Making this announcement is always exciting, because it gives us the opportunity to shine the spotlight on community members for their tireless efforts to make an impact on our community.
We truly value the dedication and contributions of our members who serve as leaders and mentors to help their peers enhance their IT networking knowledge and skills. While many individuals are working hard to pursue their own personal learning goals, they don’t hesitate to lend a hand to others along the way. We see it every day – contributors sharing their expertise, experiences, key resources, and motivating their peers to do their very best. Without a doubt, our community members play a key role in the success of the Cisco Learning Network.
To convey our appreciation and gratitude, we present our three winners below with a Community Spotlight Award.
Lastly, we would like to give a very BIG thank you to those who sent in their nominations for the Members’ Choice award.
Now it's time to meet our winners...
Members' Choice: Jeffrey
Technical Excellence: Luke Robertson
Please join us to celebrate by posting your comments below.
We hope that you take a moment to learn more about our winners by watching the short video and reading the Q&A section below.
What education and training (including certification) led you to where you are now?
Jeffrey: I started my technical escapade with formal education and got an A.S. in Computer Science with a focus in networking and felt like I didn't understand networking too well so that lead me to the CCNA Route and Switch where I began to gain comfort in the networking environment and I am currently working on CCNP T-SHOOT to finish off the CCNP Route and Switch.
Luke: When I left high school in 2000, I went to TAFE (I think this is something like community college in the US) to learn some IT skills. During my time as a SysAdmin I got my MCSE from Microsoft.
I later went back to Uni and finished my Masters Degree in Network and Systems Administration in 2010. Shortly afterwards, I got my CCNA. In 2011 I changed roles to focus more on networking. In 2014 I upgraded to CCNP. Last year I completed CCDP.
Phoenix: I hold a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering. I'm a former CCNA NetAcad student and achieved my first CCNA (R&S) in 2007. Then I thought to go for CCSP and passed the first exam CCSP-SNRS in 2010. Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish the CCSP track that time. As I was not directly involved in IP/security in my work, I had to let that certification expire.
Last November I took and passed CCENT and very recently, I achieved CCNA Cyber Ops after going through the scholarship program. However, I’m passionate about learning new technologies. I hold below other vendor certifications:
JNCIA: Juniper Certified Associate on Junos
OCA: Oracle JAVA SE7 Programmer
OCA: Oracle Database Administrator
OCE: Oracle SQL Certified
OCE: Oracle Solaris 10 Security Administrator
What's your job title now and what's really cool about your job?
Jeffrey: I currently do not have an occupation. I study Cisco full time until school starts back in July to finish off a B.S in Computer Science.
Luke: My employee contract says I'm a Network Engineer. I'm not entirely sure what makes an engineer, so I'm not sure if that's accurate or not. I started my job as the only networker in the company. Back then we only had a few small contracts that required networking skills, but over the past few years, this has changed dramatically.
This has given me the opportunity to completely break with my SysAdmin past (nothing wrong with SysAdmins of course, I was just ready for a change), and grow as the company grew.
Phoenix: I’m currently looking for a job in InfoSec field. In my previous role in Telecommunications Company, I used to work as a UNIX admin and SQL reporting analyst.
Why did you decide to go into IT as a career and how long have you been working in IT?
Jeffrey: I decided to get into I.T. because I wanted a challenge. I have been studying I.T. for two years.
Luke: I don't remember exactly why I went for IT. I was in high school starting in the mid-1990's, which was a developing time for IT in general. It was moving from a very specialized industry to something that appeared to me to be more achievable than it had in past.
I used to try to get my hands on as much hardware as possible and see if I could fix it up and use it. Not always successfully of course, but definitely a learning experience.
Phoenix: I have always been interested in IT, that’s why decided to pursue bachelors in this area back in 2003. So, I’ve been involved in IT for 15 years (study + work :-)).
What professional achievement(s) are you most proud of and what would you like to learn or do next in your career?
Jeffrey: Up to this point I am most proud of my CCNA as the first hurdle can be the hardest. Going forward after I finish CCNP R&S I plan to build a virtual environment to work on CCIE R&S and study for the security track concurrently.
Luke: I've been fortunate enough to be involved in designing and building some small colo environments in the data centre, which is equal parts stressful and fun.
Perhaps they haven't been big as some of the networks they talk about at Cisco live, but it's great to see a design you work on become reality.
I would really like to work on CCIE. From everything I've heard though, it requires a lot of study time. I have a four-year-old at home, so maybe in a few years when he's older...
Phoenix: One thing I’m proud of that I’m a self-trained individual. Though its my personal goal but it's worthy to mention that I achieve all these certifications by using self-study material. It took quite a significant amount of time to accomplish every single step.
As per statistics, only 11% women are working in Info Sec field. So I’m preparing myself to join this group. I’m studying now for CCNA Security.
What have you found most useful on the Cisco Learning Network?
Jeffrey: I have found the VIP blogs and the VIPs writings on the forum to be most useful part of CLN.
Luke: The best part is that everyone's learning. Even when not studying for a specific exam, as in my case, I'm still learning from questions others are asking. Even when trying to answer questions myself, I often finding myself questioning what I know and doing additional research.
Phoenix: The most I love about Cisco Learning Network is the people and the way they tend to help others. I also enjoy supporting others when and where I can. I’m learning something new every day which is not possible from any other platform.
What advice would you give to someone considering a similar career / certification direction?
Jeffrey: I would advice someone interested in technology or networking to just jump in. Grind out solving problems and learning technologies. Put some time in and challenge your self and you will know if it's for you or not and definitely start off with the CCNA R&S.
Luke: I think there are a few keys here. One is to get some hands on experience. Don't just read from a book, or sit in a classroom. Try to use labs when you can, or if possible, try to get some real world experience. You can't beat real world experience.
But also, when you think you've learned a topic, try teaching someone else. This will really put you to the test. You'll soon find where the gaps in your knowledge are, and what you are strong or weak in.
For a bonus tip, remember to give good customer service. You only have a job if you have customers, so you need to look after them.
Phoenix: “Every expert was once a beginner” - with that keep in mind, I have decided to walk in other direction to start a fresh new career in Info Sec field.
I would advise, first decide your dream career, where you want to see yourself after 10 years. Start looking for relevant study and certification opportunities. And just follow the path where it takes. There are no shortcuts for success. Don’t stop until get there.
Bonus Question: What is your all-time favorite movie, book, or song?
Jeffrey: My all time favorite movie is Man on the Moon, but I think you have to watch the documentary Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond to truly appreciate the work of art that it is. My all time favorite book is To **** and Back and my favorite song as of right now is Strobe by Deadmau5 but I change favorite genre and song quite often.
Luke: I'm afraid I'm going to be a bit boring here. I've never been one to single out just one favorite of anything.
I guess if I had to recommend anything, I would suggest the 'Long Earth' series by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. It's kind of Sci-Fi without being Sci-Fi.
Phoenix: Movie: I love to watch any genres of movie except Horror :-D. My favorite probably HBO original mini-series “Band of Brothers” based on World War II. Book: Trying to remember (:-() Song: “Yesterday once more—Carpenters”- I Love to listen this song in infinity loop sometimes.