Irfan Salam

Latest ICT news, Technology Reviews and Tutorials

Category Archives: Career Tips

Next-level Cisco certifications

Cisco, in a massive change, has announced Next-level Cisco Certifications starting Feb 24, 2020. In this surprise move Cisco has dropped all CCNA concentrations (R&S, Security, Wireless, Collab etc.,) and announced one Consolidated CCNA covering basic of all IT Services.

CCDA and CCDP certifications are also dropped, and DevNet certifications are announced sensing the growing need of Development Operations and Automation everywhere. DevNet Associate and DevNet Professional has been announced to validate the skills of professional-level software developers, DevOps engineers, automation specialists, and other software professionals.

The program certifies key emerging technical skills for a new kind of IT professional, empowering organizations to embrace the potential of applications, automation, APIs and infrastructure for the network, Internet of Things (IoT), DevOps, and Webex.



New Consolidation CCNA Announced – Starting Feb 24, 2020

In a surprise move Cisco has discontinued all CCNA concentrations and announced new consolidated CCNA exam starting Feb 24, 2020.

The new CCNA program is designed to prepare you for today’s associate-level job roles in IT technologies. CCNA now includes security and automation and programmability. The program has one certification that covers a broad range of fundamentals for IT careers, with one exam and one training course to help you prepare.

Newly retooled for the latest technologies and job roles, the CCNA training course and exam give you the foundation you need to take your career in any direction. CCNA certification covers a breadth of topics, including:

  • Network fundamentals
  • Network access
  • IP connectivity
  • IP services
  • Security fundamentals
  • Automation and programmability
Required exam Recommended training
200-301 CCNA Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions (CCNA)

Detailed Topics of new CCNA Program:

1.0 Network Fundamentals


Hide Details

1.1 Explain the role and function of network components

  • 1.1.a Routers
  • 1.1.b L2 and L3 switches
  • 1.1.c Next-generation firewalls and IPS
  • 1.1.d Access points
  • 1.1.e Controllers (Cisco DNA Center and WLC)
  • 1.1.f Endpoints
  • 1.1.g Servers

1.2 Describe characteristics of network topology architectures

  • 1.2.a 2 tier
  • 1.2.b 3 tier
  • 1.2.c Spine-leaf
  • 1.2.d WAN
  • 1.2.e Small office/home office (SOHO)
  • 1.2.f On-premises and cloud

1.3 Compare physical interface and cabling types

  • 1.3.a Single-mode fiber, multimode fiber, copper
  • 1.3.b Connections (Ethernet shared media and point-to-point)
  • 1.3.c Concepts of PoE

1.4 Identify interface and cable issues (collisions, errors, mismatch duplex, and/or speed)

1.5 Compare TCP to UDP

1.6 Configure and verify IPv4 addressing and subnetting

1.7 Describe the need for private IPv4 addressing

1.8 Configure and verify IPv6 addressing and prefix

1.9 Compare IPv6 address types

  • 1.9.a Global unicast
  • 1.9.b Unique local
  • 1.9.c Link local
  • 1.9.d Anycast
  • 1.9.e Multicast
  • 1.9.f Modified EUI 64

1.10 Verify IP parameters for Client OS (Windows, Mac OS, Linux)

1.11 Describe wireless principles

  • 1.11.a Nonoverlapping Wi-Fi channels
  • 1.11.b SSID
  • 1.11.c RF
  • 1.11.d Encryption

1.12 Explain virtualization fundamentals (virtual machines)

1.13 Describe switching concepts

  • 1.13.a MAC learning and aging
  • 1.13.b Frame switching
  • 1.13.c Frame flooding
  • 1.13.d MAC address table

2.0 Network Access


Hide Details

2.1 Configure and verify VLANs (normal range) spanning multiple switches

  • 2.1.a Access ports (data and voice)
  • 2.1.b Default VLAN
  • 2.1.c Connectivity

2.2 Configure and verify interswitch connectivity

  • 2.2.a Trunk ports
  • 2.2.b 802.1Q
  • 2.2.c Native VLAN

2.3 Configure and verify Layer 2 discovery protocols (Cisco Discovery Protocol and LLDP)

2.4 Configure and verify (Layer 2/Layer 3) EtherChannel (LACP)

2.5 Describe the need for and basic operations of Rapid PVST+ Spanning Tree Protocol and identify basic operations

  • 2.5.a Root port, root bridge (primary/secondary), and other port names
  • 2.5.b Port states (forwarding/blocking)
  • 2.5.c PortFast benefits

2.6 Compare Cisco Wireless Architectures and AP modes

2.7 Describe physical infrastructure connections of WLAN components (AP,WLC, access/trunk ports, and LAG)

2.8 Describe AP and WLC management access connections (Telnet, SSH, HTTP,HTTPS, console, and TACACS+/RADIUS)

2.9 Configure the components of a wireless LAN access for client   connectivity using GUI only such as WLAN creation, security settings, QoS profiles, and advanced WLAN settings

3.0 IP Connectivity


Hide Details

3.1 Interpret the components of routing table

  • 3.1.a Routing protocol code
  • 3.1.b Prefix
  • 3.1.c Network mask
  • 3.1.d Next hop
  • 3.1.e Administrative distance
  • 3.1.f Metric
  • 3.1.g Gateway of last resort

3.2 Determine how a router makes a forwarding decision by default

  • 3.2.a Longest match
  • 3.2.b Administrative distance
  • 3.2.c Routing protocol metric

3.3 Configure and verify IPv4 and IPv6 static routing

  • 3.3.a Default route
  • 3.3.b Network route
  • 3.3.c Host route
  • 3.3.d Floating static

3.4 Configure and verify single area OSPFv2

  • 3.4.a Neighbor adjacencies
  • 3.4.b Point-to-point
  • 3.4.c Broadcast (DR/BDR selection)
  • 3.4.d Router ID

3.5 Describe the purpose of first hop redundancy protocol

4.0 IP Services


Hide Details

4.1 Configure and verify inside source NAT using static and pools

4.2 Configure and verify NTP operating in a client and server mode

4.3 Explain the role of DHCP and DNS within the network

4.4 Explain the function of SNMP in network operations

4.5 Describe the use of syslog features including facilities and levels

4.6 Configure and verify DHCP client and relay

4.7 Explain the forwarding per-hop behavior (PHB) for QoS such as classification, marking, queuing, congestion, policing, shaping

4.8 Configure network devices for remote access using SSH

4.9 Describe the capabilities and function of TFTP/FTP in the network

5.0 Security Fundamentals


Hide Details

5.1 Define key security concepts (threats, vulnerabilities, exploits, and mitigation techniques)

5.2 Describe security program elements (user awareness, training, and physical access control)

5.3 Configure device access control using local passwords

5.4 Describe security password policies elements, such as management, complexity, and password alternatives (multifactor authentication, certificates, and biometrics)

5.5 Describe remote access and site-to-site VPNs

5.6 Configure and verify access control lists

5.7 Configure Layer 2 security features (DHCP snooping, dynamic ARP inspection, and port security)

5.8 Differentiate authentication, authorization, and accounting concepts

5.9 Describe wireless security protocols (WPA, WPA2, and WPA3)

5.10 Configure WLAN using WPA2 PSK using the GUI

6.0 Automation and Programmability


Hide Details

6.1 Explain how automation impacts network management

6.2 Compare traditional networks with controller-based networking

6.3 Describe controller-based and software defined architectures (overlay, underlay, and fabric)

  • 6.3.a Separation of control plane and data plane
  • 6.3.b North-bound and south-bound APIs

6.4 Compare traditional campus device management with Cisco DNA Center enabled device management

6.5 Describe characteristics of REST-based APIs (CRUD, HTTP verbs, and data encoding)

6.6 Recognize the capabilities of configuration management mechanisms Puppet, Chef, and Ansible

6.7 Interpret JSON encoded data

Source: Cisco Certifications and Trainings Page

Click to access ccna-at-a-glance.pdf


Infographic – Should I Quit?

Infographic - Should I Quit?

Knowing when to move on from your current job.

Startups Are NOT Glamorous – They Run on Fear

By Peter Hinssen

Member Advisory Board – Center for Digital Transformation at UC Irvine The Paul Merage School of Business

Entrepreneurs are the new rock stars. Or so it appears. The newest role-model is David Karp, founder of Tumblr, a 26-year-old who just sold his company to Yahoo for $1.1 billion. David never finished high school, started working at the age of 15 and will pocket more than $200 million after the Yahoo acquisition. Not bad at all.

And then, you start all over again. Just like The Stones or U2, who will release a record-selling album just after they’ve finished touring with the last album, you must launch a new venture. Because being an entrepreneur is one thing, being a serial entrepreneur is something else.

And the absolute poster-boy for the rank of the serial entrepreneurs is Elon Musk. Musk, the wonderboy who co-founded Paypal and sold that to eBay for a fortune. And risked it all again. Musk has founded Tesla Motors, and turned this into the biggest buzz in the auto industry since Henry Ford introduced his Model T. And he’s the genius behind SpaceX, the commercial space-venture that can do what NASA can’t do, and he’s absolutely committed to put a man on Mars. Now that’s entrepreneurship.

Inspiring stories. The new generation of Silicon Valley digital entrepreneurs is playing a brilliant new role model for young people. And that is good. That is absolutely amazing. Lord knows it’s much better to have young kids aiming to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, David Karp, or Elon Musk, than hoping to be the next Kim Kardashian. Or Lindsay Lohan.

But the image portrayed with the likes of Tumblr is that it’s “easy”. That somehow it’s all fun and games, and “simple” to build a company into a billion-dollar valuation in a couple of years. And that you would have to be a complete dumb-ass fool to still work at a large corporation from 9 to 5, waiting for that belittling paycheck at the end of the month, instead of being out there with the hip crowd and strike gold in Silicon Valley.

The truth is, it isn’t. It’s damn hard. Today, San Francisco is attracting international aspiring talent by the busloads. All wanting to strike it big in the Valley, all wanting to be on the cover of Forbes magazine as the next David Karp. Just like Los Angeles has been the magnet for acting talent hoping to “make it in Hollywood” – only to employ a great deal of them as busboys, bellhops or waitresses.

Building the next Tumblr isn’t easy at all. The truth is radically different. The Tumblrs, Teslas and Paypals of this world are rare exceptions. In reality, there are more than 19,000 startups in San Francisco trying to compete in an ever more difficult landscape to become the next Google or Facebook. And it’s a tough life. The competition is cut throat.

Startups usually are. I’ve done three technology startups myself. The first startup was a success and was acquired by Alcatel-Lucent. The second was a failure and I had to sell the company for pennies on the dollar to a telecoms company. The third one was a big hit, a cloud-software based company that we managed to IPO in 2006, and sell to our Canadian competitors who were quoted on the NASDAQ.

All three of these startups were intoxicating, exhilarating and fascinating. But every single one was also an enormous risk, a huge effort, and a tremendous fight. None was easy.

When you build a startup, smiling on the cover of Forbes is the end of the line, and only for a very select few.

When you build a startup, you risk everything. Even as a serial entrepreneur, you will often put everything you’ve earned back on the line because you’re willing to take that next big risk, in the hope of the next big reward. I’ve poured everything I’ve earned into my startups, three times in a row. Those are big risks. That isn’t glamorous. It’s nights and nights lying awake thinking about what could go wrong, and what would happen to your life, your family and your reputation if your startup failed.

When you build a startup, it’s not glamorous at all. When you build a startup, you are in constant fear because you are per definition in a fragile situation, in an emerging market, and with very little security trying to do things that have never been done before. Fear is the engine of a startup.

There is the constant fear that your best developer will walk out the door and join the competition. The war for talent is so intense in a startup in Silicon Valley that you know you’re not getting the A-developers. They’re hired by Google and Facebook, or Twitter. You probably won’t even get the B-developers; in the beginning you have to gun for C-talent at best. And even then, you’re never sure when that precious developer is going to walk out the door and say “sayonara”. Fear.

There is the constant fear that some of the best people in your team will quit and start your biggest competitor, across the street. Ideas are not scarce in Silicon Valley. Everyone has an idea. Ideas percolate, circulate and gravitate. Everyone in your company wants to build their own company one day, and everyone in your startup wants to have their own startup. You live in constant fear of your company falling apart, by the very dynamic that made you start your own company. Fear.

There is the constant fear of running out of money. True, it’s cheaper to create a startup today than say 10 years ago, because you don’t have to buy hardware, invest in data-centers, or even software. You can use everything in the cloud. But people are expensive, offices are incredibly expensive, and marketing is bloody expensive. You’re in constant fear of lack of funding. You’re always looking for the next financing round, even when you’ve just closed one. Funding never rests, and the fear of money drying up is always on your mind. Fear.

There is the constant fear about your customers. When you’re out there pitching your product to the very first customer, you’re terrified they will find out that you have no references, and that you’d be willing to do anything just to sign them. When you’re out there with your first set of customers, you’re afraid they won’t like the product, will decide to take their business elsewhere. You know you’re doomed when you can’t show a growth curve to your investors. Fear.

And even when you’ve gotten your serious round of funding, with a couple of millions of dollars on the bank to finance the growth of your company, and some ace VCs on your board, you’re terrified that you won’t be able to live up to expectations. You live in fear that the business model you pitched to them won’t pan out. That the hockey-stick curve won’t bend in time, and that the customer and revenue growth that you’re projecting won’t materialize. Fear.

Building a startup isn’t glamorous at all. It’s bloody hard work, requires tremendous investments of time, energy and commitment. It consumes all of your emotional energy, and all of your attention. Building a startup means hardly having time for family, no time for a real social life, no time to take holidays, and every single minute of your waking life is devoted to thinking about your startup.

That’s the story that is hardly told. The missed birthdays of your children, or siblings, the family reunions where you’re constantly on the phone trying to close that deal, the romantic diner with your lover that is interrupted by investors who need an update, or by your CTO who is going through an emotional crisis.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Fear is not a bad thing. It’s what keeps you focused in a startup. I’ve always thrived on fear, because it can bring out the best in you. “Only the paranoid survive” was the motto of Andy Grove, the CEO of Intel who built his company into the world’s largest chipmaker. And I think he was absolutely right, and it applies 100% to startups as well. Paranoia is just another word for fear.

So if you can’t live with fear, don’t ever go into the startup business. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Just be content to read all those glamorous stories of the billionaire startups in Forbes magazine.

After the three startups I created myself, I decided to focus on coaching young entrepreneurs, instead of being one myself. Probably because age and fear don’t mix all that well. That’s why I would recommend creating a startup when you’re young. When you have no kids, no mortgage, no significant other, and when you can concentrate fully on your startup. The fear is probably a little easier to bear when you’re young.

After three startups, I decided it was time put that scene behind me. But let me tell you. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t fantasize about going back to the startup world. As Anthony Bourdain puts it, “It’s like a heroin addiction, where even after being clean for years, you can still long for that shot, even when you know it might kill you.” Same for startups. Once in your blood, it will never let you go.

It’s the most intoxicating experience in the world to be part of an adventure, to think you and your team are going to conquer the world, that you have a shot at greatness. I would highly recommend it. It’s a better business education than any business school would ever be able to provide you. It’s a better school of life than any other experience in the world. But don’t think for a minute that it’s glamorous. It’s not.

Cisco Exam Price List – CCNA, CCNP, CCIE – Pakistan

Last Updated: January 28, 2015

CCNA Exam Fee

200-120 CCNA Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices: Accelerated (CCNAX) USD 295
100-101 ICND1 Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1) USD 150
200-101 ICND2 Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2 (ICND2) USD 150

CCNA certification can be acquired either by giving a single 200-120 exam, or by attempting 100-101 and 200-101 separately.

CCNP Exams:

300-101 ROUTE Implementing Cisco IP Routing (ROUTE v2.0) USD 250
300-115 SWITCH Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks (SWITCH v2.0) USD 250
300-135 TSHOOT Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks (TSHOOT v2.0) USD 250


400-101 CCIE CCIE Routing and Switching v5.0 – Written USD 400
Lab Exam v5.0 CCIE Routing and Switching Lab Exam v5.0 USD 1600
Lab Locations Bangalore, India; Beijing, PRC; Brussels, Belgium; Dubai, UAE; Hong Kong, PRC; RTP, USA; San Jose, USA; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Mobile Labs*

*Mobile labs are arranged in different parts of the world on announced schedules to save travel and visa costs. It is not arranged in Pakistan yet and not scheduled in near future; so Dubai lab is most suitable for Pakistani candidates.

Other Exams:

Unproctored Exams
650-xxx IBT Online exams USD 65.00
700-xxx Sales Readiness exams USD 80.00
Proctored Exams
646-xxx Channel Sales exams USD 80.00
010-xxx, Certified Technician Exams USD 125.00
640-692/792/893 CCT exams USD 125.00
100-xxx Entry Level exams USD 150.00
200-xxx Associate Level exams (except 200-120 and 200-001) USD 150.00
810-xxx Cisco Business Specialist Written Level 1 exams USD 150.00
200-001 Associate Level exam – AT Video Certification USD 250.00
300-xxx Professional Level Exams USD 250.00
500-xxx Technical Program exams USD 250.00
600-xxx Specialist Certification exams USD 250.00
640-461/554/722/760/864/875/878/911/916 exams USD 250.00
642-xxx Professional Level exams USD 250.00
644-xxx Specialization exams USD 250.00
648-xxx Channel ATP exams USD 250.00
820-xxx Cisco Business Specialist Written Level 2 exams USD 250.00
200-120 Associate Level exam USD 295.00
830-xxx Cisco Business Specialist Practical exams USD 350.00
840-xxx Cisco Business Value Practitioner exams USD 350.00
350-xxx CCIE Written and 352-001 CCDE Written Qualifier exams USD 400.00
400-xxx Expert Level Written CCIE exams USD 400.00
352-011 CCDE Practical exam USD 1,600.00

Cisco Testing Centers in Pakistan:

Network Trainings Karachi

Network Trainings Karachi

Network Engineering Trainings Modules

Professional Trainings on System and Network Engineering | Karachi


Network Engineering - Training Modules


Details would be available soon at Pre-Registrations Opened

Infographic | Cisco Certified careers

Infographic | Cisco Certified Career

Top IT skills wanted for 2012

A new Computerworld survey indicates the nine IT skills that will be in demand in 2012

Nearly 29 percent of the 353 IT executives who were polled in Computerworld’s annual Forecast survey said they plan to increase IT staffing through next summer. (That’s up from 23% in the 2010 survey and 20% in the 2009 survey.)

Here are the skills that the IT executives say they will be hiring for:

  1. Programming and Application Development–61% plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months, up from 44% in the 2010 survey. This covers the gamut from website development to upgrading internal systems and meeting the needs of mobile users.
  2. Project Management (but with a twist)– The twist is that they’re not going to just be looking for people who can oversee and monitor projects. They also want people who can identify users’ needs and translate them for the IT staffers-the increasingly popular business analysts.
  3. Help Desk/Technical Support–Mobile operating systems have added a new dimension to help desk and tech support.
  4. Networking-This demand is being fueled partially by virtualization and cloud computing projects. The survey also revealed that execs will be looking for people with VMware and Citrix experience.
  5. Business Intelligence-Computerworld interprets this uptick to a focus shift in many companies,  from cost savings to investing in technology. That will be nice if it pans out that way.
  6. Data Center-Virtualization and the Cloud could also be behind the increased need for IT professionals with backgrounds in data center operations and systems integration.
  7. Web 2.0-Tech skills centered around social media will be in demand, with .Net, AJAX and PHP as key back-end skills, with HTML, XML, CSS, Flash and Javascript, among others, on the front end.
  8. Security-Although down from 32 percent in the 2010 survey, security stays a top concern of IT executives.
  9. Telecommunications-The survey indicates a demand for people with IP telephony skills, and for those familiar with Cisco IPCC call center systems.

My Qualifications Profile – Trendy Resume

Click on the image to see it enlarged

Kindly leave your comments, for any improvements that can be made in it. Critics are more than welcomed!

%d bloggers like this: