Spotlight on CCVP

Spotlight on CCVP

Hello. My name is Kevin Wallace, and during the month of December, I have the privilege of blogging for Network World. The topic of this blog is Cisco Certified Voice Professional (CCVP) certification. Based on your feedback as to what you would like to see in this blog, we can chat about such things as exam tips, tough topics in the CCVP courses, how to set up home labs, etc.

First, a bit about who I am and my background. Currently, I'm a full-time instructor of Cisco courses for SkillSoft, where I lead live on-line training for all courses in the CCVP track. Also, I'm the author of several Cisco Press titles.

My background in telephony, however, goes way back. You can see from this picture that I was hanging out in a telephone central office at a very young age.

Kevin's Milk Bottle

This picture is of me at three months of age (being held by my dad, Lowell Wallace) with my milk bottle being warmed on a soldering iron. Dad was the central office supervisor for the local GTE telephone office. So, I grew up in and around a telephony environment.

I loved electronics and earned my Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kentucky. When you're getting your EE degree, you can specialize in different areas, such as microcircuit design, power systems, etc. My area of focus was telecommunications. After taking the fiber optics, microwave, and digital signaling courses, my career path seemed clear. Following in my father's footsteps, I was going to work in the telecommunications industry.

In fact, right out of college, I got a job at GTE Testmark Laboratories, which gave me great hands-on experience working with key systems, POTS (Plain-Old Telephone System) devices, PBX equipment, and central office (CO) transmission equipment. Specifically, I ran a series of tests (e.g. FCC and UL tests) on a variety of telecommunications equipment from different vendors that GTE would potentially resell.

Then, I went to work for a local university (Eastern Kentucky University), thinking that I was going to be the PBX administrator. To my surprise, in addition to PBX administrative duties, I was also assigned the task of building a data network from scratch. You see, when I first arrived at EKU, they had no Cisco routers on campus. So, I first laid hands on a Cisco router back around 1989. It was a Cisco AGS+ router, running IOS 7.X, and I loved it. I stayed at the university for several years, in the capacity as Network Manager. Over the years, I did more and more with Cisco equipment, starting earning various certifications (first Novell, then Microsoft, and finally Cisco).

Eventually, I left the university to pursue my dream job. My family and I are huge Disney fans, and I took a position as one of five Network Design Specialists at Walt Disney World in Florida. We moved from Kentucky to Florida, and while at Disney I got my hands dirty with lots of cool projects. For example, I served as the project manager for the project that interconnected the various theme parks (Disney's Magic Kingdom, Disney's Epcot Center, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Disney's MGM Studios (which has now been renamed to Disney's Hollywood Studios)).

Due to a serious family health issue, we relocated back to Kentucky, and shortly thereafter I took a job as a Sr. Technical Instructor for KnowledgeNet, where I conducted online training for a variety of Cisco courses. After a couple of acquisitions and name changes (KnowledgeNet -> Thomson NETg -> SkillSoft Corp.), I continue to lead online Cisco training, focusing on the voice courses (i.e. all of the courses in the CCVP track and the IIUC course which prepares students for the new Voice CCNA concentration).

So, I feel like I've come full circle. I get to return to my telephony roots, while remaining in the Cisco world, which has fascinated me for nearly two decades. It's with this background that I seek to offer some value to you this month as I blog on the topic of CCVP certification.

As I plan out the topics of my various blog entries, your feedback would be incredibly valuable. Below are some topics I'm considering. If you could vote and let me know what topic areas you're most interested in, that can help me focus on topics which are of the highest interest.

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