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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Cisco challenge

Today being (very probably - there is an oxymoron for you) the last day I play the Cisco Networking Academy challenge (but the first day you might play it), I thought it may be useful to share some thoughts (cough-cough brag) about it.

The challenge is very simple: you can answer fifty questions each day (plus one Question of the Day for each weekday). Your score is reset to zero at the beginning of each month (this is one of the reasons I decided to quit playing now). There are some possible prizes you can buy with your points, but they are highly symbolic (like wallpapers or screensavers) - being Cisco I thought they would give more physical prizes like routers or switches. I have also other griefs with the system:

  • You get the next round of questions depending on your timezone, so there are people who will be one set of questions before you always.
  • The questions are highly repetitive, it is not unusual for questions to be repeated during the same batch of 50 questions
  • Very little effort is put into randomizing the questions (most of the time the order of the possible answers remains the same for example), so many of them can be answered out of muscle memory
  • Too big of an accent is put (IMHO) on subnetting questions, which gets boring and frustrating after a while
  • There is a way to pick-and-choose the questions you want to answer, and although it is timeconsuming, coupled with the fact that the number of points varies greatly (from 100 points to 550 points) depending on the question, this can be used to answer only more valuable questions.

Anyway, here is the bragging part :-D

This is the result from the first month the contest launched (in the first month they allowed 100 questions to be answered daily, thus the higher scores). Now, in the second month I'm in position six. During all this time I was in second place for the Central and Eastern Europe region. An my background is: I've taken all four semesters of CCNA, but I never did my final exam. Also, system administration is not the core of my job, rather something I have to do from time to time.

1 comment:

  1. Marcin3:07 PM

    Congrats! Nice work with the challenge :) I attended Cisco Networking Academy for four semesters back in 02/03-03/04 in high school. I took did well on the exams but never went on to take the CCNA. That's unfortunate for me though because I forgot a good deal of information. One of these days I'll pick it up again and take the exam. You should go for it asap!

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