So today I failed to achive a CCNA

What a depressing title for a blog. Why? That’s a good question. Why did I fail it? Why am I blogging about it? Showing the world what I can’t do? Even more to the point, why am I invading PlanetVM to blog about it? Well let’s start with the first question, and see if it takes us to an answer to them all.

Why did I fail it? Because I didn’t know the stuff. It’s that brutally simple.

I don’t think I’m that stupid. I’ve been “in the game” for a good 10 years. I’ve been responsible for networks for SMEs from 30 users and a single site, up to 400 users over 25 sites. I’ve done dial-up in the US, and HSRP in the core. I’ve done all that whilst having to troubleshoot Linux, and Windows and AWS instances, and …. It goes on. It’s not special. Thousands of people like me do this every day.

But I should have had a CCNA years ago. I wanted a CCNA years ago, and never got around to it. Recently I got the chance, and I jumped at it. I jumped too quickly. I picked the date. I perused some websites, and kidded myself I know what I was doing. Did you hear the thud this morning as I hit the ground?

Remember that guy in high school, who finished the exam in half the allotted time, and spent the rest doodling and writing out guitar tab? Then got an A? That was me. Not today it wasn’t. 5 questions left with 00:00:00 on the clock. You can’t argue with a computers time keeping, but jeepers, did someone turn the clocks back early? I’ve read plenty of times about Cisco exams and time management. Nothing brings that home like checking how long you have to do this question, and seeing 10 bright red seconds turn to 9…..

What about the questions, surely I could answer them? Right? Well, almost it seems. The blueprint doesn’t give any idea of the depth these questions go into. You really need to know this stuff backwards. That is the biggest, most important lesson I’ve learnt today. I thought I knew this stuff. I’ve barely scratched the surface.

So now we are back to why I’m blogging about it. Einstein famously said that if you can’t teach something to a 5 year old, you don’t really know it. I do have a 5 year old test subject. But he’d get pretty bored of sub-netting, pretty damned quick (don’t we all?). So I’m going for the next best thing. I intend to take the blueprint. I intend to take the topics one at a time and blog about them. If I can’t make a sensible post about the point. I don’t know it well enough. I intend to do the posts “blind”, off line, closed book. Then check them afterwords and see where I went wrong.

I’ve known Tom now for a good few years, and he’s very kindly offered to host these posts, mostly for his own nefarious reasons. I am happy to oblige by rounding out planet VM with some networking snippets of which this series is only the first!

Finally I’m going to ask you. My imaginary friends who I hope read this, and Tom’s loyal followers to do me a favour. Pick the posts apart. Show me the nuance I’m missing, tell me when I’m outright wrong and haven’t even noticed it, and hey, maybe we’ll all learn something.

Author: Anthony Metcalf

Infrastructure Geek, Runner, Father of three... I love Photos and Food, making and experiencing both.. I play Warhammer (FB,40K,Necromunda,Epic,Heroquest) and Pathfinder and love reading new little Indie RPGs... I work with Windows, Linux, VMware, Cisco, and the lower down the application stack, the happier I am. I play with Ruby, and Rails, and BDD with Cucumber. Chef, and Knife and Devops. I also deliver cakes for my Wife's business All in all, I need more time....

14 thoughts on “So today I failed to achive a CCNA”

  1. Anthony, do not worry about failing a Cisco exam, they are notoriously tricky. they make Microsoft’s triple negative look easy.

    It is great to have you posting on PlanetVM. If your posts are a informative as the conversations that we have this should be a very good set of posts.

  2. Same thing happened when I took the VCP4 the first time. I thought, hey I’ve done this for years, I live in vCenter, etc. I think sometimes we have the knowledge but just can’t formulate it into the answer they are looking for. I too am getting ready to start prepping for CCNA, so I’m eagerly awaiting your deepdive.

  3. My experience with the CCNA was exactly the same three years ago! 5 questions left, one of which was a lab!!! So close, yet so far away… Frame Relay and ISDN are not even relevant any more anyway. 😉



  4. The short and simply answer is *no*.

    Why would I want to pretend I had knowledge I don’t have? A bunch of letters isn’t the point for me. Validating, and expanding my core knowledge is the point. Dumps don’t do that. So dumps wont help me, even if they would help to pass the exam.

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