Road to DevNet Expert

Intro

Back in October, Cisco DevNet announced the new DevNet Expert certification. As you can imagine, I was pumped to hear the announcement and ready to begin my study preparations. Ever since they announced the Cisco DevNet certifications at Cisco Live US 2019, my goal has been to obtain each DevNet certification level (Associate, Professional, Expert). So far, I’ve achieved the DevNet Associate and DevNet Professional certifications, with Expert on the horizon. Until October, the Expert certification was TBD, so finally having some concrete facts about the release date, exam format, etc. was thrilling for me. Since I had already passed the written portion of the certification (DEVCOR 350-901) for my DevNet Professional certification, I only have to pass the lab portion of the exam. This would be different because I’ve never taken a Cisco practical lab exam before (especially an 8 hour one!). After the hype of the announcement died off, and I was figuring out how to study for the lab exam, I realized one interesting way to do it… live streaming.

Live Streaming

Over the past couple years with COVID lockdowns and many people staying at home, live streaming has become very popular across different entertainment genres: gaming, music, coding, etc. It helped bridge the social gap we were all experiencing during the lockdowns and provided a platform for people to converse and interact with one another. Since most of my studies for the lab exam were going to be practical and required hands-on experience, I figured, “Why not hit record and live stream my experience?”. Now some may think that I would do this for accountability purposes, which is partly true. However, I’m mostly live streaming my studies because I want to provide the audience with full transparency, authenticity, and allow others to ask questions while I struggle conquer my studies. Since this truly is a journey, I decided to dub this live stream series #RoadtoDevNetExpert. The goal is for others to understand that, behind the curtains, everyone struggles and sometimes needs a helping hand when learning something new. I also hope that many are able to follow along and learn something new along the way. Much of the content I provide during my streams will be introductory and most of the coding examples are beginner-level. I try to thoroughly explain each topic so that it drives conversation from the live stream chat and sets up a potential Q&A. The chat really helps me during the stream and makes it fun. This helps my studies because when I’m able to speak to a topic, it helps me understand it better. On the flip side, I am not trying to bore anyone with streaming 1-2 hours of silence and debugging code – that wouldn’t be fun for anyone! Besides conversing with chat, I also want to teach why we would use a specific tool or library for network automation. As Hank Preston said on a recent Q&A with Eric Chou about the DevNet Expert lab exam, he wants the exam to be practical and relatable to what you may experience in real-life situations (link). As I’ve learned while studying for various DevNet exams, it’s not always about memorizing the documentation. It’s about learning when and why you should use a specific tool or library over another one. Well, I think I’ve provided enough background and goals for my live stream, let’s wrap this up!

Conclusion

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a new blog, but I hope this post has provided a little background to what I’ve been working on and plan to work on in the future. The first date to take the DevNet Expert lab exam is May 2, 2022. I’ve heard rumors that you can register for the lab exam up to 3 months in advance, so I expect registration for the first time slots to open February 2, 2022 (only a guess!). In any case, I plan to take this exam the first day (hopefully) or during the first week if the first day gets booked.

If you are interested in tuning into my live streams or would like to watch any of my previous live streams, everything is on my YouTube channel here: DevNet Dan’s YouTube. I stream every Tuesday and Thursday @ 8pm EST. The streams last roughly 1.5-2 hours. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@devnetdan). Hopefully I’ll see you in one of my live streams!

References

Cisco DevNet Expert certification: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications/certifications/expert/devnet-expert.html
My YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfFyRZwscSORm5m7kAEOymA/about

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