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专家思维 - 第一部分

创建于: 2014-07-30 17:41:08          

你准备好投入CCIE R&S v5.0的备考旅程了吗?

如果你刚刚开始备考CCIE,那么当你看见考试大纲所列出的考点量你很可能会大吃一惊,特别是如果你在日常的工作中不会使用到大多数的技术。

 

更新后的CCIE R&S v5.0的考点数量可能看上去有明显的增长,包括新增了一些更大型网络拓扑及全新实验考试的第三模块。我能够理解,新考生会觉得CCIE R&S v5.0考试比之前的版本更难,之前的版本考点更少,每个拓扑涉及的设备更少,实验考试模块也更少。当然,其实试图界定“困难”本身就是一个很有趣的讨论题目。 :)

 

这篇文章中,我们将会探讨到最初该如何开始备考CCIE。如果你已经有多年的IT工作经验涉及对网络机架及技术管理(希望是路由器及交换机),那么获得CCIE认证并把CCIE号码加在你的名片上必定能够帮助你在网络工程师群体中脱颖而出并最终帮助你的职业发展。这篇博客将帮助你验证你的期望值以及计划你的备考策略。你的备考旅程是怎样的?你为什么要投入此备考旅程?你如何开始你的第一步?

 

如果你已经开始了CCIE备考,这篇博客将给你一些重要的备考提示。

 

你可能已经熟悉思科的职业认证课程(CCNA,CCNP,CCIE等),也在网络上搜寻到很多CCIE培训课程以及技术培训内容。这些不同格式的培训内容包括学习辅导书,在线课程,自学课程,讲师课堂,实验机架租赁以及实验室测评等等。无论如何,思科专家级培训课程-CCIE路由和交换(Cisco Expert-Level Training for CCIE Routing and Switching)是唯一一个思科授权的CCIE培训项目,帮助考生掌握专家级网络技术,顺利通过CCIE认证考试。该培训项目整合了现场讲师指导,自学培训模块,动手实验等等,来培养网络专家。

 

让我们近距离审视CCIE R&S v5.0考试,从非技术范畴开始说起吧。

 

如同考取驾驶执照一样,你会想知道考试的内容还有我们应该如何准备考试。而且你需要在决定是否要获得驾照之前知道这些。

 

如何吃掉一头大象?

 

考生们很可能要和他们的丈夫妻子和朋友们解释他们为何会在地球上人间蒸发数星期集中备考,以及为何要花钱参加培训和考试。

 

你是不是了解CCIE备考旅程的要求,意义以及影响? 你是否承诺投入CCIE备考?

 

无论你目前取得了多少工作经验或证书,通过专家级实验考试无疑是个非常具挑战性的目标。

 

Himawan Nugroho,持有3个CCIE认证以及CCDE认证,传说中的企业家和博客专栏作家(http://www.himawan.nu),是我在Cisco Live的合作演讲人之一,他的演讲主要涵盖如何备考CCIE。作为3个CCIE认证以及CCDE认证的持有者,你可以想像,他必定有很多参加专家级实验考试的经验。他喜欢用那一句简单但有趣的比喻来分享他的考试经验:“如何吃掉一头大象?”

 

讲到大象。。。可想而知你必须付出很大的努力才能吃掉大象。,纵观考试大纲列表的长度,你就会知道你需要对很多考点作出深入的研究。如果你已经准备好了参加CCIE R&S V4.0的考试,你可能只需要增加学习几个新的考点并忘掉一些旧考点,并注意一下全新考试规则

 

你准备好了吗?先决定你的期望吧。

 

你还记得你的驾照考试吗?一般是有两个独立的测验- 第一个是笔试(考理论,选择题),然后是真实的驾驶测试。如果你的驾照考试是完全不同的,那就先想象一下吧。当开始考试时,你知道考试规则吗?你是不是感到既兴奋又紧张?在通过实际的道路驾驶测试前,你是否觉得自己信心已经知道如何进行安全驾驶?

 

事实上,你很难说出你能对这些考试还有加上那些考试规则有自信。简单来说,你不能在不懂开车的情况下通过驾驶测试。一个成功的考生或一个最低限度合格的考生都应该能够完成考试中要求的任务。

 

步入CCIE备考旅程意味着去努力获得考试结构类似于驾照的证书或认证,但该考试具有非常不同的格式和要求。大多数考生需要通过大量的深入学习来掌握数量庞大的技术知识。大多情况下,准备考试不是一种选择,而是一个要求。即使有极少数考生不需要备考技术内容但仍需要了解考试的规则并应当规划相应的考试策略。

 

学习?我不怕!

 

就像做项目一样,我们需要计划活动并评估资源,成本和风险。不幸的是,对于需要多长时间来准备CCIE考试并没有神奇原则。这一切都取决于你的背景,技能,培训,测试条件等。请记住,成为一个成功的考生比你拥有技术知识更为重要!考生需要了解考试结构和设计以便制定考试策略和学习计划,例如你需要了解考试打分和时间规则,考试中每道题的分数分配或者考试指南和限制。

 

底线:有的考生具有非常深厚的技术功底但还是没有通过考试。在许多情况下,它要么由于考生在考试上不良的时间管理或是没有注意考试细节,或两者兼而有之。对考生来说,这当然是很不幸的,但同样,作为一个专业考试,实验考试除了考核技术内容,同时也测试效率指标,如工作量(任务数量),时间(完成工作所需的时间),以及资源评估和分配。从你备考开始就谨记这些非技术范畴,这将大大提升你的考试能力。因此,你不但需要学习并练习网络技术考点,并且要练习达到考试要求的效率指标。

 

什么是专家水平?

 

备考时,你会问,你应该对每一个考点有多深入的了解。然后你可能会问自己"究竟什么是专家”?专家是否必须了解每项技术的所有点滴以及每个协议的所有数据包?当然,专家一定“理解他们的工作”并且能够“比其他人做的更好”。但是说到底,究竟专家和非专家之间的区别是什么?

 

回答这个问题有很多方式,其中最受欢迎的答案就是对于任何一个问题,专家总能找到一个解决方案- 特别是当他们不知道答案时。专家可能会使用故障排除技术,查找使用文档或寻求他人帮助来获得解决方案。当然,为了解决问题,专家必须知道网络设备是如何正常运作的。专家比非专家知道能够达到目标并更加迅速准确的多种方法。正如我在之前的博客中提到的,在CCIE领域区分专家的因素是故障排除技能(包括诊断技能)。但是,这并不是说CCIE实验考试中的配置模块没有在考核专家级的技能!所有三个考核模块都在测试专家级网络工程师在不同技术领域的能力。

 

我的下一篇博客,“专家思维- 第二部分”,将讨论我们如何把学到的知识转化为行动。

下次见!

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中英对照:

 

So you’re getting ready to jump in the CCIE R&S v5.0 journey?

 

If you’re starting the journey to earn your CCIE number, there’s a good chance that you might feel a bit intimidated just by looking at the size of the current list of exam topics (previously known as exam blueprints), right? And even more if you do not currently use most of these technologies in your daily job.



The recent changes to CCIE R&S v5.0 exam topics may appear to have considerably increased the size of the list. And, on top of that, add bigger network topologies and a whole new third module to the lab exam! I can understand that overall, this new R&S v5.0 exam might seem more difficult to new candidates as compared to previous versions with apparently fewer topics, fewer devices per topology and fewer exam modules. Well, of course trying to define “difficulty” is a whole discussion in itself – maybe for another post? 

 


In this article, let’s focus on the early steps of starting the journey to earn your CCIE number. If you have a few years of work experience with networking gear and technology (hopefully, with routers and switches), and have recently decided that adding a CCIE number to your resume could help differentiate you from others in the marketplace and eventually advance your career, then this post (and the second part) might help you validate your expectations and initial strategies. What exactly are you stepping into? Why do you want to do it? How should you get started?

 

And, if you are already well advanced in your studies, this article might reinforce some important considerations.



There is a good chance that you are already familiar with the Cisco Career Certifications program (CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, etc.) and some quick online searches for CCIE training products will quickly uncover countless sources of technical training content from many vendors. This huge offer of learning products comes in any format, including book-based, web-based, self-paced, instructor-led, including rack rental, graded assessment lab, etc. Keep in mind that the Cisco Expert-Level Training for CCIE Routing and Switching is the only authorized training program to develop the Expert-level networking skills that are required for Cisco CCIE certification. This blended learning program combines live instruction, self-paced training modules, hands-on practice, and peer interaction to develop network experts.



So let’s do something original and take a closer look at some nontechnical aspects that are most likely of great interest to any candidate who is actively studying for the CCIE R&S v5.0 exams.

 

Just like when starting to prepare for a driver’s license, you will want to know what exactly is being validated, how it is being tested and how to prepare for it – and, most likely, you’ll want to know this before making your decision whether to pursue the license.

 

How to eat an elephant?

Candidates will likely have to explain to their husbands and wives what’s ahead. About why they’re going to pretty much disappear from the landscape during weeks and spend some serious dollars on exam fees and collateral!



Are you really fully aware of the requirements, implications and consequences of stepping into the CCIE journey? Are you ready to commit to the work ahead?



Regardless of your current work experience or certifications’ credentials, passing any Expert-level lab exam is certainly a challenging goal.



Himawan Nugroho, three-time CCIE (as well as CCDE) certification holder, legendary entrepreneur, and blogger (http://www.himawan.nu), has been one of my co-speakers at Cisco Live and usually covers the exam preparation section of the presentation, in addition to other items. Of course, with three CCIE certifications and a CCDE certification, you can imagine that he has quite a bit of experience in taking Expert-Level lab exams. He shares his approach to preparing and studying for the lab exams with this short yet powerful metaphor: “How to eat an elephant?”



With all respect to elephants… the “level of effort” to accomplish the task is huge!   Looking at the size of the exam topics list, you will realize how many topics you will need to study in depth. If you were ready for CCIE R&S v4.0 lab exam, you might just need to adjust to a few new topics and forget some older topics and consider the new non-technical exam-centric rules.

 

Are you up for it? Let’s set some expectations.

Do you remember taking your driver’s license exam? It probably had two separate tests – first a written exam (theoretical, multiple-choice) and then a practical driving test. If your driving test was very different, then let’s imagine something like that. When starting the test, did you need to know the exam rules? Were you excited and stressed at the same time? Even before passing the practical test, did you feel that confidence that you already knew how to drive well?



It probably goes without saying that feeling confident with both the technical content of the exam and with the exam-centric rules is crucial when taking the exam. You can’t pass a driving test without having any driving skills. At a bare minimum, a successful test taker – a minimally qualified candidate – is able to perform a set of tasks as described by the test’s design and requirement documents.



Stepping into the CCIE journey means to pursue an accreditation or certification that has a similar test structure as the driver’s license test, but with very different stakes, formats and requirements. The sheer volume and depth of technical knowledge certainly requires a very substantial study for most candidates. In the vast majority of cases, preparing for the exam is not a choice, it’s a requirement. Even the very few candidates who don’t need to prepare that much in terms of the technical content will still need to understand the exam’s rules and should plan a corresponding strategy, hopefully consciously…

 

Studying? Yeah, I’m not afraid of the work!

Just like for any project, it is valuable to spend some time planning the activities and evaluating resources, costs and risks. Unfortunately, there are no magic rules about how long it takes to prepare for the CCIE exams. It all depends on background, skills, training, test conditions, etc. And remember, there’s more to being a successful test taker than technical knowledge! There are a number of nontechnical exam-centric design attributes that a candidate should take into account when planning its test strategy and formulating study plans. Examples of these attributes include the intended use of the test scores, the overall scoring and timing rules; the visibility of test items when starting the test and the item’s point value or the test guidelines, constraints and validation tests.



The bottom line: some candidates with very deep technical knowledge still fail the exam. In many cases, it’s either due to poor time management or lack of attention to the details, or both. This is unfortunate, but again, being a performance test, the lab exam includes performance metrics such as quantity of work (amount of tasks), time (duration required to complete the work), and resources (level of effort) in the assessment logic, in addition to the technical content. Keeping these nontechnical aspects in mind from the very beginning of your studies will greatly help down the road. So, expect to learn and practice many technical topics, but also practice to reach the performance level of the exam.



Expert-level, what does it mean?

While studying, you’ll soon ask yourself how deeply you should learn each topic. And that raises the question of what exactly is an “expert”? Is it someone who knows all the bits and bytes of every technology and all the packet types of each protocol? It certainly is someone who “knows their stuff” and can “do things better than someone else.” But what exactly is the differentiator between experts and non-experts?

 


There are many ways to answer the question, and a popular one is claiming that an expert will find a solution to pretty much any problem – especially when not readily knowing the answer. And an expert will either find it using troubleshooting techniques, using the documentation, or talking to someone who can help. Of course, in order to resolve issues, an expert must “know how it works when it’s not broken.” An expert knows multiple ways to achieve the same goal and performs faster and more accurately as compared to a non-expert. As discussed in my previous blog post, the differentiator in our CCIE context is the troubleshooting skills (including diagnostic skills). But this is not saying that the configuration module of the CCIE lab exam is not assessing Expert-Level skills as well! All three modules assess a different set of skills expected of Expert-level network engineers.

 


My next blog post, “The Expert’s Mindset – Part 2,” will discuss how to spring into action. You can subscribe to this blog in the right under Actions once you are logged in: “Receive email notifications.”



Until next time …

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