Community Spotlight Awards - Congratulations To Our Winners

Greetings everyone,


Day in and day out, we see members help make a difference in our community by guiding, inspiring and motivating countless others to strive for success in their certification and IT career goals. The Cisco Learning Network is proud to honor three new recipients for their outstanding contributions on the site. By presenting these awards, we acknowledge their efforts and positive impact in our community…It is also our way of saying THANK YOU.


As with our previous spotlight award rounds, we lean heavily on our community to help us select our Members’ Choice Award winner, so many thanks for sending us your nominations.


Congratulations to our spotlight award inductees for this round:


Members' Choice: Juergen Ilse

Technical Excellence: Luke Savage

Rookie: Karlo Libed


Please take a moment to watch the short video and read all about our winners in our Q&A section below. You can also post your comments to congratulate our winners. Thank you all very much.





What education and training (including certification) led you to where you are now?


Juergen: I began to study mathematics at university of hannover in 1984. I worked for the same employer I work today, but in that time along to my studies (I worked as a C++ programmer, than as newsmaster, later as network engineer for that company). After some years (I haven't finished my study of mathematics), I decided to work fulltime for my employer instead of finishing my study. So I worked fulltime as network engineer (as I do until today). I take part in a "CCNA bootcamp" for preparation of my first CCNA routing and switching exam in 2007 and passed that exam July 2007.


Unfortunately, I let the exam expire, but I renewed it in November 2015 by passing the combined CCNAX exam. I also passed the exam as "Small and Midsize Business Engineer Representative" in October 2015 and I successfully finished the 2 courses "Introduction to IPv6" (June 2015) and "RIPE Database Expert" (December 2015) from the "RIPE NCC academy" (that both were online courses with an online exam).


Luke: My main source of education and training throughout my career has always been my team mates within the IT department. More often than not there is always someone around who can help explain what you are seeing and point you in the right direction to discover more about it. During my time in IT I have attended multiple training courses and have previously obtained the following certifications:

MCTS: Windows Vista

MCSA: Windows Server 2003

Cisco Certified Network Associate: Routing and Switching

Cisco Certified Network Associate: Security

F5 Certified Administrator

Dell Certified SonicWALL Security Professional

BlueCoat Certified ProxySG Professional


Karlo: I have CCNA Route and Switch Certificate.


What's your job title now and what's really cool about your job?


Juergen: I work as network administrator at net.DE AG in hannover / germany. The work is really diversified and interesting. There is always something new, which I had not configured and/or implemented yet.


Luke: I am currently looking for a job, having recently moved to France, but the things I enjoy most about working in IT are:

1) Problem solving and helping people. That little feeling you get when you fix an issue is always great.

2) Getting to see and understand how computers work. Most people take for granted that they can access a website and the details of how we have got to where we are today is fascinating for me.

3) Nitty gritty details. I love packets and enjoy really understanding what's happening in the network. I have occasionally found myself enjoying reading RFCs (RFC 2616 being my favorite so far).


Karlo: My job is not related to IT. I work for Cisco Systems as their Lobby Ambassador. The coolest thing about my job is coordinating projects, meetings, etc with different people from different companies across the globe. I also get the chance to work in the lab with Cisco Engineers. I help them out to install and uninstall cables and some cisco devices; they show me how to configure and troubleshoot and teach me a lot of things that are related in Networking. They actually allowed me to have my own mini-lab inside their lab!


Why did you decide to go into IT as a career and how long have you been working in IT?


Juergen: I started to study mathematics and computer science in 1984. After some years of studying, I decided to abort my studies and worked fulltime in IT (which I do until now).


Luke: I messed up at college and didn't go to university. Instead I went straight into a full time job as a cook. After a few years, the life style of irregular long hours was starting to drain a bit and I had expressed my feelings to some of my friends. One of my friends was working on an IT Service Desk at the time and they were looking for new staff. I had already built my own gaming PC and could setup LAN parties with my friends, so I thought IT could be a good change for me. Needless to say, it absolutely was and I have not regretted the move since.


I have been working in IT for the past 8 years now, 2 years of which as a second line network security analyst and for the past 2 years I have been contracting as a first line support analyst while traveling around New Zealand and Australia.


Karlo: I have always been interested in IT although my bachelors are not related to it. I decided to pursue IT because I believe that our technology is rapidly advancing that every person need to catch up. It is a very valuable knowledge and our future depends on it.


What professional achievement(s) are you most proud of and what would you like to learn or do next in your career?


Juergen: One of my professional achievement, I was really proud of was to implement IPv6 in the backbone of my employer in 2008/2009 (after experimenting for a few months with my privat IPv6 tunnel and 748 network from sixxs).


Luke: There have been many points in my career where I've truly felt proud of my work so it's hard to pick something individual. One of my personal high points was discovering a pair of, mostly, unused Fortinet Web Application Firewalls on our internal network, while working as a network security analyst. Over the course of 6-9 months I performed a configuration review, implemented a series of changes to better utilize the available functionality of the device, fed the logs into our SIEM, documented the entire configuration and created a complete alert handling process guide for use by the first and second line support teams for incident investigation. I learned a lot on the way and was really happy with the quality of the final documentation.


Karlo: Aside from being an US Army veteran, working for big tech companies such as Amazon and Cisco Systems are my professional achievements that I am really proud of. I am looking forward to be more active in IT industry. I want to learn more about Networking and Programming. It would be wonderful If someday, I have my own tech company.


What have you found most useful on the Cisco Learning Network?


Juergen: The Cisco learning network is a place, where you can learn much, and in addition, it is really entertaining. It can support you with your studies, you can get information there and you can share know-how and experiences. It is a really awesome place in the net.


Luke: There are so many useful aspects to the Cisco Learning Network it can be hard to pin them down. For my there are three main aspects, the variety of questions and situations that are presented by the users really helps get you thinking about the technologies and processes in play, having community experts present on the forum ensures the quality of the information and responses presented is good, and most importantly the general community spirit of information sharing and helping each other out.


Karlo: The Learning Center is the most helpful for me.


What advice would you give to someone considering a similar career / certification direction?


Juergen: Sorry I can't give advice to anyone to start a career in IT. I think, I'm not an ideal for starting a career in IT (aborting studying at university, starting my career without any apprenticeship, ...). I think, this way would not be as easy nowadays, as it was more than 30 years ago ...


Luke: When first starting out in networking, it can be a lot to take in. Just take it one step at a time and move at your own pace. Always try and find other sources of information covering the same subjects. The right analogy can really help the theory sink in. Do lots of labs and don't forget to post in the Cisco Learning Network if you ever have any questions you're struggling to answer yourself.


Karlo: You have to ensure that you allocate time on studying. Practice is very important. Once you already have your certificate, you have to continue studying as technology keeps on evolving and people keeps on innovating.


Bonus Question: What is your all-time favorite movie, book, or song?


Juergen: A few weeks ago, I saw the movie "divergent" in TV, and I really liked it. Someone thinking "out of the box", who changed his complete environment in a world, that tried to press everyone in one of a few shapes. It was really impressive. But I also love other movies from other genres too. And I like music, not a specific style, not a specific piece of music. There are many pieces of music I really like, and many of them are not always mainstream...


I like classical music (Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, ...) as well as romantic (Mendelsohn-Bartholdy, ...), barock (Johann Sebastian Bach, ...) and also some other serious music, but also Swing (Duke Ellington, Charlie Barnett, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, ...), oldtime jazz ("satchmo" Louis armstrong and others), and many other styles (including some pieces of rock and pop).


I play trombone, tuba, euphonium and a little bit trumpet, I have a bass recorder and an alto saxophone (until now, it does not sound very nice, when I try to play saxophone... ;-) ). You may have a look at the community spotlight article from February 2016 for some sound samples from me (I got the "rookie" community spotlight award in that time, and I provided some links to sound samples I played years ago).


Luke: Movie: The original animated Ghost in the Shell.

Book: Any of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

Song: My taste in music varies widely but while studying I prefer Mozart for the theory sections and drum and bass for configuration.


Karlo: Maybe Armageddon for the movie. I don't have favorite song. I like sci-fi books and entrepreneurial books.