Posted on: May 3, 2016
Cisco Certifications and Test Anxiety
Posted by: Phil Stalnaker
Somehow, at the ripe old age of thirty-six, I find myself in test-taking mode again. Coming up this year I am facing, not one, but two career defining tests. The first of those is barely more than a week away, and while the second is not until August, I have found and solidified myself in early onset test anxiety mode. Yea, somehow, I am already nervous. The test in August is actually the culmination of fourteen years of work (given a few years in the middle of that were unfocused) and will have a lasting effect on my future. But, to get there, I have to make it past the test on May 12th. It’s time to face my first Cisco Certifications test.
It’s finally here – the showdown of the century and all I will be allowed to bring into the testing center will be my clothes. And while many in the technology industry may look at this particular test as little more than an exercise in common sense, it is one I am taking seriously. A certification on “Selling Business Outcomes” doesn’t have a lot of in-depth technology focused at its core, but is more targeted at understanding the heart of the business you are working with in order to apply the correct technology need for the best possible outcome. It helps us to understand things like Critical Success Factor and Key Performance Indicators, so that we can recommend and implement technology solutions that are finely tuned to match their specific need and accomplish a powerful purpose.
B2 Technology Solutions Earning Cisco Certifications
I am doing this as part of a team effort to take our relationship with Cisco to the next level. Hence, I am not the only one at B2 Technology Solutions that is working toward Cisco certifications. One renewing his CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) and another focused on earning his CCDA (Cisco Certified Design Associate). Thankfully, I am not a tech guy and don’t have to take THOSE tests. I am pretty sure at that point I would rather have my tongue loosened by a medieval torture device (thanks, Robin Hood: Men in Tights!). That’s exactly the point. I am combating the heart of my learning style and personal interests with this exam. My nature would rather study philosophy or theology and write essays exams on differing arguments for the existence of God, but those types of answers don’t fly in the world of computers. In IT, we are expected to learn and know specific quantitative data. Multiple choice is the preference of the proctors and, unless noted, only one of those options is correct. There will be no option to argue the merit of another option.
It may not be my original nature, but I am glad that Cisco does things this way. Configuring a network security firewall requires making the correct configurations so that your client is protected from vicious malware. There is no arguing when it comes to the process of understanding the reasons for purchasing a network switch as opposed to an access point. “Cisco started out as a routing company in the 1980s, added switching in the early/mid 1990s. Since that time, Cisco has added other technology areas… [giving] opportunities for Cisco certs in Wireless, Security, Voice, Service Provider, Data Center, and maybe other areas” (Network World). These are vital components to running a secure and successful business today.
What is important about this article is not that I am starting my Cisco certifications, or even that B2 is growing and taking necessary steps to be the best service provider in southwest Florida, but that our techs are determined to make sure that they have the tools to provide businesses safety and security with their technology. Aligning with and utilizing opportunities from Cisco are only one piece of that puzzle, but having certifications like the CCNA and others are key components to offering that great user experience that we advertise.