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專家思維 - 第一部分

創建于: 2014-07-30 17:41:08          

你準備好投入CCIE R&S v5.0的備考旅程了嗎?

如果你剛剛開始備考CCIE,那么當你看見考試大綱所列出的考點量你很可能會大吃一驚,特別是如果你在日常的工作中不會使用到大多數的技術。

 

更新后的CCIE R&S v5.0的考點數量可能看上去有明顯的增長,包括新增了一些更大型網絡拓撲及全新實驗考試的第三模塊。我能夠理解,新考生會覺得CCIE R&S v5.0考試比之前的版本更難,之前的版本考點更少,每個拓撲涉及的設備更少,實驗考試模塊也更少。當然,其實試圖界定“困難”本身就是一個很有趣的討論題目。 :)

 

這篇文章中,我們將會探討到最初該如何開始備考CCIE。如果你已經有多年的IT工作經驗涉及對網絡機架及技術管理(希望是路由器及交換機),那么獲得CCIE認證并把CCIE號碼加在你的名片上必定能夠幫助你在網絡工程師群體中脫穎而出并最終幫助你的職業發展。這篇博客將幫助你驗證你的期望值以及計劃你的備考策略。你的備考旅程是怎樣的?你為什么要投入此備考旅程?你如何開始你的第一步?

 

如果你已經開始了CCIE備考,這篇博客將給你一些重要的備考提示。

 

你可能已經熟悉思科的職業認證課程(CCNA,CCNP,CCIE等),也在網絡上搜尋到很多CCIE培訓課程以及技術培訓內容。這些不同格式的培訓內容包括學習輔導書,在線課程,自學課程,講師課堂,實驗機架租賃以及實驗室測評等等。無論如何,思科專家級培訓課程-CCIE路由和交換(Cisco Expert-Level Training for CCIE Routing and Switching)是唯一一個思科授權的CCIE培訓項目,幫助考生掌握專家級網絡技術,順利通過CCIE認證考試。該培訓項目整合了現場講師指導,自學培訓模塊,動手實驗等等,來培養網絡專家。

 

讓我們近距離審視CCIE R&S v5.0考試,從非技術范疇開始說起吧。

 

如同考取駕駛執照一樣,你會想知道考試的內容還有我們應該如何準備考試。而且你需要在決定是否要獲得駕照之前知道這些。

 

如何吃掉一頭大象?

 

考生們很可能要和他們的丈夫妻子和朋友們解釋他們為何會在地球上人間蒸發數星期集中備考,以及為何要花錢參加培訓和考試。

 

你是不是了解CCIE備考旅程的要求,意義以及影響? 你是否承諾投入CCIE備考?

 

無論你目前取得了多少工作經驗或證書,通過專家級實驗考試無疑是個非常具挑戰性的目標。

 

Himawan Nugroho,持有3個CCIE認證以及CCDE認證,傳說中的企業家和博客專欄作家(http://www.himawan.nu),是我在Cisco Live的合作演講人之一,他的演講主要涵蓋如何備考CCIE。作為3個CCIE認證以及CCDE認證的持有者,你可以想像,他必定有很多參加專家級實驗考試的經驗。他喜歡用那一句簡單但有趣的比喻來分享他的考試經驗:“如何吃掉一頭大象?”

 

講到大象。。。可想而知你必須付出很大的努力才能吃掉大象。,縱觀考試大綱列表的長度,你就會知道你需要對很多考點作出深入的研究。如果你已經準備好了參加CCIE R&S V4.0的考試,你可能只需要增加學習幾個新的考點并忘掉一些舊考點,并注意一下全新考試規則

 

你準備好了嗎?先決定你的期望吧。

 

你還記得你的駕照考試嗎?一般是有兩個獨立的測驗- 第一個是筆試(考理論,選擇題),然后是真實的駕駛測試。如果你的駕照考試是完全不同的,那就先想象一下吧。當開始考試時,你知道考試規則嗎?你是不是感到既興奮又緊張?在通過實際的道路駕駛測試前,你是否覺得自己信心已經知道如何進行安全駕駛?

 

事實上,你很難說出你能對這些考試還有加上那些考試規則有自信。簡單來說,你不能在不懂開車的情況下通過駕駛測試。一個成功的考生或一個最低限度合格的考生都應該能夠完成考試中要求的任務。

 

步入CCIE備考旅程意味著去努力獲得考試結構類似于駕照的證書或認證,但該考試具有非常不同的格式和要求。大多數考生需要通過大量的深入學習來掌握數量龐大的技術知識。大多情況下,準備考試不是一種選擇,而是一個要求。即使有極少數考生不需要備考技術內容但仍需要了解考試的規則并應當規劃相應的考試策略。

 

學習?我不怕!

 

就像做項目一樣,我們需要計劃活動并評估資源,成本和風險。不幸的是,對于需要多長時間來準備CCIE考試并沒有神奇原則。這一切都取決于你的背景,技能,培訓,測試條件等。請記住,成為一個成功的考生比你擁有技術知識更為重要!考生需要了解考試結構和設計以便制定考試策略和學習計劃,例如你需要了解考試打分和時間規則,考試中每道題的分數分配或者考試指南和限制。

 

底線:有的考生具有非常深厚的技術功底但還是沒有通過考試。在許多情況下,它要么由于考生在考試上不良的時間管理或是沒有注意考試細節,或兩者兼而有之。對考生來說,這當然是很不幸的,但同樣,作為一個專業考試,實驗考試除了考核技術內容,同時也測試效率指標,如工作量(任務數量),時間(完成工作所需的時間),以及資源評估和分配。從你備考開始就謹記這些非技術范疇,這將大大提升你的考試能力。因此,你不但需要學習并練習網絡技術考點,并且要練習達到考試要求的效率指標。

 

什么是專家水平?

 

備考時,你會問,你應該對每一個考點有多深入的了解。然后你可能會問自己"究竟什么是專家”?專家是否必須了解每項技術的所有點滴以及每個協議的所有數據包?當然,專家一定“理解他們的工作”并且能夠“比其他人做的更好”。但是說到底,究竟專家和非專家之間的區別是什么?

 

回答這個問題有很多方式,其中最受歡迎的答案就是對于任何一個問題,專家總能找到一個解決方案- 特別是當他們不知道答案時。專家可能會使用故障排除技術,查找使用文檔或尋求他人幫助來獲得解決方案。當然,為了解決問題,專家必須知道網絡設備是如何正常運作的。專家比非專家知道能夠達到目標并更加迅速準確的多種方法。正如我在之前的博客中提到的,在CCIE領域區分專家的因素是故障排除技能(包括診斷技能)。但是,這并不是說CCIE實驗考試中的配置模塊沒有在考核專家級的技能!所有三個考核模塊都在測試專家級網絡工程師在不同技術領域的能力。

 

我的下一篇博客,“專家思維- 第二部分”,將討論我們如何把學到的知識轉化為行動。

下次見!

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中英對照:

 

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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