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What To Do Next?

First of all make sure that you finished at least the first courses from this site and successfully passed the exams. Now, in order to be true professional, very often networking is not enough. In the perfect world the network engineers will deal only with Layer 1 through Layer 4 in the OSI model. Unfortunately from our experience we know that you should have much more skills in order to troubleshoot and fix some more complicated issues which require knowledge from the upper layers of the OSI model. Here is a list of "What to do next?" in order to develop further as an IT professional. And you should not stop when you finish this list!

  1. Run your own local lab, using GNS3 software or play with our cloud based LABs – we assume, that you already did it...
  2. Learn some LINUX or UNIX operating system. It will be really strange and funny if someone who is responsible for the company's network cannot log in to one Linux machine and doesn't know how to change the IP address of it for example. Don't be scared from Linux. Cisco is using it very often as well, though you didn't know that. For example all versions of CUCM (Cisco Unified Communication Manager) since version 5 are based on RHEL Linux. Some other vendors which are producing carrier network equipment are totally based on Linux. Here is a good place to start. The course is based on Debian distribution, but when you finish it just try different distribution on some virtual machine, i.e. some Red Hat based (CentOS) to see the difference.
  3. Learn some Windows too! No, not how to start your Excel. Learn how to administer this operating system. There is a Microsoft Active Directory in probably every enterprise organization and it is THE standard already so you will have to work with it. Compare the differences between Linux and Windows and only then you will know which OS to use for what. And only then you will understand that there is no perfect OS...
  4. Learn some SQL queries. OK, you are network engineer, but it doesn't hurt to learn how to run one simple "SELECT" or "UPDATE" command. "Ping is the king" but ping dies on Layer 3, sorry.
  5. Try some programming or scripting. You can run some web server and try to build some simple web application. Or if you want you can challenge yourself with something more hardcore as bash or shell scripting.