A Day in the Life of a CCNA.
My name is Daniel and I work for an ISP based near to London.
I left school with a few qualifications but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I have always been interested in IT and was always repairing friends computers or helping them if they couldn’t get their printers working. I also worked out how to help install their broadband routers.
I started on a degree in IT but I found that it was mostly theory based and would be of little use if I wanted to be a network engineer. A friend on the course told me about the Cisco CCNA so I did some research and found Paul Brownings Networks Inc. Cisco training site.
I had no budget for a course but then I found the online CCNA training sitewww.howtonetowork.net so I joined that.
I studied for about 2 hours per day for 6 weeks and passed the CCNA first time. For hands on practise I used some second hand routers and switches I bought from ebay.
Once I passed my CCNA I started job hunting. I applied for five jobs per day mostly viawww.monster.co.uk or via www.jobserve.com. Most companies ignored me and I had a few interviews which came to nothing.
Eventually I was called for an interview with my current company who are a medium sized ISP based outside of London. They were impressed that I had studied for the CCNA in my own time. The interview was about TCP/IP and subnetting which I knew well from the www.howtonetwork.net website. I was also asked about basic routing and troubleshooting and I got most of the answers right because they are all CCNA topics.
I was given the job and work as part of the network support team. Here is my typical day:
0830 – start work. I have my cup of tea on my desk and I check the queue for tickets logged by customers. My job is to try to resolve problems before they are passed to team 2.
0845 – first ticket. A customer is trying to put an IP address on a router. I e-mail them over a walkthrough guide I wrote while I had some free time. There are some pictures and clear instructions so they should be fine using that.
0900 – another ticket. A customers server backups are failing. I call them and speak to the server team. I ask them where they are sending the backups and they tell me it is IP address 10.10.10.7. I ask them if the server has a route to that address and they confirm it does. I then ask which device uses the address 10.10.10.7 and am told that it is reached via a network switch. We check the switch and the interface on it is down. Somehow the duplex settings on the switch have been set to 10mpbs half duplex when it should be 100mpbs full.
0930 – no tickets at the moment so I use the time to clear my e-mail inbox and then read up on wireless security because we are taking on support contracts for that soon.
1000 – another ticket comes in. A customer is trying to apply IP address 192.168.1.63 255.255.255.224 to a router but it isn’t working. I work it out on paper and that is the broadcast address so it will never work. I tell them to use 192.168.1.62 if that is free. I’m glad I learned the easy way to subnet.
1130 – team meeting about changes to support systems and new procedures. There is a space on team 2 so I think I am going to apply for it. I have a good chance because I am the only CCNA qualified engineer on team 1.
1230 – Lunchtime. I have a sandwich in the canteen and then study for 45 mins. I want to take my CCNP next so I read up on OSPF.
1330 – it has been busy. I have to call a customer who is installing a new router but their serial interface will not come up. They know a bit about routers but still can’t resolve the issue.
We start at layer 1 so I ask him to check that a cable is plugged in with the ‘show controllers’ command on the router. It shows there is a DTE cable connected. I then ask them to check layer 2 which is the encapsulation on the interface. He has HDLC but when he checks the paperwork from us it does say he needs to set it to PPP. Once he does that the interface comes up and it works fine.
1400 – more tea and another ticket. A customer has lost the password to get into enable mode on their router. They have a 1760 model so I check on Google and find the password reset procedure. They have to reload the router and use the break keys to get into Rommon mode.
It takes a while but we get back into it and change the password for him. I suppose he could have found the answer himself if he had looked but there you go.
1450 – team 2 are all in a meeting when an urgent case comes in. A customers router has gone down and it is business affecting. I take the ticket and try to fix it before calling the team out of their meeting.
When I speak to the customer I found that the router isn’t actually down but it reloaded and now they cannot access e-mail or the internet. I ask them to read out the running config to me since they can’t e-mail it. It all sounds fairly standard until they get to the access list. It reads
permit tcp any any eq domain permit tcp any host 188.8.131.52 eq ftp permit tcp any any eq https
I can see that for some reason they are not allowing www or smtp. I think that the access list must have been working but they never saved it to the startup config so when it reloaded those commands went missing. I talk them through adding the missing lines and after we test it everything seems to be working fine.
1610 – wrap up on a few old tickets to make sure the customers are okay for me to close the ticket off. One final cup of tea and then I leave for home.
The good thing is that you can always ask for help if you get stuck. Most of the answers are on google or on the howtonetwork web site or in one of my Cisco books. We stock a lot here at work and they are there to be used.