My Cisco Certification Journey

I started in the world of Cisco networking in 1998 after a ten year career as an ordained minister.  My first job was at a regional Internet Service Provider as a sales rep, and to be honest, I knew almost nothing about the inner workings of the technology.  To get up to speed, I went to the library and checked out Novell’s Internet Plumbing Handbook.  Unfortunately, most of it was way over my head, was a little discouraging at first, so I read it again…and again…until it started sinking in.  Initially, I had no intention of going the engineering route; I just didn’t want to be a “talking head” or “sales drone” that didn’t have a clue as to how the technology worked.  The funny thing is that once you have the “secret decoder ring,” it’s pretty cool knowing how all the pieces of networking technology fit together.  With my appetite for knowledge growing, I decided to start studying for the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification (this was in early 2000), and passed the exam shortly after.  For me, that was the beginning of my certification journey, culminating in achieving the CCIE in December of 2004.  All of my work in that regard began as self-funded (it took me five times to pass), and I learned a ton along the way.  Since becoming the president of the Seattle Cisco Users Group (www.seacug.com), I have discovered a passion for teaching, allowing me to assist others in making the same journey as I have.  I look forward to passing some of the experience through my blog, which will hopefully be useful to those that read it.

4 Responses to “My Cisco Certification Journey”

  1. I stopped at CCNA and didn’t keep going. Wish I had now. I look forward to your blog.

  2. Travis Monroe Says:

    Looking forward to further posts.

  3. Willie S. Says:

    Enjoyed reading your article. It’s inspiring me to pursue Cisco to CCIE.

  4. You didn’t say it was AT&T…. I don’t know if I ever told you, but I have alway used your story about how you start from a completely none technical back ground to CCIE. It was a no brainer to put you into the data specialist role, not b/c you were the most technical or experienced at the time, but b/c you had the most initiative and drive to succeed. Congrats Joe.

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