After doing the absolute minimum amount of homework to graduate High School in 2008, my original plan for 2009 was to pass the CCNA before my 19th birthday, do IT work full-time, and never do formal education ever again. While getting the CCNA as quickly as possible was one of the best things I could have done career-wise, I’m insanely lucky to have met the professors at Moraine Valley Building T who convinced me to stay in school, their advice is still helping my career grow. The goal of this blog category is to write some non-technical lessons I wish I knew about earlier in my career, with the hopes of this content improving the odds of success for those just getting started in the computer networking field.

While some lessons in the CCNA world are best burned into your brain the hard way (like putting “switchport trunk allowed vlan 26” on a production uplink without “add” before the vlan number, anyone?), there’s a lot of hard lessons learned that 2009 Tom could have learned the easy way. So that’s exactly what you’re going to see here; a toolkit of lessons learned for those who are just getting started on (or at least considering) CCNA-level computer networking career paths. There’s a plethora of better tech career advice out there from places like, and written for an audience of all technologists. I’m only going to focus on writing for the CCNA candidate crowd here as it’s the group I feel most qualified to share knowledge with.

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