It has been a long week to say the least. I’ve got the IPexpert bootcamp coming up next week so I’m trying to prepare myself as best I can. Thankfully, I had this week off.
As you can see, I have used quite a bit a scratch paper (I also went through about 4 pens and not because I ran out of ink!). I seem to average about 5 sheets per lab. I draw out my initial diagram with IP addressing and interface details. I then place a blank sheet over it and trace out the devices again (less specific) and use that for IGP routing. I then trace it again with just the devices themselves (no links), I use this for BGP. For the most part, I just mimic the diagrams provided the difference being I can write on them. In some cases, I’ll diagram the switches layer 2 info if the lab is heavy on layer 2 technologies. I usually burn the first 30-40 minutes with diagrams and reading over the lab.
I have gone through all the technology and 80% of the mock labs from IPexpert’s version 9 material. Now that I have the Version 10 stuff, I’m picking an choosing what I go back over. Since the Volume 1 stuff is new, I’ve been going through them this week. I don’t have the time to do each Volume 1 lab so I’ve been reading through them to make sure I understand concepts (and doing the lab in my head so to speak). So I pretty much read the lab and visualize what’s being asked of me and make sure I see the “gotchas”. I’m about half way through them so far and hope to finish with them by Monday. I have a nice set of notes I’ve been recording as I go through them.
What I have been focusing on this week is the Volume 3 labs. I have finished labs 1-7 (total of 10) so far. I basically spend the first part of my day reading over the Volume 1 stuff or the Volume 3 walk-through from the night before. I then do the 8 hour lab in the after noon. I did this everyday this week (except I did the morning lab today). I definitely think the Volume 3 labs are very well done. There is a major difference between what I did in Version 9 and now what I see in Version 10. The best part of the Volume 3 labs is the step-by-step video walk-through. Aside from learning how the instructor approaches the questions, my favorite part is the verification for the requirements. I’m really really bad about not verifying each requirement and the walk-through has helped me slow down and verify things at each step throughout the process. Each lab is totally different and you don’t feel like things are repetitive. So far, I ran into one major “gotcha” on every one so far that honestly probably would have kept me from finishing on time. I haven’t blown any of them out of the water (as far as finishing early). I seem to be needing at least 7 hours to finish things and usually I don’t have time to go back for a final verification. I will say that in each lab I wasted some time in troubleshooting things I broke (or requirements that intentionally screw with your head). I feel better about things and I like that each lab brings new interesting issues to consider.
Needless to say, I knew my weeks leading up to the bootcamp would be rough. 16 hour days are pretty long, but hopefully it will eventually pay off.