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Nugget Hero Update: CISSP Boot Camp

Time for an update from the Nugget Hero! We asked Mike to share his progress, and talk about what challenges and surprises he has found in his training so far.

In the past month I have focused a lot on two different subjects (translation: I drink lots of Red Bull!). I prefer a focused approach, only taking on one topic at a time. My work, however, had different things in mind! As part of my work, I was placed in a CISSP boot camp so that I can attain my CISSP. I’ve needed to do this for a while, but the truth is, the CCIE was a higher priority. That being said, the CCIE is a “nice to have” (from my employer’s perspective), so instead of giving up my highest priority (the CCIE), I figured I’d knock them both out in tandem. That being said, I’ve been watching Michael Shannon’s CISSP Nuggetsthrough CBT Nuggets, which has been immensely helpful, since I have no formal background in things like Business Continuity Planning.

Mike hard at work studying CBT Nuggets.

On the CCIE side, the most interesting thing I’ve learned is that you can perform time-based route redistribution- which absolutely blew my mind! As part of my studies I watch CBT Nuggets, as well as reading a lot of Cisco documentation, and blogs as well.

The toughest concept for me hasn’t been any one topic in particular on the CCIE side of my studies, but rather on the CISSP side. While I have a lot of engineering experience, I don’t have much experience from a management perspective, especially with a security-based focus. If I had to pin down one area that’s been difficult for me, it’s been cryptography, and learning all of the different ciphers and various modes of operation. This is where Michael Shannon’s videos come into play. The great thing about studying these topics, is that they have actually made me more effective in my duties at work, since now I have a deeper understanding of what goes on behind the scenes in things such as IPSec VPNs.

Once the CISSP exam is cleared (hopefully this week!), I’m going to focus back on my CCIE routing topics… more specifically, BGP. I’m going to circle around and basically begin my BGP studies again, since I de-railed off them to study for the CISSP exam. This will keep me fresh, I hope, and I’ll probably pick up things I missed my first time around, which is always good.

When I think of the CCIE lab now, I think “I need to study!” One thing I have learned thanks to studying for the CCIE (both written and the lab), is that the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. In IT, you have to keep learning (whether taking certification exams or not) to survive, or you become obsolete. The CCIE ups the ante, meaning you not only have to learn enough to do your job, but to do much more. It’s a marathon, I’ve heard – and I think that’s accurate. Hopefully, with solid preparation, my marathon will end in the next year!


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