Category Archives: Career

CCIE Progress Update

Matt Schmitz/ October 19, 2018

Just over a year ago I posted that I was starting work toward the CCIE R&S exam. My original goal was to take the written exam by June of this year – so what progress have I made, and where am I at now? Well I ended up missing the original goal I had set. It’s now October and I

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Where is all the Automation?

Matt Schmitz/ July 24, 2018

The future is APIs! SD-EVERYTHING! Automation! Orchestration! Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning! Sound familiar? It’s all part of the messaging going around in just about everything IT-related. With as much as you keep hearing about it, you might think that it’s all anyone is doing anymore. Yet it still just seems like not a whole lot of people are really

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Tips for Working with Vendor Support

Matt Schmitz/ May 9, 2018

This post has been on my mind for a while now. I’ve worked as a network admin for long enough, and opened more technical support cases with vendors than I want to think about. Over the years I’ve developed my own process for how I handle those support cases in an effort to get a quick and efficient resolution. Some

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What is Risk Acceptance?

Matt Schmitz/ February 14, 2018

You can’t always get what you want. As an engineer though, it’s your job to determine what’s best for the company and recommend it to management. What happens if your suggestion gets turned down? Well certainly your proposal must have been mis-understood, right? Maybe the decision-makers don’t truly understand the risk involved in not following your recommendation, whether that be financial, security,

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How Does Maintenance Scheduling Affect Your Network?

Matt Schmitz/ February 7, 2018

Last week I came across a thread on Reddit that asked the question: “What is your company’s policy on maintenance windows?”. This got me thinking about how maintenance windows have been handled at the various companies I’ve worked at, and how those schedules/restrictions impact project timelines, network design, etc. Many of the places that I have worked at in the

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2018 Cisco Champions

Matt Schmitz/ January 19, 2018

I received an email late yesterday afternoon – to my surprise I was invited to join the Cisco Champions program for 2018! I applied back in November, but I never would have thought I would actually get selected. I’m very excited to join the wonderful group of existing Cisco Champions, a few of which who I’ve bugged on Twitter already.

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You Should Automate Something This Year

Matt Schmitz/ January 9, 2018

Maybe 2018 isn’t off to quite the best start. Recent processor vulnerabilities have people scrambling to patch and update systems. Stuff like this ends up being a fairly large sink of time for any systems/network administrator. The worst part is that we have practically no control of when this stuff happens or how much time it’s going to take to

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How to Improve: Stop Doing, Start Understanding

Matt Schmitz/ November 28, 2017

There is a key to being successful at just about any IT job: Stop just doing work, and start understanding what you’re doing. Might seem like an odd thing to say right? But this is something that I have seen confuse engineers at earlier points in their careers. In a lot of jobs, the initial training you receive is fairly

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My 2018 Goal: CCIE R&S

Matt Schmitz/ October 10, 2017

I first completed my CCNA certification back in August of 2007. After that I started working on certifications pretty heavily, because I wanted to learn as much as I could about networking. I used the certifications as both motivation to learn and a measurable goal of my knowledge. Over the next few years I obtained a number of Cisco’s associate-level

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Ten years of Cisco Certification

Matt Schmitz/ August 29, 2017

It’s August of 2017 – which means it’s been a long ten years since I originally obtained by CCNA certification in 2007. I figured it might be a good time to take a minute and look at what that has meant for me, and how the last ten years of my career have gone. When I got my CCNA certification,

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