Well, as you may have read in my previous posts, I have finished my university degree. I came out with a 2:1 in Computer Networks and Security which is exactly what I was expecting. What I did not expect was the low grade I got in my final year dissertation project. Obviously, I only have myself to blame, but the choice in my final year topic, Brute Force Attacks on IVR Systems, was mainly picked because my university decided to merge the Computer Networks and the Computer Security degrees together. My argument was that if I was to have “BSc in Computer Networks and Security” on my resumé, I should at least have some experience in security, especially as we had only done one module prior to the final year and one security module during the final year. Just two modules out of 23 modules a very small percentage. Therefore, I decided to base my dissertation on something security orientated. Big mistake! After talking to a lot of my work colleagues, 95% of which went through university, I feel that my focus should have remained on the Networking side of my module, especially as my sandwich year placement was mainly server administration. Due to me doing a server admin role for my placement year and focusing all my efforts on a security dissertation, I am two years out of shape with Cisco networking and a little behind in obtaining my CCNA qualification.
If it was up to me now, I wish I had done something networking related for my dissertation – such as investigating how TCL scripts can aid in voice gateway processing, building a functional router using a Raspberry Pi, converting IPv4 addresses into IPv6, the list could go on really.
One positive thing that came out of my dissertation was my initial foray into Cisco IP Telephony by watching some of the CBT Nugget videos for CCNA Voice which led me onto deciding I should base my dissertation on VoIP. If it wasn’t for this, it is almost certain that I would not have got my current role as a Network Engineer for the company I am currently employed by.
My advice, for any student, is to focus on what you feel is right and not be pushed by your university. I made that mistake, and I feel like I have slightly let me progression down as a Network professional.