2019 In Review, and 2020 in View


Another year is coming to a close and it seems to be the in thing to do a review. Twenty-nineteen has been a renewal for me.


In January I rebranded my personal brand and started blogging again under the PackIT Forwarding banner. Since then I have written dozens of articles and used the blog and twitter to help my studies, but more importantly, give back to the IT community. I want to give a shoutout to Tiffany at Lone Orange for helping me to get the process from an idea of an idea to reality.

CySA+ and CCNA CyberOps

At the same time, I decided to broaden my horizons and follow my renewed interest in cybersecurity. First I took on the CompTIA CySA+ certification. After a lot of studying and nerves, I scheduled the exam, took the exam and passed. The exam really took me out of my comfort zone because it was the first non-Cisco certification I had ever pursued.

My next target was the Cisco CCNA CyberOps certification. Although there was some overlap between CySA+ and CCNA CyberOps, there was definitely more material to learn and master. Altogether the three exams gave me a great foundation to continue working on pivoting into cybersecurity. More on this later.

As a footnote, I was also able to pass TSHOOT to renew my CCNP Routing and Switching. TSHOOT definitely got teeth in the new version and took me two attempts since I went in expecting the old “easy street” version.

Everything Else

Being a life long learner is important and beyond the certifications, I definitely kept up with that goal. I dusted off my programming skills from college and dove into Python and PowerShell. At this point, I would say I’m a novice at both, but I have been able to leverage both already in my daily work.

I’m also thankful for all of the new people that I’ve met and those that I reconnected with over the year. Getting to go to both Cisco Live! US and Cancun was an awesome experience.

2020 and Beyond!

More Certifications

I tend to need structure to help guide me in learning. I will be using certifications to help with that again this year. My first target is CompTIA’s Pentest+. I’ve gotten a taste for ethical hacking through the TryHackMe advent challenge and the Pentest+ curriculum should help me gain more skills. The book is ordered so expect to see my notes and thoughts soon.

I’ve also already scheduled the CompTIA CySA+ Beta for January. It’s a low stakes test for me since I already have the certification and have two years before renewal. For $50 though I thought it would be good to get a chance to see the new test.

Beyond that, I’m not certain yet where I’ll head. Cloud seems to be a popular topic at work right now so I think either Azure or AWS will be on tap. I’m also curious about going after the CCNP Security now that it’s down to two tests. It’s been a long time since my CCSP was retired (hint CS-MARS was still an exam option).

PackIT Forwarding

Where will the blog go next year? Well, there will definitely be more certification notes and articles about what I’m currently working on. What else would you like to see from me? Put your ideas in the comments. Is there a topic you don’t think gets enough coverage? Should I do beginner-level tutorials on something?