good way to keep your edge sharp.
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