Casper IT Support

November 12:

My visit to Las Vegas this week has been, well, probably different from any of your trips.  I am not here for fun. A few weeks ago in some fit of crazy madness I volunteered to study for the Cisco networking design certification, called the “Cisco Certified Design Professional” (CCDP).  This is a mid-level certificate, and can be superseded by a level which is even nuttier, the “Cisco Certified Design Expert” (CCDE).  Only a “certified” nut job would go after that one, and perhaps I will.

To earn the CCDP, one must pass a total of 6 exams.  The last and most difficult three are called SWITCH, ROUTE, and DESIGN.  After a week of intense studying, I am taking the SWITCH exam today — Friday.  My plan is to take the ROUTE exam on Monday, and DESIGN in a couple of weeks.  This is a very aggressive (and possibly insane) schedule for getting the CCDP cert.  Normally, one doesn’t, and shouldn’t, cram like this.  I don’t know if I can either.  I expect I will not pass all of the exams the first try, but I will certainly keep posting so you can share in the fun, agony, and insanity.

To give you some idea, here is some examples of what is crammed into my knowledge base,

“LACP selects  links to be inserted into a channel based on assigned priority, with higher priority valued links being preferred.  On the other hand, RSTP (802.1W) selects links to be active in a spanning tree based upon assigned cost, priority, or MAC address, with all of these factors being preferred when they are LOWER.”

You get the idea . . . it does seem like just techno trivia, interesting to me but an absolute snoozer for a normal person (I have been doing networking for many years and it is my passion).  But then, pretty often here I have encountered a feature or trick and I have to stop and say “wow, that’s a configuration step that I could use for this client, or this network”.  And I have to shake my head and congratulate myself for doing this.  I’m anxious to add some tricks to our customers network when I get out of Nevada. I think Cisco networking actually has our customers in mind!

Many of these ideas are related to security.  Network security is a big deal, and Cisco networking has a lot of features to stay secure.  I have learned a lot about that.

So teeth gritted the whole way, I will wrap up my first week with the exam today (90 minutes, 75 questions) and I will post my results, good or bad, on this blog.  I know you are all rooting for me — YAY.  If I don’t make it, I get to study more and take it again.  I would like to pass it, I have a certain fear of failing and always have.  Words of encouragement or optimistic hope are welcomed at

If only the guys from Solar Energy Corp. weren’t hogging all of the tables at breakfast . . .

Scott Smith, Medicine Bow Technologies COO