Rarely used WAN protocols on resume?

j_creech72
j_creech72 used Ask the Experts™
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I may need to change jobs if spouse gets a job in another state.  Worked at same company 12 years as IT/network (do it all, wear lots of hats-type of person). Years ago I went to a Cisco Academy and my BS is in networking/internetworking. My issue, is that I don't know if I should put these CCNP/WAN types of protocols on my resume like EIGRP, OSPF, BGP, QoS. I've done them in labs and tests but do not need them for every day work since our network is smaller with about 200 network nodes.

So, do I put these protocols on my resume? I know I could pick it back up again if I needed to, but I'm concerned because I don't want to misrepresent myself but am having a bit of difficultly placing myself in the current job market. Jack of all and a master of none I sometimes feel but have supported a very good, forward moving network for all of these years. What should I do? Your advice is appreciated very much.
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A skill is something you have and can apply. If you have enough familiarity with a protocol, and you can apply that knowledge to a real-world situation, list it. If you've never used them in a real world situation, they're hardly a skill - and more of a study or understanding. If the labs were elaborate enough to very closely simulate a real-world situation - then you could argue it's a legitimate skill.

It comes down to confidence and comprehension. If you're asked about these protocols - can you speak intelligently about them?  If given the equipment, licensing and a reasonable amount of time - could you leverage these protocols in a SMB network?
Steve JenningsSr Manager Cloud Networking Ops
Commented:
I tend to agree with neilpage99. I would add that you can claim a skill in an area if you can troubleshoot in that area. I know people who say they "know" OSPF or BGP and what they mean is that they set up a working OSPF or BGP network and redistributed some routes. And they may have even set these up in production environments. But they had no troubleshooting skills and I believe that's essential if you are going to claim knowledge of a protocol.

Good luck,
Steve

Author

Commented:
Thank you both for your comments. You make very valid, reasonable statements. So many of the jobs that I'm seeing fit me very well, but usually those protocols are in there as well, and this can make it difficult. How would you suggest getting the practice on this since its impossible to truly set up a network or troubleshoot it if you are in a lab situation. I know in our labs, they were very detailed, and our instructor would go in a break the network so we would have to troubleshoot them, but we had Adtrans and things that allowed us to get that experience. I don't have access to that anymore, so I thought I'd throw that in as a final query from you guys.
Thanks.
Steve JenningsSr Manager Cloud Networking Ops

Commented:
There are a few things you can do "lab wise". You can spend the money on eBay and find a couple of Cisco routers, you can download and install GNS3, or you can install Vyatta software on a couple of PCs. As you have noted, none of these are really replacements for production experience, but it beats doing nothing. You have to be somewhat careful about buying Cisco routers on eBay because you may end up with a really old IOS or no IOS at all. GNS3 is a good tool, but it will test your mettle getting it installed and working properly and it takes a lot of memory and a fast processor. Vyatta is a good alternative for BGP and OSPF work if you have 3 or 4 PCs laying around with sufficient memory and disk space to load the Vyatta kernel.

Some people spend the money on remote access labs for Cisco gear . . . these can be helpful if you have a VERY structured plan of attack. The obvious problem is that with BGP and OSPF, having only a couple of devices will allow you to set up a working environment, but nothing like a real world set up.

I would think your best bet would be to include protocols you have "played" with as well as protocols you are very familiar with and in the interview call that out. But, for example, if you call out that your BGP knowledge is lab-based, be prepared to follow up very quickly with some impressive statements about what you've learned and what you've done. And point out -- before it's pointed out to you -- that you recognize the difference between your knowledge and the experience gained through troubleshooting a live network. And add that your trouble shooting skills are proven for some protocols and that you have the demonstrated ability to expand that knowledge.

Don't try to fool anyone . . .

Good luck,
Steve

Author

Commented:
Steve, you are right on, and I agree in your last statement there - it's not worth the issues later. I appreciate you both putting this into perspective, but Steve for giving me some guidelines to run with and try out. I actually have a couple of routers here that we used for our network, and when we moved our staff offices to another location, I purchased new equipment but sitll have these guys sitting around. I have one Cisco 2821 and two Cisco 1840 and an ASA5505...

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