Are you thinking of indulging in the world of networking? Or even tackling the CCNA?
If so, be prepared to also learn a new language; the language of acronyms. I have personally been exposed to this journey of tackling the vast amount of acronyms. I started out with no previous experience of network engineering and had no idea that acronyms were this prominent in this area of work. The initial thought of having to learn all of this was very daunting; but is achievable. After months of studying and relentless everyday exposure, I’d say I now have a grasp on the majority of relevant acronyms. Throughout the rest of this blog I’ll be explaining the adventure I’ve had with acronyms and how I’m now able to converse using them.
My initial introduction to acronyms occurred when I first got involved with Forfusion a few years ago on a work experience week. I started the week thinking I was quite ‘techy’ but in reality all I could do was use a computer. So even after the first day I was completely overwhelmed. I was welcomed into a whole new world of IT that I didn’t even know existed; this was of course network engineering. Therefore it didn’t take long to have some degree of involvement; even the most basic of network engineering procedures appeared to contain vast amounts of confusing acronyms. An example could be the ping utility which I was slightly aware of, but at the time I didn’t know it used a protocol behind the scenes. Most ping tools use ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol). With this being one of the most basic protocols that’s used within networking, I knew that there would inevitably be masses of other protocols with subsequent acronyms.
After further involvement with Forfusion and my decision to chase the CCNA I was ready for the strenuous challenge of getting to grips with this new found language of acronyms. I would frequently be in the office, surrounded by the experienced team of senior engineers who would often converse using acronyms. This is when I’d sit and take notes; researching the corresponding acronyms just so that I’d be able to grasp more out of each conversation. Obviously it would have been difficult to learn from them if I wasn’t able to recognise which technology/protocol was in question. This is why I found it to be vital for me to research as many of the relevant acronyms, as I knew it would drastically improve my learning process; by allowing me to get involved in conversations.
One of the next steps in overcoming the barrier of acronyms was to become thoroughly involved with the more pertinent ones, especially in relation to the CCNA. Having an in-depth background knowledge of the core protocols meant that the acronyms started to become less of an issue. Without having to think too much I was able to associate most of the more prominent acronyms to their correct protocol. For me this was the stage where I began to appreciate why acronyms are used to this extent. When you become heavily involved in more and more technologies and protocols you acknowledge that it would be inappropriate to use the expanded protocol name, rather than the more apt acronym. I began to discover the new found efficiency of using acronyms.
I quickly began to gain a different view of acronyms once I became competent when using them. This became apparent after the CCNA exam, which essentially meant I had months of everyday involvement, but I had specifically been studying and using them. There becomes a point where you’re able to bring up topics of conversation in relation to certain scenarios where the use of acronyms isn’t even thought about, but they’re required to carry out the discussion. In turn this allows for particular issues to be discussed, investigated and a resolution procedure to be initiated in a much more precise and efficient manner. From my experience there actually comes a point where the situation flips; where I once new the protocols but not the acronyms, I now often know the acronym but can sometimes take me time to work out the actual title of the protocol. You learn to solely deal with the language of acronyms; where colleagues and customers all operate using acronyms.
Although you may become more comfortable using acronyms and it will become the primary method in which you’ll diagnose issues/discuss scenarios, there are always acronyms out there that you’re yet to learn or that you’ve forgotten about. The process of learning acronyms, is a process that will be difficult to ever fully complete; there’s always some out there. Once you become comfortable with all of them in the area of routing and switching (which is a huge task in itself), you’re then faced with the new set of acronyms in the areas of: data centre, security, voice, wireless etc. The language of acronyms is the language that’s infinite.