The Story Behind the Resume of Scott Morris
Back to the Resume
Looking at the resume of Scott Morris doesnt exactly tell you much about the type of person youre looking at. Sure, there are certifications, theres a small (limited by the attention span of reading a resume) list of responsibilities in jobs, and theres a vague impression that the guy knows a few things. Lets look at a little history to this, which will help fill in some of the blanks.
First, Scott has been interested in computers since he was eleven years old. He got an original IBM AT (yes, the 286 6MHz one) for Christmas that year. With 1 meg of RAM and a whopping 10 meg MFM hard drive, things were ready to rock and roll! (Some famous person once said youll never need more than 1 meg anyway, right?)
One of the first things Scott did to dive into the computer world was he taught himself IBM BASICA (the "Advanced" BASIC). Not only learning the standard if-then-else logic (which isnt bad for a seventh-grader), but learning some advanced I/O port calls. This information was used to write a Defender-style arcade game for the IBM that pushed 16 colors in 640x480 mode. If you remember your history correctly, at that point in time, according to IBMs standards, 640x480 "hi-res" mode was only black and white.
Shortly after this, Scott began working on the hardware end of things. He added a second 360k floppy drive, and a second (20 meg now) MFM hard drive. Then he added an AST RAMPage RAM expansion card to bring his machine up to a whopping four meg of RAM (which of course, no one should ever need).
This just begins the history of a self-taught, highly technical computer-oriented career. By the time high school rolled around, Scott had taught himself Pascal (Borlands Turbo variety), and a few vague notions of networking. He frequently was picked up from school to go fix the computer at his parents company. It was an old DEC system (with 8" floppy drive), and nothing related to what he had really done, but the understanding of concepts and extrapolating them came easy.
By the end of high school, Scott had to make plans for college. In trying to think of what interested him, he decided that computer programming was not the way to go (he didnt care for the idea of only creating things based on what someone else told him). Networking was still something unexplored, therefore pretty much unknown as a career option. With the idea of "being wherever things happen" in mind, journalism was the career choice. Therefore, Marquette University, being one of the top ten journalism schools was the college choice.
Once in college, Scott worked on student publications. He picked up photography rather quickly, and decided that was more fun. It was technical in nature, and had the concept of "immediate gratification" to getting results, particularly in the darkroom. Scott worked for the student newspaper, the student magazine, and was Photo Editor of the Yearbook (honing some organizational skills).
Being a college student, Scott needed money, therefore (like most) he got a job. Scott decided that a job in college was not a career choice, but the means to an end (other than earning money). He picked out what concepts he wanted to learn, and selected where he would work from there. The first job was at a print shop, to better understand the publication processes, particularly with regards to photo-reproduction.
As Scott got into photography more, the need arose to purchase camera equipment. Being a poor college student, this was not an easy option. Therefore, the choice was to get a job closer to that area, but one that offered discounts. So Scott worked at a camera/photo lab store. The place where Scott chose to get a job also had a full color darkroom facility, which provided an added bonus in that it filled a niche that college labs/equipment could not provide. Scott soon became very proficient at color darkroom work, and custom printing concepts.
Scott spent most of the time in college working on publications in a typical journalist fashion. By this nature, he became very familiar with the concepts of hard deadlines, and working under pressure. He carried and monitored a police/fire scanner in case of any breaking news. Reactions to crises were honed, and the ability to work well under pressure was well-practiced.
By the beginning of his junior year in college, Scott realized that in order to get a job in his chosen profession, he would need "real" experience by the time he graduated (and the six to eight-year college plan wasnt an option). Thus freelance photography began. Being interested and adept in sports and news photography, that seemed a good place to start. Soccer had always interested Scott as well (former player and referee), so Milwaukees professional indoor soccer team, the Milwaukee Wave, was a great place to start. Being that there was not "technically" a job opening, Scott simply walked in to their offices, met with the appropriate people, and explained that the current photography they were using was "nice", but lacked the ability of showing the true nature of the sport. Scott made an offer to provide better photographs, or the Milwaukee Wave would not pay anything. The only thing they were out in the beginning was to provide a Press Pass to all games.
Scott very quickly improved skills on sports photography, and even took up more advanced concepts of stadium lighting (called "strobes", or to lay-people, "a series of giant flash cubes mounted all around a stadium to provide lots of light for better photographs"). Soon after working on these concepts, Scott was on-board as the official Staff Photographer of the Milwaukee Wave, which led on to doing the same for the Chicago Power indoor soccer, and the Milwaukee Admirals IHL Hockey teams.
Back on the college scene, student publications had become less interesting, particularly when coupled with the fact that things were becoming more and more "political" in the realm of editors. Being someone who doesnt really put up with incessant whining very well (intolerant of "big-mouth-little-brain syndrome"), Scott and a few other publication staff decided to go off on their own and create an alternative student newspaper.
This newspaper was not what most think of with the term "alternative". It was not an art review, or a place where students voiced ill-thought-out opinions on whatever matters they thought of at the time. This was a true journalistic exercise, simply free of the normal student population in the student publications area. Unfortunately, this also meant it was free of the important funding that came from that area.
This newspaper was a weekly paper, called The Harbinger. It was run off of a few Macintosh computers that Scott (and others) owned, and networked together. In addition to the journalistic ideas, there was much learned about running a profitable business, and even some learned on networking computers. Over the course of a year, Scott upgraded The Harbingers network from localtalk to ethertalk. Bopo The LaserWriter (Scotts and the papers laser printer) didnt deal very well with this upgrade, but after a very long night, much cursing, and a few less-than-subtle threats, the laser printer opted to participate on this network.
Much to the chagrin of the Marquette Tribune, the Harbinger received more awards, more attention, and broke more stories than they did. This was a weekly paper beating the pants off of a daily (Tuesday through Friday) publication. By the end of the year, the Harbinger staff had proven their business savvy and turned a higher profit than the student publication.
It was during this same time that Scott strove to learn things in as many different directions as possible. While this was not necessarily the most intelligent decision for creating a stress-free style of living, it turned out to be very enlightening. Scotts freelance photography business was growing into advertising and general "feature" photography. Scott took employment with United Press International (UPI) as a contract photographer as well.
The job with UPI taught a whole new idea of working under pressure and deadlines. Scott also learned much about digital photography, and transmission mediums of the wire service. Scott was invited to cover events from Milwaukee to Chicago to Detroit on a regular basis, and also managed to catch the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, and the 1991 Olympic Festival out in Los Angeles. All this, and going to school too .
When 1992 came around, students were starting to look around for jobs. Scott would manage to complete college with the equivalent of two bachelors degrees (Journalism and Photojournalism) and two minors (Political Science and Philosophy) in the span of four years.
Unfortunately, the market had fallen out of journalistic fields by this point, with many newspapers and magazines laying people off. This created a market where many skilled and experienced people were fighting for positions paying less and less money. In the end, while watching other students accept high-stress jobs for around $16,000 a year, Scott decided that this was not the way to do things. (McDonalds looked comparable and easier)
Computers always having been a hobby, it seemed the most logical choice in things to do to earn money. Being that Scott really didnt have formal experience, most businesses would not look at him for much more than basic tech labor at minimal wages. So Scott decided that he was going to run his own business. He partnered with a friend from Marquettes College of Engineering, and founded Impulse Computing. The name was chosen simply because at the time it was an impulse.
The company was created to build and sell clone computer systems, and whatever else a customer decided they wanted. It was through this lack of business direction that Scott came into networking. In the early 90s, a number of companies were just getting in to the networking scene. Smaller companies were starting to combine and share resources, where that had been an area for larger companies in the past.
Scott and his partner set up a variety of networks in Scotts house, teaching themselves everything they needed to know in order to set up, maintain and troubleshoot Lantastic, PowerLAN and Novell 3.11. Scott very quickly passed the CNA exam and began soaking up all the knowledge he could for the CNE certification.
Impulse Computing took on customers all across the country and began doing consulting work as well as basic computer building and selling. The biggest problem with the company is that it was doing too well. All the money that would come in had to go back out immediately to pay for the next set of jobs in the works. It was near impossible to get over the hump of the cash flow, and therefor made actual paychecks a rarity. While being educational and fun at times, this did not manage to put much food on the table.
Career At Work
In 1993, Scott received a job offer from a company in Kentucky that he had been doing consulting with for quite a while. It was a Novell LAN of about 40 people at the time. Scotts partner happened to receive a different job offer at about the same time, so the vote was really easy to migrate towards receiving steady paychecks.
Maintaining the same LAN for an extended period of time was a novel concept to Scott, but not difficult to adapt to. He inherited a part-Arcnet, part-ethernet (coax) network to maintain. Within short oder, Scott upgraded the entire site to 10Base-T ethernet (doing the cabling installation all by himself) and had things flowing much smoother. Scott handled migrating one set of users from a Novell 2.2 separate network into a Novell 3.11 integrated network, and all of the access controls from there.
The next project involved e-mail. In less than two weeks, a complete GroupWise system was set up and functioning, complete with an Internet connection for global transfer of e-mail. Most maintenance was routine from this point, simply working with Novell updates, and cable upgrades as 100Base-TX became more popular. As Tele-Tech worked more in the Business Premise Systems installation market, it became increasingly important for our office to show some work similar to what they did. The second floor (group that ran BPS division) was upgraded to a CAT5 structured cabling system following Seimons standards. Although a BPS "real" engineer did the initial design, all the changes to make the system functional and the installation of it were supervised by Scott.
By the middle of 1994, Scott had designed, installed and was maintaining Novell 3.x LANs in Lexington, Atlanta, Baltimore, Indianapolis and New Jersey. By the beginning of 1996, this structure had changed to two separate offices in Atlanta, plus Baltimore, New York, and about a dozen or so in-home remote users. Designs for a Wide Area Network had begun, and were in the process of being approved. Along with this WAN implementation would come a complete shift in network structure. Novell would be replaced by a single domain NT enterprise, GroupWise would be replaced by Exchange, shared bus networks would be re-segmented with switches and routers in place. Why do something small, when you can do something with pizzazz??? (smirk)
One really long weekend in October of 1996 was chosen for the cut over from NetWare to NT. Friday evening, all services were stopped and a complete backup of all systems was done. By 2am Saturday morning, the NT servers were online with all data intact and shares functioning. By 7am Sunday morning, the printers and login scripts worked the way they were really supposed to (the books and web site had "misinformation"). By Sunday evening, Exchange was up, and except for a few spelling errors on account names, everyones e-mail was functional. Monday morning, everyone came back to work to see a couple of really tired IS folks led by Scott, and other than a few printer mapping problems ("I know I printed this, but where did it go?"), things were very functional.
During that week, a few minor bugs were worked out, many lessons were learned about reality vs. books, and the entire network infrastructure was rearranged to a tiered switch environment.
By the following Monday evening, the T-1 to Lexingtons router was up, and the Cisco 4500M router was configured. By Wednesday, the entire LAN switchover to NT and router/T-1 installation occurred in Baltimore. By Friday, both Atlanta offices were switched over. Discounting one utterly confused call to Cisco tech support to figure out why the routing protocol wasnt playing fairly with the other routers, the WAN went up without a hitch. All NT domain authentication worked the way it was designed to and, for the most part, life was pretty good. On the 14th day (and 15th and 16th), Scott slept.
Since that point, things have been smooth. Improvements have been made in terms of workflow and remote access, virtual private networking is still in a testing phase, and things are becoming more aggressive with updating the legacy programs that run the business at Tele-Tech.
The brief stint at MCI came late-1996 into 1997 (Ninety-ish day job change not worthy of placing on the resume). Scott made the three month job very educational by breaking down, learning and integrating every bit of available knowledge on telecommunications networks that was possibly available. For months after his employment was over, he still received calls from other technical types at MCI for questions and solution ideas. He currently still contracts to MCI and MCI customers for router programming and general troubleshooting issues. One important issue Scott learned though was that he does not deal well in organizations that are overly-politically driven, rather than merit driven. Bosses (or anyone for that matter) who react without thought or logic and jump to inane conclusions without the intelligence of both sides to a story are not liked, and not needed.
Career On The Side
At the end of 1995, Scott decided to make his hobby pay off again. Basically the thought process behind it was very similar to college: find what one wants, then figure out how to get it. Scott wanted an internet connection at home better than 28.8k. Scott knew much of the technology of ISDN, and more importantly, knew the loopholes to the local telco tariff that made data-rate calls free. In exchange for teaching a new ISP about the intricacies of ISDN BRI and PRI, and the loopholes, Scott secured himself a 128k full-time dedicated connection to the Internet, plus a Class C for less than $300 a month. (Around Kentucky, that was a REALLY good deal)
By building computers out of spare parts as hed always done, he set up two Redhat Linux servers for DNS, and NT servers for handling e-mail. Scott quickly picked up a couple of clients for e-mail connections. Soon these clients wanted web sites as well. Therefore, Scott taught himself how to set up Apache on the Linux machines, and how to multi-home the servers for different IP addresses. Scott decided that 128k was really not enough to be hosting peoples web pages with any sense of accuracy and availbility. He traded consulting time with an old friend who ran an ISP in the Ohio area for co-location space. This working out well, he set up a Linux box running DNS and Apache and set it on a network with multiple T-1 feeds to the Internet.
Through consulting work, and self-taught Cisco programming, Scott learned a great deal about the Internet, and how it worked. Being that Scott has a decent background in logical things, this was not difficult at all. As things expanded in career issues, more opportunities arose to learn new things, this information all became integrated in the VCUK (Vast Collection of Useful Knowledge). There is also a VCUK² (Vast Collection of Useless Knowledge), which is very important for troubleshooting oddities. Over the years, knowledge collection has been driven by the basic tenet of alleviating and avoiding boredom.
In his basement currently, Scott is running a 10/100 full-duplex, switched network, with a few fiber attachments, and one machine on an EtherChannel VLAN. Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0, Windows NT 5.0 Beta and RedHat Linux 6.0, a few Cisco routers, two Cisco MicroWebServers and a Cisco PIX Firewall are all running. The concept in testing currently is how to reasonably and marketably (neat word, huh?) use Remote Data Warehousing to offer a Disaster Recovery Solution to companies. So far its mostly conceptual, with some software testing underway, but its a promising integration. More and more large companies are starting to advertise services like this (after Scott originally thought of it), so its just a matter of how to remain competitive and more intelligent than the rest. The other learning concept du jour is Voice over IP. He has a couple routers that have the applicable hardware to make that happen, it is now simply a matter of taking (and having) the time to sit down and play with it until it works.
Back at the "real" job (Tele-Tech Company), Scott has grown the size of the Information Services department to deal with the increased demands for computers and computer support throughout the company. What was once a one-person operation could no longer operate in this fashion. Back in 1996, Scott was only supervising a single person, which was pretty simple. Currently, he supervises nine people with more positions planned. These subordinates include technicians of varying skill levels, programmers and program project leaders.
In addition to handling the management duties of an ever-busy and ever-growing department, Scott also still oversees the overall network configuration (switches, hubs, routers, firewalls and general "data-flow" things). While learning and adapting to the psychology of effectively managing a department, Scott is also constantly honing and expanding his technical skills by deciding what to learn next, and then executing a plan to do so.
1998 saw the completion of his Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certification. After working on NT systems in and out for a little over a year, Scott took three weeks in April to move through six tests. This was without the benefit of a bazillion study guides and tests that have become ever-present today. He did manage to fail the Exchange 5.0 test the first time, but that was due to a "huge" number of questions regarding migration from MS-Mail, which Scott had no experience with. After setting up a test system, playing for a couple days and learning the necessary terms that questions would refer to, he took the test again and passed.
Later in the year, Scott would rely on his cabling experiences and expanding the knowledge a little bit to attain an Ortronics cable installation certification. He would also begin learning more networking concepts of design and configuration while attaining the Cisco Design Specialist certification (which quickly disappeared and became the Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) certification). Near the end of 1998, Scott had decided that he was going to obtain his Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification. By December, Scott had passed the (evil) written test, which is the first step in obtaining the CCIE certification.
1999 would see much more studying on Cisco router configurations. During the first few months, Scott spent much time in the Washington, DC area taking a class on Managing Cisco Network Security (MCNS), and two general expert-level Cisco courses. One was held at ARS and the other at CCCI, both were taught by Bruce Caslow (who authored a wonderful book). Beyond this, Scotts free time was spent in his basement working on the pod of nine routers he had purchased or borrowed to learn as much as possible.
In the beginning of April, Scott took the CCIE lab exam in San Jose, California. This was his first attempt at passing the (evil) CCIE lab exam, and only his words could sum up the experience: "I used to think I was a pretty bright guy " While he didnt pass the first time, he respected the lab exam. Six people started the lab with Scott. Five people, including Scott did not make it past Day One. Scott had the highest score of that bunch, and was the only one of that bunch who had not already taken the lab exam previously. So, while disappointed, Scott still was happy with the achievement.
The next month and a half passed with a very busy work schedule (starting to open up three new offices, move two others to new locations, and expand existing offices as business grows), and a complete lack of a social life as Scott worked on the router pod with as many different scenarios as he could dream up. May 17th and 18th, Scott was in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada taking the (still evil) CCIE lab exam again. This time, however, he would win. "The time between sections when grading is done are the longest times"
Scott is now CCIE #4713, and a very happy person!
Onward and upward.... There's a constant push to relieve boredom going on, whether one is busy or not at any point in time, does not mean that someone is doing meaningful, interesting work. With that in mind, there's constantly a barrage of ideas floating around of things to try, things to learn, things to integrate, things that can be enveloped easily (or not) into whatever plans of "real" work that are occurring. This is a great way to stay on top of technology, and keep a good business mind all at the same time. Scott played with, and learened the ins and outs of firewall technology before the company had enough of an Internet presence to really "need" a true firewall. The Voice over IP technology is up and coming, and while there are tremendous business applications to use, the time is not right, therefore it's a better time to learn and be able to choose an appropriate technology for business when the time is right.
The subcontracted jobs provide some technically challenging work now and then by looking at someone else's network and either figuring out what's wrong, or configuring a new technology or application. This is where most hand-on experience with OSPF networks and BGP networks comes into play, as well as the business-class migrations that it takes to change a network from a poorly architected "band-aid" network into one that runs smoothly. Most businesses cannot down all services for an upgrade, so planning is involved. On a home network, there's no such business requirement, so this was invaluable experience.
In July of 1999, Scott attended Cisco's DSL Boot Camp, where he learned the basics of provisioning and architecting a DSL network on a telco service providers' backbone. Unfortunately, no major projects have been landed quite yet where this knowledge can truly be put to the test, but Scott's waiting for the opportunity and challenge!
In October of 1999, Scott attended a class to learn the configuration techniques for Cisco's (StrataCom's) WAN Switching gear. This step was a beginning step to integrate the variety of data knowledge with the variety of telco knowledge into a cohesive, integrated view of network architecture for a Service Provider industry. Yet again, a new area, a different realm, something exciting, something challenging. The potential never ends....
Scott has discovered, however that the CCNA-WAN Switching exam is quite esoteric compared to the course material. Even despite being within 1-2 percentage points the first couple of times, it took him three times to pass the written exam for that course. Scott has also realized that it will be quite difficult to move beyond the CCNA level of WAN Switching without access to lab equipment. And the chances of having a lab to play in are pretty small.
A brand new millennium has come upon the world; a great time for change in direction! Ever since passing the CCIE exam, despite the fact that Cisco maintains that they do NOT release any information specific on CCIEs, Scott has received a number of phone calls from headhunters about new opportunities. There is certainly a great potential in the industry, and many opportunities within that. Choosing the correct opportunity, however, is the difficult part. In the course of receiving many phone calls, Scott discovered an inordinate number of companies wanting him to move to New York city. Interesting enough, too many people were attempting to offer salaries that may have looked good out of geographical context. When taking the cost of living into account, however, Scott determined it was a SERIOUS step in the wrong direction (not to mention that New York is an evil city to live in).
Scott was beginning to realize that many of the same headhunters were calling over and over, many times with the same set of opportunities, and they weren't taking "NO" as a serious answer. So a "line in the sand" had to be drawn. Since the "NO" answer wasn't working correctly, each headhunter was given the requirement of a 7-figure salary mark. At this point, two things were taking place. First, the headhunters were given a VERY difficult mark to achieve, but they were aware of the requirements before they called back. Secondly, if someone was indeed able to meet that mark, Scott figured it would allow for very comfortable living even under the insane cost of living standards in the New York City area. Needless to say, nobody has met that mark, so the decisions have been simple.
Throughout the process of receiving many offers from many companies (in many countries), Scott was beginning to weigh the opportunities of each prospect, and begin to mesh together a set of goals for himself over the next few years. One of the most important goals, as had been present throughout his life, was the value of not being bored. Stagnation in ANY job was not something to be taken lightly, and if he was going to change the status quo, it was not going to be into a dead-end situation.
Throughout the course of studying for his CCIE lab exam back in 1999, Scott had been participating in some online study groups (mailing lists). These provided a valuable opportunity to bounce ideas off a number of people in the same basic situation Scott was in. Even after obtaining his CCIE, Scott remained a part of these study groups in order to contribute information back. Over time, more opportunities arose for this, including other mailing lists (www.groupstudy.com), web sites with message boards (networking.brainbuzz.com, www.certifyexpress.com), and beginning to host some online chats for other users (www.tcpmag.com).
Scott was discovering through these opportunities that he really enjoyed helping other people, and mentoring them through their learning process. It was also through this process that Scott received an opportunity for a new job that really did capture his attention. Even as just a casual contact, one of the consultants from Chesapeake Network Solutions (Chesapeake Computer Consultants, Inc.) had apparently seen Scott's posts on a mailing list, and e-mailed him about an opportunity within that company.
The opportunity to do consulting work as well as teaching people about exciting things like networking technologies was the kind of job that really piqued Scott's interest! In February of 2000, Scott began working for Chesapeake Network Solutions as an Instructor/Consultant. The first step in this process was becoming certified as a Cisco Certified Systems Instructor (CCSI).
While not being an arrogant person, Scott actually was a bit concerned about the position with Chesapeake. Throughout his career in the computer industry, every position he had ever been in was one of leadership. Every company he had been with, he was the most experienced and the most knowledgeable person around. For the first time, Scott was going to go into a situation where there were many other people with much more experience than he had. While this certainly presented a great opportunity for learning, Scott was a little concerned about "looking like an idiot". Fortunately, this never happened, but becoming just one of 28 CCIE's within a company is quite a shift!
In studying for the instructor-level certification, it became increasingly clear to Scott the level of detail needed to honestly be able to teach (and teach well)! Scott really enjoyed this opportunity to learn details about some basic networking concepts that he had taken for granted over the years, "because things just work that way." Despite this challenge, Scott fast-tracked to the certification (being placed in the test group with people who had been "in queue" longer than Scott had been with the company). He covered all the new material without a glitch, and passed the CCSI (another two-day examination!) the end of April.
So right now, Scott is traveling around the world teaching Cisco courses, and enjoying himself! He has been teaching a custom course on advanced IOS 12.1 technologies (VPN, IPSec, Multicast, MPLS and Quality of Service issues), and the Cisco Internetwork Troubleshooting (CIT) course. He is also certified to teach Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND), Building Scalable Cisco Networks (BSCN), and Building Cisco Remote Access Networks (BCRAN). He is working on being part of a team to teach the upcoming MPLS public course from Cisco to service provider customers; with a chunk of experience in teaching the fundamentals for the custom IOS course, Scott should be right on track for picking up the rest of the details!
In April of 2001, Scott picked up his SECOND CCIE certification in ISP-Dial. So another grueling two-day lab, and another set of topics to master and pass! This is part of Scott's focus on the Service Provider industry. The previous work Scott's done has been an Enterprise focus. Additional certifications will simply pave the way for a versatile approach to networking!
In May of 2001, Scott completed his Cisco Cable Communications Specialist certification, and also became the first fully certified ICCR (Introduction to Cisco Cable Routers) instructor in the United States. As part of his Service Provider repertoire, Scott has demonstrated the knowledge and ability to work with the broadband cable industry. While there is still a lot to learn, there is a lot that has been learned!
In June of 2001, Scott completed AVVID certification for both IP Telephony and Voice Access specializations. This demonstrates knowledge of PBX functionality and the basics of telephony as well as the ability to configure Cisco equipment for Voice access. This includes the IP telephones, as well as regular access scenarios through routers or Call Manager. In addition, Scott is certified to teach both the CVOICE and CIPT classes. All this in the idea of moving into new and exciting technologies!
Throughout 2001, security has been a concern of many people in the networking world. There have been some classes, and some exams dealing with the general concepts of it. Scott has tried to keep up with all of the various technology (a feat unto itself!), and play with whatever pieces he can to help out. Scott's laptop, for example, has biometric access controls on it (fingerprint analysis) to prevent anyone from using the system even if it gets stolen! In addition, he has kept up with Cisco's various and sundry security additions, passing the appropriate exams for the PIX Firewall (Scott also wrote part of a book on this subject for Cisco Press), VPN Services and Intrusion Detection Services. These three exams recertified his Cisco Securirty Specialist certification.
In addition, in September of 2001, Scott also passed the CCIE Security written qualification exam. Sometime in the next several months, Scott will begin to prepare for a third CCIE lab exam. To keep an independent view of the security world, Scott is also planning to obtain the CISSP security certification.
The next step is unknown at this point, but an entirely new world of opportunities has been opened up for Scott right now! Time will tell what's going to happen, for currently Scott is doing really well at relieving boredom!!!
Well, the end of 2001 did not end up as Scott planned. His employer, Mentor Technologies decided to commit financial suicide in such a way that only Harvard MBAs are capable of accomplishing. In case anyone ever wondered, when a company files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it means that NOBODY is getting paid except for the bank and the trustees. Being an employee owed a significant amount of money amounts to absolutely nothing! So this meant that the end of 2001 was spent developing a plan of attack and figuring out how to embark on business as an independent consultant. Needless to say the end of 2001 (following the terrorist attacks in September) was not the best time to be under-employed! While the end of 2001 didn't bring much but the "potential" for business, Scott was not daunted.
2002 brought about a whole new year, and a whole new set of opportunities for Scott to embark upon. Consulting was beginning to look up, as was training for different companies and doing course development projects! Throughout 2002, some of the accomplishments Scott encountered were:
Scott also managed to pick up a number of consulting clients including Cisco Systems, ACS Telecommunications - Alaska, Deployment Technologies/CableVision and others. Unfortunately though, none of Scott's clients seem to be anywhere near where he lives! But there are always Frequent Flyer Miles!
Scott has had his CCSI certificate held by a company in England. Every CCSI must be sponsored by a Cisco Learning Partner, and Azlan Training (formerly Horizon-MTS) is the global Cable training provider. Given Scott's relationship with the Cable BU and development of the course, this seemed like the logical place to associate himself with. In addition, it made for a nice arrangement since he can work with any CLP in the United States since there's no conflict of interest! Interesting enough though, of all the teaching Scott did in 2002, none of it was technically necessary to have a CCSI. Everything was a custom course or bootcamp developed or created for various projects.
Scott managed to work on some publications as well through the year. From contributing chapters (about the PIX Firewall) to Cisco Press' Managing Cisco Network Security book, to writing weekly newsletters and Q&A articles for TCP Magazine, Scott has expanded his public awareness program.
Moving through the Cable environment some, in August, as Scott was preparing to help create the new Cisco Certified Cable Specialist exam, he sat for the CCIE Communications & Services - Cable qualification exam. Not really intending to pass the exam, the intent was to get the 'mindset' for developing a qualification exam. Interesting enough, Scott passed the CCIE qualifier. It was at this point in time, and after much harassing from some folks at Cisco, that he decided to embark upon the trek to grab a fourth CCIE designation!
Before the year was out, in between a gruelling teaching and consulting schedule, Scott managed to pass his CISSP (Certified Information System Security Professional) certification on the first try in October. This was a long, 400-some-odd Scan-Tron type test that Scott thought was out of date back in the University days! Regardless of test delivery style, he is very proud of his accomplishment!
The New Year brought about an increase in business for Scott. Having come quite far from the worrying stage about being an independent consultant, Scott has been enjoying the idea of booking work two or more months in advance! With the increase in business, ofcourse, comes an increase in travel, and thus an increase in the time away from home. With it also comes the difficulty in studying for a CCIE exam. After putting the Communications & Services exam off for a couple months, Scott finally took a stab at it in February. While coming VERY close, he was unable to get the MPLS Inter-AS VPNs working correctly and did not reach the passing mark. While a bit irritated at the failure, not much can be expected from a mere three days of playing with equipment in preparation! All in all the experience was a success even though the score was not.
As the year progresses, Scott has become involved in yet another ACCELERATE bootcamp program within Cisco: this time the ESAP (Enterprise Security ACCELERATE Program). He has been teaching this program to many Cisco SE's for a couple of months now. In the midst of doing this, on the one week off he had in April (one week after his birthday), he took the Communications & Services (now known as Service Provider) CCIE a second time. This time he passed, making him one of FIVE people in the world to have 4 separate CCIE designations, and the only one who is not working for Cisco!
2003 continued to be a fairly interesting year. Scott became less involved with NLI/CCBootcamp as they wanted to head different directions than he did. With that, and a solid reputation for CCIE training, Scott became involved with IPExpert. At around the same time they were parting ways with their current instructor, Scott was sitting down and creating the curriculum for the CCIE Routing & Switching course. The student handbook grew quickly to 400+ pages, and continues to grow as time evolves and new & exciting topics get discussed for the lab! Writing books, particularly technical training manuals is not something that journalism school prepared Scott for!
The Voice CCIE lab came about in September. Scott sat this lab early in its deployment, and didn't pass the first time. The Voice CCIE lab has a higher quantity ratio of tasks than any other CCIE exam out! It's interesting having been through so many different exams over the years, Scott has an informed opinion of this that not many other people are in a position to have! One of these days, it will come back!
Near the end of 2003, as things with IPExpert were still doing very well, Scott picked up a bit more knowledge and practice about Juniper Networks equipment (passing his JNCIS (Juniper Networks Certified Internetwork Specialist) exam) and learning some about NetScreen's security offerings as well.
As the new year started, all sorts of interesting things started lining up! Juniper Networks is looking to expand their training department and bring on contract instructors, so that opportunity is shaping up. Scott has had to rearrange his previous plans for the Juniper certifications and speed them up a bit! But it's all in the name of opportunity!
Over the Holidays, Scott and his wife found out that the summer-time would bring about some very interesting changes in their life. As Scott likes to think, there will be a "Mini-Me" wandering around. The expected date for the Mini-Morris is June 23, 2004. That should certainly bring some excitement into his life, in a vastly different fashion than he's seen before!
What's next? Well, after four CCIE's, so many things seem anti-climactic! But Scott will likely never stop the pursuit of not being bored. The Voice CCIE is still out there to be conquered. Scott will look to push beyond the JNCIP into the JNCIE certification and see what else comes about. And in addition, he is looking to do further work with Cable/RF projects including PacketCable course development as well as working with other equipment. In the grand scheme of things, Scott believes that it is not possible to have "too much" knowledge and that a good variety of topics and platforms are what makes the best consulting practices.
Scott passed his JNCIP in May of 2004, beginning the path for new and exciting ventures along the way. The summertime changed things greatly though in terms of the amount of free time that Scott had. In addition to working at training and consulting, his daughter Sydney Ann Morris was born on June 17, 2004 at 1:30am. The months since then have been very exciting, but also very packed!
By September, he had attempted the CCIE Voice lab, although he was unable to pass the lab yet. The lack of studying time really did not help with this adventure, although Scott is working on plans for better time management to allow for both family time and study time! The Contact Center applications are very challenging, and Scott is sure that the next lab attempt will be successful all around! In addition to working on the CCIE Voice lab, he has been maintaining CCIE R&S training curriculum and bootcamps/audio bootcamps for IP Expert. He has also been expanding his consulting horizons and doing some work as a direct contractor for Cisco Systems.
Having a beautiful daughter in 2004 has certainly changed the dynamics of studying, learning, working and progressing around the Morris' household! Part of the myriad of "unknown" things that crop up in the parenting process is the learning curve where you attempt to find the balance between things that "should work" and things that "do work". Convinced that all parenting books were written by people who may have been successful parents but didn't write the books until the children were grown up, and likely after years of psychotropic drug use and/or therapy along the way, Scott and his lovely wife are finding some logical tracks of things to do and not to do during the parenting process.
As if one were not enough, a second child is coming into the world as well. Sydney was born in June and the newcomer will be due sometime in August. All sorts of fun!
The working process has been pretty much stable during the last year or so. Combining a number of CCIE training classes through IPexpert along with other various and sundry things offering some variety along the way has found a relatively comfortable balance between home and travel time. (Although the wife's opinion occasionally varies) Scott has continued to look at ways to further himself and increase the number of different things he is capable of. Having passed the Juniper JNCIP on the first attempt bolstered his sense of accomplishment a bit but further irritated him about the CCIE Voice lab!
Having not found any solid time to study voice things, 2005 as a year is slipping by. His written qualifier for the CCIE Voice expired in the beginning of September. His second daughter was born August 12th, and he took the next six weeks spending time at home to help things adjust into the lives of two little ones. Noting some of the little nuances of a newborn that Scott had forgotten in just the past 15 months further convinced him of the role of drugs and/or therapy in the various parenting books out in the market. CCIE Voice will have to wait.
Trying to push things further along in other areas, Scott has picked up a few small consulting opportunities with Juniper gear to increase his hands-on experience. He has also built up a good-sized personal lab of Juniper equipment in an attempt to tackle the JNCIE. In the grand scheme of things, it seemed like a more reasonable ramp-up and able target than the CCIE Voice exam in the short term. Having plenty of practice behind him, it was time to sign up for the lab exam.
The Juniper Networks JNCIE lab is another 8-hour exam like Cisco's CCIE labs are, but the structure is different. There were more routers to configure during that time, and SIGNIFICANTLY more "backbone" devices to interface with during different points in the lab. Also, with the demand for Juniper certifications not at the level that Cisco's are currently at, the availability of lab dates was few and far-between. This made integration into Scott's travel/working schedule another challenge. But finally the date was set. December 8th. In Singapore of all places. No other timeslot/location seemed to mesh well.
Singapore is a very nice country, but it is a REALLY long plane ride to get there. Not to mention a 12-hour time differential for Scott's brain to recover. Leaving the US on December 5th, he landed in Singapore on December the 7th. And took his test on December 8th. While this is not a process recommended for anyone's "peak" levels of performance, it actually worked out for Scott. Just like the JNCIP, Scott further beat the odds and passed his JNCIE exam on the first attempt. JNCIE #153.
Back to home turf, Scott took the rest of December to prepare for the holidays with his family. An 18-month-old and 4.5-month-old daughters at Christmas time was definitely a joyous (but tiring) occasion. Following the holidays will be filled with updating various course material as Cisco introduced a number of changes/enhancements to the CCIE program.
2006 is bound to bring interesting opportunities and other exciting things along. Scott has determined to pick up the thinking of the Juniper security devices (formerly NetScreen Firewalls and Neoteris SSL VPN devices). In addition, in March he will be working on being certified as a Juniper Instructor to further the worldwide opportunities for consulting and training. Somehow in the midst of all this, by March or April, Scott should be able to jump back into the CCIE Voice world by retaking his written qualifying exam. The reason for the wait was to make sure it would count as a CCIE recertification as well! Then he will start dissecting the various pieces and getting their processes re-learned. The current idea is to re-attempt the CCIE Voice lab exam sometime in the May to June timeframe. Reality may intervene, but for now it sounds good!
There is a side to this whole story that does fill in some gaps, but is not necessarily for the feint at heart. Or more importantly, not for those who believe in a black and white concept of right and wrong.
Since 1991, Scott, while increasing his telecommunications knowledge through modems, had become involved with what is referred to as the "pirate scene". By raw definition, a "pirate" is someone who uses software without paying for it. If one accepts that as the final definition, then one has an idea of what an immature pirate is like. A mature pirate is one who is not ashamed to use the word "pirate" in any way. That person will actively trade software and seek to learn as much about as many things as possible. Scott fully believes in purchasing every program that one will run in a "production" environment, but believes in being able to test. Most of this took place before the idea of 30-day evaluations on software were ever heard of (ever wonder where they got that idea from?).
He ran a single node (one phone line) board in Milwaukee called The Assassins Guild, which specialized in utilities files (ie. Not games). This attracted a more mature, and more intelligent audience all in all, and helped make contacts with people all over the midwest area.
When he moved to Kentucky, the board (BBS) came with him. He upgraded it to a three node system running on a Novell network. Soon he became involved with a pirate group called PWA, which means Pirates With Attitudes. Scott had many contacts over the years, and was an active beta tester for Microsoft, IBM and many other companies, which yielded a tremendous amount of software accessible to him. Scott was able to get people together to assist in supplying software to the pirate scene, and soon became a leader of the supply chain. The BBS grew in popularity, and within about six months expanded to 11 active public, 2 private nodes plus an internet news/mail feed. The Assassins Guild was running top of the line US Robotics modems on diskless workstations over 10Base-T network to a Novell 3.12 server with cached fast scsi disk drives. Streaming the data to allow the greatest transfers was not only an engineering feat, but an educational task. Learning much about the network transfers and the I/O transfers of serial busses and the protocol specifics involved with asynchronous communications were a challenge.
In its hey-day, The Assassins Guild sported over 18 gig of online storage (about two months worth of utilities supply), and an entire years worth of DAT tapes in storage. The Assassins Guild was the fastest supplied BBS in the entire world, with people calling from all over the world 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The board stuck with its 11 public and 2 private nodes plus Internet, but added 2 ISDN lines (4 ISDN channels) for international callers who had much more experience with ISDN. In addition to having any piece of software one could ever desire, Scott had an immense set of contacts to trade information on what was good and what was not in terms of functional software. He was part of a group of people who really separated the marketing hype of new software from the reality of implementing and running it. He learned more about things every day.
On April 19th, 1995, however, that stopped. Ironically the same day as the Oklahoma City bombing (much more newsworthy), U.S. Marshals raided Scotts home along with investigators from Microsoft and Novell. They seized all of The Assassins Guilds equipment, plus every conceivable piece of equipment that had nothing to do with that particular network. Scott began to learn a whole lot about the specifics of US Copyright and Trademark law, and how large companies are able to abuse the civil legal system with no remedies. A long and expensive legal battle later, the case was settled, and Scott didnt get any of that equipment back. Now that education had a bigger price tag to it than it did before. Microsoft and Novell were convinced (due to lack of prior knowledge) that The Assassins Guild was in the market of selling pirated software, which is illegal. Giving it away isnt illegal, but under civil law, its a big, ugly grey area that boils down to whoever can drag the court case on the longest (ie. $$$) wins. Needless to say, it wasnt Scott.
There are many more specifics to the court case that really neednt be discussed in length in this type of arena, however, Scott will be willing to answer any questions or tell any stories that may be desired. This, like everything else in here, while long and perhaps drawn out, when put together give a much better impression to the workings of Scotts mind. The pursuits, the methods, the self-driven personality, the business leadership, the overall leadership ability . These are all qualities that assist in giving a better impression than any dry, two-dimensional, linear resume can possibly give.
Now Arent you glad that you took the time to read this novel rather than simply stopping after only a couple of pages? ;)
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