As Cody Arnold took a computer networking certification exam in April, he applied a recommended approach to test-taking: Be confident. Proceed. Breathe. Repeat.
The strategy proved hugely successful for the Ivy Tech Community College Northeast network infrastructure major. Arnold achieved first place in the 2015 Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician, or CCENT, competition among 170 high school, college, and university participants from the United States and Canada.
“I was fairly confident I would do well, and I thought the rounds would be easy to me,” Arnold says. “However, I did not expect that I would win at all. The second round, the one that really matters, was so difficult and unclear I thought I had completely failed, so I nearly forgot about the competition soon after submitting my work. I was very surprised to see myself in first place when the notifications rolled out.”
The first portion of the exam involved a 100-question virtual test that lasted an hour, equaling out to less than a minute per question. The second portion included a virtual lab with vague instructions, allowing Cisco to see if competitors could think on their feet, Arnold says.
For winning, he received a $150 voucher for CCENT certification.
“I really do owe my success to the people who teach me and the educational structure that surrounds me. Literally everything in the competition, I learned from Ivy Tech,” says Arnold, who is also a student intern with Ivy Tech Northeast’s Computer and Technology Services office on campus.
Associate Network Engineer Alexander Jovanovich has supervised Arnold since his internship began last December.
“Cody will be America’s next networking all-star one day,” Jovanovich says. “He has an inquisitive mind for the subject matter, and he retains knowledge very well.”
In May, Arnold took his knowledge a step further by earning a CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certificate—a degree of networking skill higher than the CCENT—which complements his existing certifications: A+, Net+, and Security+. He plans to continue competing, too, with his sights on the 2016 USA and Canada CCNA NetRiders competition next spring.