We’ve already spent plenty of time discussing the idea of IT learning, specifically WiFi training. While much learning is tailored toward achieving a specific goal (such as earning your CWNA, or working toward any other certification), that’s really only a portion of the audience. Here’s a lesson you may already know, but it’s worth repeating: as engineers, we have to keep learning, in order to stay up to speed on what we work on.
802.11 offerings are always changing and improving, so any time we get a new one (like the not-yet ratified 802.11ax), it’s something we should understand. That means that content is always evolving. If you took your CWNA in 2017, there’s a new book and test in 2019 (actually, it was out last year). CWNP and other organizations change and update material every couple years, to keep things relevant.
So, with that in mind…in case you missed it, Active Expert/WiFi Training announced last week a new offering-tailored lab environments specifically built with specific certifications in mind. The first released lab was for the CWNA certification, with others for CWSP, CWAP and CWDP in the plans for later in 2019. Just looking at this announcement, it’s a pretty neat offering. If you take one of their courses, the lab guide and lab access come with it. However, if you’ve already taken a boot camp, or you prefer to self-study (or can only fund one smaller piece of your training puzzle), the lab guide and access are available independently. It’s a great package, and having spent time running through the labs, I do see the value in it.
I am here to say…I see the value in these labs for others, too. As I mentioned in the review, I earned my CWNA in 2017. I took a boot camp, studied and passed. I just recently completed the third of my P level CWNP certifications as well, so at first blush, perhaps I would not be seen as the target market for any of the lab kits.
I’d like to argue, however, that even if you do have your certifications, these labs are worth considering. Of course, I know of plenty of engineers who manage to have their own home lab…so those folks might not be too interested (but, maybe they would be, who am I to judge…). For those who don’t have a home lab, here’s why these are great.
As I said before, the certification material is regularly changing. CWNA, CWDP and CWAP were all refreshed in the last couple years. CWSP is in transition now, with the old exam being retired later in 2019 and the new exam already available. If you have your certifications, you need do need to re-certify. Having lab exercises, in a self-contained lab that you can just access and use is invaluable. Perhaps you are too busy? Maybe you lack the hardware or space at home? Perhaps you want to ensure you can access the environment wherever you are because you are a road warrior? In those instances, these labs are great.
If you want to keep learning, and like the idea of having lab access to tools, software and hardware relevant to those specific certifications, just to keep sharp? These labs are a great way to do that. Just using these labs, I had access to tools I have (Ekahau) and some I’d never touched before (like AirMagnet). As I tried things out, it dawned on me that gaining the certifications is merely a milestone in a longer journey-once you have them, you need and want to learn and grow…and working with these labs is a great chance for that.
So what’s it all mean? Basically, while you might think a CWNA lab is great for someone starting out (and you are right, it is), it’s also a great option for someone who’s been in the industry and just wants to keep skills sharp. After all, as WiFi engineers, we are never done learning, nor should we be.
Try out a lab from WiFi Training and see what a difference it can make!