DevNet Pro Journey: DEVCOR Week 3

Hello again! This week my main focus in my DEVCOR studies revolved around topics in exam topic 3.0 Cisco Platforms. My disclaimer up front is that I didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked to on studying this week, so I only completed a little over half of the the outlined topics.

Introduction

As mentioned in my previous post, I was going into this week with the idea that studying would be pretty straightforward – learn the different Cisco product APIs. However, I quickly learned that I had to learn more than just the APIs themselves. Coming up, I’ll highlight the topics I reviewed and my impressions on the material.

Week 3 Topics

As always, I’m providing a screenshot directly from the exam blueprint of the topics covered.

Taken from https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/s/devcor-exam-topics

As you can see, there are many more topics in section 3.0 vs last week’s section (2.0). Despite having more topics in this section, I thought this was going to be easier than the past two sections. Section 3.0 topics revolve around Cisco products and their associated APIs. I figured this section would take me back to my DevNet Associate and ENAUTO study sessions, where I focused mostly on understanding the product’s API – I was wrong.

To describe my study issues this week, I found relevance with this tweet from Hank Preston.

“You can’t automate what you don’t understand…”. I found the biggest issue I had wasn’t parsing through the JSON/RPC+XML responses, but rather actually understanding the product and problems each product solves. Technical understanding aside, I didn’t work with these products day-to-day, so learning how to interact with their APIs didn’t do me any good. As a result, many of my time spent this week was going over the product white papers and other documentation – not sending in API requests. That’s why I wasn’t able to cover every topic in this section (like I thought I was going to).

I needed to first read up and understand each product, THEN learn how to interact and automate certain workflows. Don’t get me wrong – these products aren’t foreign to me. I had a rough idea about each product going into each study session. What I tried learning was how each product played a role in an enterprise environment. For example, why use FDM vs FMC to manage your devices running FTD (yes, I purposely used all the acronyms I could 🙂 ). Understanding each product and what purpose they serve in an enterprise infrastructure will help you better learn WHY you would want to interact and automate certain workflows using their APIs.

My Week 3 Impressions

I think I pretty much summed up my impressions on this week, but as it relates to the actual topics I covered, I was able to review topics 3.1 – 3.5. I was familiar with sections 3.1 and 3.3 (Webex Chatops and Meraki APIs), as I have experience using both products and their APIs. On top of that, both APIs are well-documented and easy to pickup (in my opinion). The other topics (3.2, 3.4, 3.5) were a bit tougher to pickup since I haven’t had as much experience with the products outlined in each topic (FDM, Intersight, and UCS Manager).

The main lesson I learned was that understanding a product’s functionality and role within an enterprise environment, versus jumping right into the technical docs, will better prepare you when studying for an exam.

Conclusion

I know this post was shorter than past weeks, but expect these weekly updates to vary depending on the topics or lessons learned from that week. Next week, I’m aiming to have the rest of section 3 and about half of section 4 completed. Section 4 (4.0 Application Deployment and Security) has a total of 11 topics, many being new to me, so I expect section 4 to take a couple weeks to review.

Please comment or hit me up on Twitter (@devnetdan) if you have any questions or feedback. Thanks for reading!

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