ccie blog


I’m Steve. My blog is a way to keep a record of what I’m currently learning, and a way to make my work publicly accessible. I have had a little break from my CCIE studies to learn a lot about computer and network security, Linux, Python programming, and Bash shell scripting. I’m also now working on my firepower knowledge, since that’s the new big things in Cisco security.

I started learning about networking in 2007 when I went to uni. Since graduation in 2011, I started work in an ISP. After that I moved to an IT outsourcing company (CACI) where I was effectively outsourced as a contract engineer for companies such as Deutsche Bank and Traffigura. I then worked at Robert Half for a while where I basically worked as a project engineer for two and a half years. I also managed all their firewalls, as well as their core infrastructure. My main achievements were:

  • A complete re-design of their branch WAN design. This included re-designing the DMVPN connectivity for the core, and creating a robust failover design that works with their MPLS circuits. Where MPLS was primary for their voice traffic, and DMVPN was primary for their data. I managed to tune a stable failover design to three seconds, using EIGRP, HSRP, BGP, IP SLA’s, and Policy-Based Routing.
  • Creation of corporate and guest WiFi throughout the organisation which utilities dot1x for authentication via a centralised RADIUS server.

I did a bit of contract work, and then moved to a university.  Suprisingly this job is the most enjoyable, since I get to work with the latest and greatest technologies & high end, bleeding edge hardware for a around 40-50k staff/student network.  A lot of people think negatively of public sector work as they think it’s not much pressure compared to an MSP or something.  I’ve worked in both, and I can tell you that if you are the one doing all the core product replacements on firewalls or huge changes, the pressure is certainly there.  The network budget is always in the millions, so imagine I need to replace some core ASA’s with £500,000 worth of firepower products and not cock up the ordering, and migrate about 10 bazillion security policies and nat rules as well as manage the migration process, planning downtime for every service affecting 40-50k people.  Not so relaxing 🙂