Over the next few weeks, we will chronicle the process taken by Mario Perez, Fuel Board Member, Data Communications Specialist, as he prepares to take his Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Engineer (PCNSE) certification exam at Ignite ’17 in June. Mario will share his approach to prepping for this test, complete with study tips and lessons learned along the way.
Part One: Prep Work
Lately, my days comprise about three hours of reading, watching videos and doing labs — and that’s on top of my day job. You will hear no complaints from me, as I’m certain the time I’m putting in now will pay off on June 15 when I sit down to take my Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Engineer (PCNSE) certification exam at the Ignite ’17 event.
Taking the exam can seem like a daunting task — but one with excellent rewards. To be recognized as a PCNSE is a distinct honor and a great credential to have as a professional in this space. And, full disclosure, we at Fuel are looking to develop a guide for helping others take the exam, so I figured the best way to teach others is to go through the process myself.
So, you may ask, what exactly is the process? I began back in April by first locating three resources that I knew were critical to helping me get started (all available via the Palo Alto Networks website):
- PCNSE7 Certification Blueprint: Summarizes the key objectives of the test; a high-level overview of the core areas and skills that the test is designed to measure.
- PCNSE7 Study Guide: Provides a detailed summary of key topic areas you are expected to know to be successful and helps prepare you to take the exam.
- PCNSE7 Practice Questions: Designed to help you prepare for the exam, allowing you to assess your understand of topics covered in the exam and identify topics on which you may need further training or study.
Quite honestly, you cannot even begin to think about the process until you access these documents. They are very helpful because they break down the whole test, what to study and how to be successful to achieve the certification.
In particular, the PCNSE Practice Questions are insightful. For example:
- Which feature will control how the firewall handles web servers with expired certificates when decrypting SSL?
- What can be used to push network and device configurations from Panorama to firewalls running PAN-OS software?
- Which Virtual Wire Tag Allowed value(s) will allow only untagged traffic to traverse a virtual wire?
For now, I will leave you with that as your starting point. Next time, I will provide insight on additional resources that can help you take the knowledge you obtain from these three documents to accelerate the learning process!