• the result or achievement toward which effort is directed.
    Their goal was clear – to get accepted to Yale



The new year brings an opportunity with it to create a fresh slate of goals to pursue.

Or does it?

While the first of January represents some form of significance for observers of the Gregorian calendar, it’s just another arbitrary day that us humans have constructed and associated with “new beginnings”. This date likely holds significance because experiencing “time” is weird. Ignoring the existential dread associated with time – think about it for a moment. You can set a goal on any day, date, and time of the year. You’re no more a fool for choosing Thursday the first of April 2021 at 2:39 a.m. than you would be for choosing the beginning of the year.

I raise this point because 2020 was rough. It is perfectly acceptable to opt-out of the whole “new year resolution” and “new year goal setting” if you want a break! Alternatively, you could find a better time to do this is you’re catching your breath. Finally, change may be something that you do not want, in which case, keep being your awesome self and continue to do what you’re doing!


Open-Ended vs. Specific Goals

I think it is worth mentioning that in 2021 I am categorising goals in one of two ways.

Open-Ended goals are more of a continuous objective that I wish to maintain throughout the year. It is hard to define whether these goals have been completed because they’re not measurable. I am the only person who can know whether I have or have not achieved these goals at the end of the year.

Specific Goals are the classic SMART goals. Their completion is based on some measurable result. I and others will easily identify whether I have or have not achieved these goals at the end of the year.


Goal #1: Achieve the CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure Certification

I have carried this goal forward from 2020.

Goal Type

Why am I doing this?
The CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure certification is one that I am pursuing for my own personal satisfaction. I feel like this certification exam is a good way to prove to myself and others that I possess a robust skillset in core enterprise networking.

Specifics – how will I achieve this?

  1. Complete the “Deploying Cisco SD-Access (ENSDA) v1.1” Cisco Learning Network Course
  2. Obtain the “Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Design” (ENSLD) certification
  3. Obtain the “Cisco DevNet Associate” (DEVASC) certification
  4. Obtain the “Cisco Certified DevNet Specialist – Enterprise Automation and Programmability” (ENAUTO) certification
  5. Complete Tim McConnaughy’s LISP and VXLAN workbooks to demonstrate my knowledge of these SDA technologies by April [link]
  6. Resit Micronics CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure boot camp
  7. Complete ALL of Micronics Training lab exercises issued to me to date (CCIE workbook, OSPF, DMVPN, BGP, MPLS)

Timing – when will I achieve this?

  1. I will sit my first attempt by June 30th 2021
  2. If I fail my first attempt, I will book my second attempt no later than 12 weeks after the first failure.

Threats – what could prevent this?

  1. Mental fatigue or burnout;
  2. Lack of discipline;
  3. The CCIE Lab Center in Sydney could shut down due to COVID-19; or
  4. Western Australia’s strict quarantine and domestic travel policies may necessitate a 14-day quarantine if New South Wales is not deemed “Very Low Risk” for COVID-19.

Threat Mitigation – how will I best control the perceived threats?

  1. Book at least 6-weeks of annual leave in the lead up to my exam so that I can focus on it
  2. Allocate at least 1 hour per day to study course content and lab topics to develop consistency and guarantee at least 30 hours of study per month
  3. Identify whether alternative CCIE Lab Centers could be utilised (e.g., Singapore)
  4. Budget for two potential 14-day quarantine periods in Western Australia


Goal #2: Continue spending time on things unrelated to technology

This is an extension of the 2020 goals: “Start a hobby/developing one skill that is NOT related to computer networking”; and “Stop overloading my “downtime” with studying or work activities so that I can spend more time with friends and family.

Goal Type

Why am I doing this?
Since late 2015 I have spent the majority of my spare time pursuing technical certifications. I did this because I felt uncomfortable with my ability to find work at a similar salary range if I were to lose my job. I finally feel like I can give myself permission to “relax” a little and enjoy things in life that are not related to technology.

What do I want to do?

  • Go outdoors more often and seek new experiences;
  • Continue improving my knowledge of music theory and increase the ability at which I can play the alto saxophone or piano;
  • Learn Japanese;
  • Lean into photography to improve the pictures that I take of street art;
  • Start practising drawing and sketching;
  • Diversify my reading list; or
  • Dabble in history and mythology.


Goal #3: Increase ether-net’s content and reachability

Goal Type

Why am I doing this?
I started ether-net in 2020 to mainly write about my CCIE certification journey and occasionally throw my opinions “out there” on the state of the IT industry. Since starting this website, I have noticed a gap in content. There’s a lot of information about getting started in the IT industry and achieving certifications. However, there isn’t a lot out there that captures what one typically learns on the job. I don’t want to drop spoilers yet, but I am excited to share what I have in stock… later this year.

In terms of content diversity, everything on ether-net is currently in a written format. I want to challenge myself to learn how to produce video-based content on YouTube, and add accessibility features to the site (e.g., text to speech for articles). I would also like to increase my presence by creating a Twitter account to share more “byte-sized” content occasionally.

Specifics – how will I achieve this?

  • Create a Twitter
  • Create a YouTube channel
  • Enrol in basic video editing courses to develop a workflow
  • Guarantee at least one article per month that is not just related to my CCIE Journey (aka the status reports)
  • Participate in discussion forums (LinkedIn, LinkedIn groups, Cisco Learning Network, etc…)

Measuring growth and reachability?

  • Target 20% growth from 2020 site traffic statistics
  • Publish at least 5 videos that relate to written content to YouTube
  • Publish at least 7 videos that relate to projects (e.g., Industrial Networking Project, IOT dev projects)
  • Seek opportunities to jump on a podcast (would love to try this, perhaps in the back half of 2021)