I recently concluded my Cisco CyberOps Scholarship program on October 20, 2017. With the conclusion came the second (210-255) of the two test to achieve your CCNA CyberOps certification.

I am sitting to write this post after several weeks of having already sat for the exam. I want to cut to the chase and report that I failed. Not once, but twice. Yes twice. I went into the the test having taken the same steps for studying for all my tests.

  1. Familiarize myself with the material
  2. Note taking
  3. Labs
  4. Walk the blue print

Walking the blue print is probably the most important part, I know that if I can answer the material found on the blue print I would be able to answer the questions on the test. It was no different in this case. I was familiar, overly familiar. and.. I failed my first attempt. After posting a fail I immediately scheduled for a second attempt.

My second attempt was ten days away. I was still a bit down on myself from posting a fail but I went to take my test with assurance that I would pass my second attempt. Question 60, the last question of the test. I’m feeling good at this point, I used reasoning from my first failed attempt to justify my answers on the second attempt, I click finish… My heart sank. On the results screen read..

“We have regret to inform you…”

I was beside my self. I was upset and didn’t understand what had just happened. I called my fiance to tell her the results. She replied with comforting words, she assured me that I was still a great engineer despite failing the test. I felt embarrassed. An NP level engineer can’t pass an NA level test? I was broken for a day after posting my second fail.

I sat to compare my results from the two attempts. I posted a 792 on both attempts. Missing the mark of 820 by one or two questions. When comparing question categories, my results from my first attempt to my second showed that I had  increased in some areas and decreased in others. Based on these results, I realized that my failure wasn’t a fact of not understanding the technical material but perhaps it was the state of mind I was in when I had taken the tests.

It would have been nice to walk out the scholarship program with a new certification, but what really matters is that I have a much better understanding of security. This understanding will help with my daily operation as well as my career development. I will continue to learn as much as I can in all realms of IT. For now, I will wait before deciding to attempt the test again. For those of you studying for your certifications; keep going, work hard.




The first section of my Cisco cyber security scholarship program started in late June. I have been investing much of my time into the material to glean as much as I can from this course. Overall, I am impressed with the course material. They have provide webinars, mentors, course readings, end of section quizzes and hands on labs for each section.

Content Based Training has come a long way and Cisco has nailed the hands on offering of this course. Each section has a lab associated to it. Each lab is discovery based, meaning there isn’t an end goal or objective you need to meet. It is simply up to you, on how far you want to take the lab. There is of course directions for the lab to assist your learning. Each lab has multiple virtual machines, examples, and topological representation of how the virtual machines are connected and communicating.

After completing the first section in mid to late July, I started to study for the 210-250 SECFND exam. I sat for the test 8/7/17 and passed.

It’s clear that the test is still in the design and development phase. Nonetheless the test is completely passable with the course content that Cisco is providing to the scholarships students. Although walking the blueprint did provide some structure for passing and is worth doing, I found myself somewhat neutral on the relevance of the blueprint and the questions that were asked on the test.

For those of you in the scholarship program, or for those that will be in the scholarship program in the future. Use your time wisely, stay focused, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail.

Thank you Cisco.