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Certification

Cisco Updates CCSP

It's official - the CCSP is updated. I'm really digging the "core exams + electives" option. Allows you to become a CCSP who specializes in some security technology (ASA, MARS, NAC) without requiring you to know everything to get a CCSP certification. Wish they'd do the same for the CCVP program...I'm sure they will...

VUE Releases Testing "Enhancements"

These were rumored at the end of last year...looks like they have finally arrived! VUE Testing enhancements:
• Photo on Score Report and Web - On completion of a certification exam at the test center, candidates will receive preliminary score reports imprinted with their photos and unique authentication codes. The authentication code can be used to access a candidate's official score online at Pearson VUE's website usually within 72 hours of the examination. The online score report will also display the candidate's photo.

New CCNA Certifications: The Cat is Out of the Bag!

Finally, on Tuesday afternoon, Cisco announced the new CCNA-level certifications...and they are (drum roll please):
CCNA Security
CCNA Voice
CCNA Wireless

I'm actually creating the CCNA Voice Official Exam Certification Guide for Cisco Press as we speak. I've got to tell you - this certification is awesome. It completely fills a much needed gap of knowledge that's needed before you get into the CCVP program. I can't speak for the Security & Wireless certs, but in the CCNA Voice, you'll be learning:
VoIP & Legacy System Integration
CallManager Express setup
Unity Express setup
Basic QoS, Dial-Peers, and other technical nuances
Having this foundation before someone gets into a CCVP will be awesome. Yesterday afternoon, Cisco Press conducted a "podcast video interview" with me about the cert. I'll post the link as soon as it's available. I was actually interviewed by none other than Jeff Doyle (the TCP/IP routing genus) - I'm honored!

Cisco Networkers is Here Again!

It's that time of year again. Starting June 23rd, Cisco Networkers kicks off in Orlando, FL...okay...who's idea was it to move this to the East coast... (ugh...3 hours earlier wake up time...)
This should be a week of technology fun - some of the sessions are a little dry, but have great information. I'll be teaching a couple CCVP certification prep sessions, so stop on by and say hello if you happen to be roaming the halls! Here's my session info:
CCVP Prep: Cisco IP Telephony Essentials, Tuesday 8:00am (Yes, that'd be 5:00am my time...I'm begging for pity on this time thing...)
CCVP Prep: Cisco IP Telephony Essentials, Wednesday, 4:00pm
I'm just excited to hear that the Blue Man Group will be performing this year along with Barenaked Ladies (who came up with that name anyway???) for the "Cisco Event".
Anyone up for karaoke on "If I had a million dollars"?

My Latest Brilliant Idea

As you I'm sure have figured out, I've been enthralled with this GNS3 product. But there's a few problems that I've hit:
First Problem: Every time I recommend GNS3 to someone, they get all excited until they find out they need a copy of the IOS to run it. The next question becomes, "So where to I get that?" At which point, I'm forced to mutter something about using someone's SmartNet contract. And I honestly feel bad! There's so many people that want to learn Cisco that can't get a copy of the IOS from somewhere.
Second Problem: Even if you DO get a copy of the IOS and get GNS3 set up, you end up in a, "what now?" scenario. Let me describe...When I teach Cisco classes, I always encourage people to get some lab equipment from Ebay...but I know a lot of people do this, get all this shiny, racked equipment in place and then don't know what to do with it.

Cisco Announces CCDE Certification

Well, it's now out there: The Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) - the next "expert" level certificaiton equivalent to the CCIE. I've been reviewing many of the resources on this one...all I can say is has got to be intense! I'm really curious about the how the practical exam will be administered...are you interviewed? Drawing network diagrams?
Anyhow, here's all the information - let me know if you find any interesting facts about this:
Cisco CCDE Certification Page:
http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le3/ccde/index.html
CCDE Written Exam Info:
http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le3/ccde/ccde_exam_information.html
CCDE Book List: (Check this thing out!!!

Cisco Certified People Can Get Juniper Certified...Free?

Juniper is evil...at least, that's what my Cisco-brainwashed mind thought until I spoke with someone who really knew how to work with Juniper routers. After about an hour, I was amazed at some of the software features (their software is called JUNOS) they have implemented. It seems as though Juniper can do most everything Cisco can, but with a more efficient interface to work with. Ever since then, I've been looking for a way to get into the Juniper world...Google Ads to the rescue :o)
Just this morning, a Google Ad at the top of my own site caught my eye. It was an ad FROM Juniper saying that Cisco people can get Juniper certified for free. After clicking the add, I found out that it's true! Here's the process:
1. Go to the Juniper Cisco certification page: http://www.juniper.net/training/fasttrack
2. Get access to their free E-Learning courses
3.

Want to take a Cisco Exam? Smile!!!

Interesting new information from Cisco on their updated certification security. Certification exam takers will now be required to take a digital photograph and give a digital signature at VUE exam centers:
Cisco and Pearson VUE Improve Security Innovations in Global Test Delivery
...
Cisco is now requiring that all VUE test centers delivering Cisco certification exams collect digital photos and digital signatures during the admissions process, in addition to the current identification requirements. This new layer of identity authentication will help to ensure candidate identity and result in increased assurance that individuals are presenting accurate certification records in the marketplace. The new authentication technology will be implemented in phases around the globe over the next year.
I'm curious if this will really help in securing the exam information itself.

CCNA Update

Well, it looks as though Cisco has finally done a MAJOR update to their famous CCNA program. This update will indeed make it more difficult to attain a CCNA...and for good reason! Many people are just getting their CCNA certification and stopping (not moving on to the CCNP, CCSP, or whatever). So...Cisco decided, if that's all your going to do, then we'll make it so you really have an idea of what you're doing!
I've been contracted to write the new CCNA Exam Cram / Exam Prep series and to record the new CBTNuggets CCNA series, so I've been researching what is new for quite some time...Here's the scoop:

Mmmmm...SNMP and Netflow Goodness.

I love SNMP and Netflow. There are so many SNMP-capable free / cheap utilities out there that give you some really good info about your network (Switch Inspector and PRTG are two of my favorites). I wish Cisco would come out with a certification that deals with nothing but SNMP and network monitoring (you can go through the entire certification track including the CCIE and find nothing mentioned about SNMP).
Anyhow, I just ran across someone who has created a blog dedicated to the topic. At a quick glance, it looks like some good stuff! Hopefully he adds more to it. Check it out when you have a chance.

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Dr. Radut