Dear Santa – Cheap Used L3 Switches, or a Global Economic Recovery?

Do you get stacks of catalogs in the mail this time of year - often from places you've never bought from? It starts about mid-November at our house, going from 3-4 catalogs a week to 3-4 catalogs a day showing up in the mail.

The fun part is when the toy catalogs arrive. My daughter dutifully looks at every page to the point where she can almost quote the marketing copy, and starts circling stuff she might want. The list gets... long. But she also enjoys trying to reduce that list of literally hundreds of items down to a number that's reasonable to hand out to our relatives for gift ideas.

(Side rant - most of these catalogs are unsolicited - I thought green was in? I even got like the 100th solicitation from a well-known credit card company yesterday - a company with whom I've never had a card - who put a "please recycle" notice on the envelope. How about not sending the thing in the first place!!!!!!!! End rant.)

So, I got to thinking about a Christmas list for Cisco cert candidates. What would we want? List your thoughts as well, but here's some that I came up with:

Cheap Used Layer 3 Switches

Yep, it's the toughest buy on the used gear list for the route/switch oriented certs. Way back earlier in the year in my CCNP lab series, we didn't even bother going there due to the cost. With all the whatver-flation going on the in economy, maybe the used gear market, and especially layer 3 switches, will deflate as well, and at least make our home labs more affordable.

A server that'll run 20 IOS images with Dynamips

When labbing at home, it'd be so nice to walk in, boot a server, get a cup of my favorite beverage, and have more routers than I'd need to model or test most anything. How big a server is that? I don't know, but maybe I'll go find out. Or maybe Santa already knows...

Three copies of every one of Wendell's Cisco Press cert books

This is a not-so-subtle subliminal marketing message, so I can pay for my daughter's Christmas list from the catalogs! ;-)

A trusted, knowledgeable mentor for my next exam prep cycle

To get that confusing question answered quickly and easily is such a big help. Personally, I get spoiled working with a training company that has experts on most everything related to Cisco technology somewhere in the company. The www.cisco.com/go/learnnetspace is a great virtual alternative to a real mentor/friend.

A better paying job

Let's face it, it's tough without the economic woes, but with them, the job market can be tough. But I've seen articles in many places (here's one) that seem to bode well for the IT job market overall.

Certs that require less time to prepare

How much time do you spend preparing for each Cisco cert exam? There's lot of variables, and certainly CCIE can get ridiculous. 100 hours per exam is not unreasonable if you're learning everything new, instead of already learning skills/knowledge as part of your job. I could go for Cisco narrowing the exams, and certs, to require less time to prep. I think there's evidence that even CCxP candidates are doing the related technology as only a part of their job, with non-networking items being a large chunk of their job roles. So, maybe a 20% smaller effort, and breadth of coverage, would be a reasonable request. And Santa may just be the guy to make it happen.

Global economic recovery

Hey, as long as we're asking...

Two weeks off at the end of the year

Many US companies, with Christmas and New Years on Thursday, already give their employees Thursday and Friday off for the last couple of weeks of the year. So, only 6 actual vacation days are required to get a whopping 16 days off in a row! Yeeha! And Cisco's already "encouraged" their employees to take off those last 2 weeks. OK, I'll do it! So, pardon me while I got work 100 hours this week so I can take off the next 2. ;-)

OK, let me know what you'd add. Also, you can choose your favorite from my list in this poll. Merry Christmas!

PS I will post more during vacation, and get back to some OSPF LSA stuff.

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