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TOGAF 9 Certified

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After passing more technical certification tests than I care to count, the concept of studying for a non-technical exam seemed surreal. Studying for exam that was not going to teach or test me about protocols, signals, or configurations just sounded so foreign. I do have to admit that there were doubts, the thought of studying for exam that created paperwork and project delays took me just as much time to get over then the time I spent actually studying for this exam. Please don’t mis-interpret that comment I truly do understand the need for architecture and aligning IT with business goals (In my time in IT I have seen my fair share of projects that went off the rails, many of which could have easily been avoided by asking a few more simple questions or involving a few other parties) I just didn’t think I would be one to consider a certification like this. Trust me I love configuring in my CLI, designing on a whiteboard, digging through a packet capture to find that needle in the haystack, Splunking through network logs, and being that guy who knows how it talks and interacts. I suppose there is nothing wrong with stepping outside your comfort zone into new territory how else would we grow if we stayed within our own little bubble?

Studying for TOGAF 9.2 was fairly straightforward. I had used the following resources:

Studying the TOGAF 9.2 standard found on The Open Group website is enough to pass for the exam, but my study routine usually always involves a physical book and some CBT videos. I found the study guides to be very beneficial primarily due to the extra examples, the practice questions and exams which was key for me in building up my confidence level. I always find CBT videos helpful especially as background noise when I am doing something else around the house, in the case of TOGAF it was nice to hear someone explain the couple of concepts I initially had trouble grasping or visualizing. Plus the courses from Udemy were not very expensive when I had purchased them so for the cost I found them well worth it.

From the exam perspective, the TOGAF certification requires passing a part I and part II exam (which can be scheduled at the same time) at a Pearson Vue testing center. I took them separately at different times, this being my first non-technical certification I took a more cautious approach.

TOGAF certification steps from The Open Group website.

I always have concerns when it comes to frameworks (TOGAF, ITIL, etc) that introduce process and structure but I do see it as an unnecessary evil (as long as you don’t go overboard), especially in today’s world when we have the Internet of Things and different cloud environments radically expanding the capabilities of both IT and the business. The TOGAF framework does a good job at keeping both the business and IT operations in sync using the ADM as business goals are introduced and grow. Think of the ADM as almost like an extension of the project management process. (highly simplistic and incorrect description but hey)

So who is TOGAF for? Well, if you want to connect more with the business side of your company I recommend taking a hard look at TOGAF. This exam is definitely not on the technical side of the house but more so how you can further integrate the IS/IT projects with your business. As projects progress the ADM framework helps to ensure the work stays in-sync with what the business goals is/are. TOGAF ADM below:

TOGAF ADM, from The Open Group website.

 

However, I won’t be diving into the details about the ADM on this post. Maybe in a future post. Now, I am back off to the drawing board and see which certification is next of my chopping block. I do need to see how my Cisco certifications will transition to the new schema, if you have heard the certification from Cisco Live last June I recommend you give it a run through. Till next next my friends, happy studying!

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

July 19, 2019 at 4:17 AM

SourceFire & AMP showing up on CCNP: Security

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Looks like the SITCS Exam, that is part of the CCNP: Security exam is going from v1.0 to v1.5. SITCS is the exam oriented around ‘Implementing Cisco Threat Control Soluation’. Now, it only makes sense as the original version of this exam was more geared towards Cisco IPS & CX which has since been EoX’ed some time ago. If you have been studying for your CCNP: Security and are getting ready for SITCS v1.0 exam you still have time, Cisco kept the original exam available till December 31st of 2016 so you have until the end of year.

Cisco has published a dedicated PDF regarding the charges between the exams, which can be found here.

In a nutshell though:

  • EoX – Cisco IPS and CX software have been removed.
  • SourceFire & AMP Software has been added in as the replacement topics.
  • The exam code will be changed to 300-210 from 300-207

In my opinion, SourceFire documentation is still a little scarce even nowadays (Finding the proper version of User Agent on Cisco.com is still a bit of scavenger hunt) but hopefully this push for SourceFire knowledge will change that! (In the meantime I highly recommend checking out CiscLive365 and going through the available sessions, small collection here but it has not updated since Cisco Live 2016.)

As always, happy hunti…I mean studying!

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

September 22, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Wireshark Certified Network Analyst !!

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Wireshark

Well, I finally took the time to buckle down and take the WCNA – Wireshark Certified Network Analyst. Once I finished up with the exam I can happily say I successfully past the exam which I have to admit is pretty cool. Protocol Analysis is definitely an interesting set of technologies to learn & know, it is also extremely beneficial for troubleshooting certain types of issues.

How I studied:

Having a few years a packet analysis behind me certainly helped, however the Wireshark WCNA Books from Wireshark University are absolutely fantastic!

The network analysis book, while it is expensive is definitely worth it. To me, this book is to protocol analysis; is what Routing TCP/IP Vol I & II is to a CCIE: R/S candidate. It is a large book with great material, a book you can keep on your book shelf at an arms length for years and still use for reference. This book will also cover all the WCNA Exam Objectives, making it an important resource if you are studying for this exam. The other great piece I loved about this book was all the real world case studies, it’s one thing for a book to teach you topic but it’s completely differently for a book to show you how this knowledge is applied in the real world. At the end of each the chapter the book points you toward PCAPs to test your newly learned knowledge which are available for free off the Wireshark book website.

Once you finish with the Network Analysis book, this is where the Prep Guide comes in. I bought the prep guide the weekend before my exam and went through all the questions, using that book to judge where I stand with the objectives. I did pretty well with the Prep Guide, missing maybe 10% of all the 300 questions so I figured it was time to schedule the exam and took it later that week.

I also read through the Wireshark 101 book, which in my opinion is a good book for anyone just starting out with Wireshark or if you want to start customizing wireshark. Which I highly recommend, however if you already familiar with Wireshark I’d skip over this one.

There are also a few great YouTube channels out there, with some great Wireshark videos and even some Sharkfest videos.

Just because I finished the WCNA, does not mean I will stop posting my Wireshark Tid-Bits I’ve still got plenty more of those in store.

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

April 27, 2015 at 9:00 AM

CCNP Exam update coming soon.

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cisco-ccnp

Looks like the Cisco Certification team has been busy lately, earlier this year the CCNP: Security track got an update and recently an update to the CCNP: Route/Switch was just announced. Before you get too worried if you are currently studying for the current exams, you have until January 2015 before the current exams get retired. So you still have plenty of time to study.

To highlight a few of the changes:

Route v2 300-101:

  • Much more IPv6 related topics.
  • The introduction of DMVPN
  • CEF Concepts
  • Various security technologies

Switch v2 300-115

  • Stackwise technologies
  • Removal of VoIP, Video, & Wireless topics
  • L2 Security technologies

TShoot v2 300-135

  • Mixture of the new Routev2 & Switchv2 Technologies.

Looks like the newer CCNP: Route/Switch objectives are really going to focus on routing & switching technologies and less on other networking technologies. These new objectives also line up closer with the new CCIEv5.

Now, I took the older CCNP exams (the old ONT, ISCW, BCMSN, BSCI) but it is interesting to see how these exams grow and evolve over time. I will definitely say I am surprised to see the removal of Wireless, Voice, & especially QoS from the CCNP: R/S exams. While I understand the CCNP: R/S should focus on well Routing & Switching, I also think it is important for engineers know of these other technologies especially QoS.

What do you guys think?

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

July 29, 2014 at 7:47 PM

CCNP: Security Finally!

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CCNP_Security

And the race is over, last week I passed the SECURE exam finishing off my CCNP: Security, barely 2 weeks before retirement. I feel bad for coming so close to the wire with this one. Considering I passed FIREWALL over a year ago and VPN sometime last year, however it has been a busy year. Now, that I have finally finished off CCNP: Security it’s time to get back to Data Center. Let’s see if I can finish off my CCNA/P: Data Center off this year to!

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

April 14, 2014 at 10:45 AM

CCNP: Security track update!

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Well, I managed to pass my VPN exam a few weeks ago meaning I got half my CCNP: Security since I passed FIREWALL sometime last year. So I started back on my IPS studies thinking life was all good, and then some friends on TechExam.net pointed out the fact the CCNP: Security track has a pending update!

It looks like the entire track is getting an overhaul! No more SECURE, IPS, FIREWALL, & VPN! Now we have:

SISAS – Implementing Cisco Secure Access Solutions

SITCS – Implementing Cisco Edge Network Security Solutions

SENSS – Implementing Cisco Security Mobility Solutions

SIMOS – Implementing Cisco Threat Control Solutions

(Honestly I think the site mixed up on some of those, SENSS looks like Edge Network Security Solutions to me, but we will see if Cisco updates the page)

They have also published a migration path for people that are currently going through the CCNP: Security track (Like I am)

SISAS <-> SECURE Replacement

SITCS  <-> IPS Replacement

SENSS <-> FIREWALL Replacement

SIMOS <-> VPN Replacement

Looks like the old exams are still available until April 21st, so you have three months to tackle the original exams.

You can find more about the new CCNP: Security track here.

Along with the change it looks like Cisco is going to be retiring the many security specialist titles that come with obtaining the CCNP: Security exam. You can find more information about that here.

2 Exams in three months (IPS & SECURE), the race is on for me! Wish me luck!

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

January 22, 2014 at 9:09 AM

CWNA Check!

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CWNA

Well, I finally got around to taking a shot at the CWNA exam and ended up with some successful results! It feels like an eternity but over 2 years ago I took a stab at CWNP’s CWTS exam. If you remember from my assessment of the CWTS exam itself I was able to knock it out fairly easy with a passing score in the 90’s with an ending statement that I should have just skipped the CWTS and went straight for the CWNA. Well after passing the CWNA with a score again in the mid-90’s I still stand by that statement. However I’m sure the additional 2 years of experience since then provided me with a considerable handicap.

In regards to my study preparation for the CWNA, just like I did for the CWTS I used official CWNP CWNA Study Guide from Sybex, that and the 6 years of wireless experience I have. Just like the CWTS exam I found the CWNA to be very straight forward it did have a lot of good questions that made me do a bit thinking and the questions were much more detailed then what I remember dealing with on the CWTS exam. This time however a quick read the through the CWNA study guide was pretty much all I did. I did utilize one or two of the question pools that are available for purchase on CWNP’s website and the questions are great for exam preparation if there is anything I commend CWNP for it is for providing great study material for thier exams.

Now, I still consider the CWNA should be basic knowledge for any network administrator/engineer that has to work with an extensive WLAN. After all everyone knows wireless is a bit more complicated then just deploy access point and hope for the best, having an understanding of the 802.11 technologies is detrimental to a successful WLAN deployment in my own opinion. Now while CWNA doesn’t cover all the 802.11 protocols in great detail I think it is a great entry point at understanding the technologies from a high level. Now, i just hope the CWNP certification gain a bit more traction in the job and because just as well as the CCNA/CCNP certification.

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

August 23, 2013 at 6:23 AM

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