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Learner Spotlight: Blake Woodlee

Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Blake for winning NuggetGames. He finished more than 5,000 points ahead of the runner up. We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the competition, and we can’t wait for the next NuggetGames. Keep your eyes open for details!

Earlier this year, we launched our first NuggetGames competition to challenge learners to watch as many minutes, answer as many quiz questions, and take as many practice exams as they could to help them toward their training goals!

And a little friendly competition never hurts, right? So, we are giving them the chance to compete against other learners for bragging rights and awesome CBT Nuggets swag!

With the games winding down, Blake Woodlee, a security administrator, is leading the pack. He has earned 3,000 more minutes of CBT Nuggets training than the second-place competitor. We asked him about his training habits, his goals, and other odds and ends.

Q: First off, can you share a little about your IT background?
A: Professionally, I have worked in IT for over 10 years. I started as a desktop support technician and moved into a lead technician role. Just recently, I took on the role of security administrator.

As a hobbyist, I have spent close to 20 years of learning and playing with various aspects of IT — such as web development, internet security, programming, and just about everything else. I get to spend all day at work behind a computer. And then I go home and do the same thing!

Q: What led you to training with CBT Nuggets?
A: I like to study and train at my own pace, so being able to pause and replay the videos is a very big positive for me. Other training methods that try to cram as much info as possible into five days just do not work for me, but give me a good book and some Nuggets and I can learn anything.

Q: How does CBT Nuggets help you perform your on-the-job responsibilities and tasks?
A: I have used CBT Nuggets as a primary study tool when preparing for every certification exam I have passed.  However, I like to really learn a topic and not just learn how to pass an exam. In this sense, CBT Nuggets is great because not only does it prepare me for the exam, but it also provides a great deal of information that is directly applicable to my job and my interests. My knowledge and certifications have helped me advance my career — and CBT Nuggets has played a big role.

Q: What training goals are you working on?
A: I am currently studying for CCNA Security, and will be taking the exam very soon. After I pass that exam, I am going to focus on Certified Ethical Hacker and OSCP. I am interested in SANS certifications as well.

Q: What motivates you to train?
A: Many of my interests tie into the training so that is a big help. It is easy for me to watch the videos for topics I enjoy such as SQL, scripting, etc. Strengthening my knowledge and furthering my career are other big motivators.

Q: When is your ideal time to train?
A: I am usually able to set aside a nice chunk of time in the evening to train and validate minutes.

Q: Speaking of which, we hear you have a pretty awesome training setup…
A: Haha, well Nugget Central is what I have been calling my home office/man cave because I have been cranking out validated minutes in there for a few hours in the afternoons. I have been building PCs for many years now, and my most recent build is a labor of love named Zeus.  It has three 27-inch monitors and high-performance components.

I spend most of my free time tinkering on the computer and because I have plenty of desk space, I knew my office would be the perfect place to train. I have also plugged a laptop into my living room television so I can lay on my couch and still watch some Nuggets.

Q: What was the last CBT Nuggets course you completed? What was your favorite part about that course?
A: One of the most recent courses I finished was OneNote by Simona Millham. I was winding down for the evening and wanted some quick Nuggets while I ate dinner (Editor’s note: Talk about dedication). The next thing I knew it was almost midnight and I was finishing the course!  My favorite part was taking notes about OneNote in OneNote, which I had not used more than 15 minutes prior to the course.

Q: Who is your favorite CBT Nuggets trainer?
A: I was worried you would ask me this question! I cannot pick a favorite because I have enjoyed all the trainers’ courses. Keith Barker teaches many courses that interest me, so I have watched his videos the most. But I also really like Garth Schulte, Simona Millham, Ben Finkel, and Anthony Sequeira. One thing I have noticed is that all the trainers are experts in their fields, and they seem to enjoy the topic they are teaching, which makes it much easier to learn.

(You can learn about all the trainers here.)

Q: Last but not least, how does it feel to be sitting atop the NuggetGames leaderboard?
A: I am somewhat surprised because it was never my intention. However, once I realized I could win it, I was not going to lose without a fight. I have my sights set on the number one position on the global training leaderboard now, but it is going to take a lot of work!

We hope Blake’s success inspires you to push even harder toward achieving your training goals, whether it’s earning a certification or learning a new tech to help you be more confident and successful on the job.

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CBT Nuggets has everything you need to learn new IT skills and advance your career — unlimited video training and Practice Exams, Virtual Labs, validated learning with in-video Quizzes, Accountability Coaching, and access to our exclusive community of IT professionals.

Learn more about the CBT Nuggets Learning Experience.


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