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What Are the Prerequisites for the CCNA?

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The CCNA is a Cisco certification required for most IT professionals. There are actually a few versions of the exam, but the most common is the CCNA Routing and Switching certification. This exam can be taken at the Associate level, so there aren’t many concerns as far as prerequisites go.

The only real limitations are that a person under 13 years will not be permitted to take it, and a person between 13 and 17 must have parental consent. For those 18 and older, there are no restrictions, as Cisco does not require any previous exams to become eligible for the CCNA.

Still, just because there are no real prerequisites, this doesn’t mean the exam isn’t challenging. It’s a 90-minute test consisting of both multiple-choice and performance-based questions. Anyone taking the exam will have to thoroughly prove their knowledge and problem-solving skills in a limited time. It can be stressful, and it’s recommended to have both theoretical knowledge as well as practical networking experience before taking the test. The following are the best ways to prepare for the CCNA.

Study materials

There are plenty of study materials that can get you started. These range from official study guides, video courses, labs, and more. There is a list of Cisco approved materials for those wishing to follow that path, though there are a variety of options from other vendors as well. Regardless of whether you pursue free or paid options, you’ll need to do your best to cover all of the content that could appear on the exam. The methods you choose will likely depend on your learning style.

In general, it’s recommended to take a self-paced video course, regardless of your knowledge level. These will generally measure your knowledge at the start of the course to ensure you aren’t bored with concepts you already know nor overwhelmed at the beginning with unfamiliar ideas. You’ll likely need some additional materials, however, as it can be easy to miss some ideas when watching videos.

There’s an official Cisco Certification Guide available in ebook and hardcopy forms which many argue to be the best study guide available. It’s also impossible to replace hands-on experience through any number of study guides or lab courses. Luckily, modern simulation tools like GNS3 can let you practice the majority of performance-based content you’ll see on the exam.

Practice tests

To get a better idea of what the real exam will be like, you’ll need to take some practice tests. While no practice test can show the same questions that will appear on the current exam, there are many tutoring packages out there that include a CCNA practice test with real questions from past exams. These questions are obtained directly from Cisco and Pearson and can give you a good idea as to the structure of the exam. If you’re able to complete these in the allotted time, you should stand a better chance at the real thing.

Additional preparation

No matter how you decide to prepare for the exam, you’ll likely be doing some combination of self-study and seeking outside help. External training options like expert boot camps and live courses may be just what you need if you require a more personal touch. These options generally include several hours of live instruction, and boot camps will let you schedule appointments with an expert instructor.

The real key is that you need to understand your own learning style and pace, something you’ll hopefully have good experience with from previous classwork. Luckily, you can have a combination of everything you think will work for you before you attempt your exam.

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How To Grab Attention On Video Conference Calls

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We are in the age of ‘COVID-19’, and our lives will never be the same again. We’ll be working from home more often and using video conferencing for meetings with colleagues, management and customers. In-person meetings allow for verbal and non-verbal cues. Body language can play a significant role in negotiation, for example.

Changes in body language or small facial expressions can provide observers, i.e. the meeting attendees messages on how to respond to get the right outcome. If you’re someone who uses non-verbal cues to sway discussion in your favour, then video-conferencing is a challenge. So how can we get what we need from these online meetings using what we have at hand, i.e. the small visuals of meeting attendees?

In this article, we provide tips on how you can get your points across, even when the other attendees are more extroverted than you.

Use The Camera

Focus on the camera and what it can do for you. There is a temptation to stare at your screen and the other attendees in the meeting. Get past this action as soon as you can. Allow yourself a few minutes to view all the other participants then turn your attention to the meeting’s contents.

Active listening is required and if it helps you to remember what is being discussed – take notes. To assist this action further say which participant explained the point, for example, Attendee John (Manager): “we will now always work from home two days a week”.

When you’re talking stare into the camera and not at the attendees faces on your screen. While this is very unnatural, and at first, you’ll think you’re rude or ill-mannered by not looking at the attendees like you would if you were in an in-person meeting. However, looking deeply into the camera not only focuses you on what you’re saying, but you also won’t get distracted with attendees non-verbal distractions.

Mastering the skills for video conferencing productivity will take practice. The multi-tasking of taking notes while actively listening and remembering to optimise the time spent looking into the camera will be your juggling act!

What you’re working against is human nature and the obsession we have with ourself. Dale Carnegie says if we’re not thinking about a project, we’re thinking about ourselves. A lot of time is spent and indeed wasted thinking about how we feel, what we want, and what other people think of us, so you can see what you’re up against to master video conference meetings as an active participant or meeting lead.

Use Your Voice

Understanding the basics of human nature can be gained from studying neuroscience or neurolinguistic programming. Introverts are less likely to sit tall or speak up than extroverts; however, they can practice doing both, and without the non-verbal cues getting in the way, video conferencing is a great levelling feature.

When you’re on a video call, always speak louder than your usual speaking voice. Plus use your voice to express yourself through using pitch, high and low, vary it to keep your audience engaged. For extroverts, they are experts in changing tone and adding volume to grab attention and express themselves. Introverts will also master this skill in the knowledge that they are in the room with the meeting attendees and that no one is spending much time thinking about them!

Backgrounds

What is in the background when you’re on a video conference call? Take care to have a bland background, so your frame is not the meeting’s distraction! Ideally use a plain white wall for your background. If that’s not possible, make sure the shelves behind you have only the objects you don’t mind your work colleagues and customers viewing, i.e. do not place intimate or personal items on the shelves that will end up being the topic of discussion.

Visual Appearance

Even though you’re working remotely and most often from your home, avoid wearing your leisure apparel. Your appearance should be what your colleagues would expect to see if they were sitting next to or opposite you in a meeting room. Once again, the objective with your appearance is to avoid being the distraction.

Summary

If you’ve been reluctant to use video conferencing, these tips will boost your confidence to use the technology without distraction.

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Best Proxies for Pricing Intelligence

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Everybody wants to be profitable in business. So how do you go about that when you’re in a competitive space? Well, if you have an idea what your competitors are offering, won’t it give you an edge when you offer better pricing?

When you gather data from a website, it is usually for a purpose. While you are at it, you could experience challenges if you’re not doing it the right way. Proxies give you headway as said before.

With proxies in full motion, you extract data endlessly – data, in this case, is pricing on a competitor’s website.

You make a lot of profit if your pricing structure is better – that gives you an edge.

What is a Proxy?

A proxy offers you some form of protection while you surf the internet. In a layman’s term, it is the “middleman” between you and the internet. For every request that goes through the proxy, your IP address is hidden; only that of the proxy is in the open when you connect to a website.

Proxies come in different types including SSL proxies, also known as HTTPS proxies.

  • Residential proxies
  • Datacenter proxies

Residential Proxies

These proxies are from Internet Service Providers (ISP) and assigned to homeowners with a real IP address – and represented by a physical location. One of their perks is their high level of anonymity.

What are Datacenter Proxies?

Datacenter proxies are popular, and many people are using them every day. When you think of a proxy, it is a data center that likely comes to mind. Moreover, you may not even know the specifics of how these proxies go about delivering their jobs; they do not come from the internet service provider.

There are other types of proxies – but this time, in terms of the number of users. They can be shared, semi-dedicated, or private proxies.

Shared Proxies

Many individuals usually share these proxies. The downsides are that they offer lower performance and speed.

Private Proxies

These are proxies meant for one individual. They perform better than shared proxies and offer higher speed.

Semi-dedicated Proxies

These proxies are neither shared nor dedicated – they’re in between the both of them. The number of users is usually between 2 or 3.

In today’s business environment, web scraping is gaining popularity. It is a way to get head in your competitive space by leveraging extracted data at your disposal.

Companies understand the importance of price intelligence – and they will go the extra mile to use it to their advantage.

To this end, price scraping has become more prevalent than ever. A strategic pricing model takes into account what your competitors are offering, and you can outdo them by offering something better.

What is Web Scraping and why Proxies for Price Intelligence?

Web scraping is the process of collecting data from a website for specific purposes – price intelligence, market research, and more. That is usually possible by using bots to gather the desired information

When you scrape e-commerce websites like Amazon, you will be restricted if you flood the server with so many requests from one single IP address within a short period.

To get around this snag – it is simple. Proxies will do the magic.

If you scrape the e-commerce with an array of IP addresses – with each request coming from a unique IP – then you’re on track. If you want to scrape for prices on a competitor website with severally proxies, your activity will be successful. You can then use the data for price intelligence.

Actionable Insight for a Competitive Edge

The original growth hack of web scraping is leveraged by the big and mighty like the Fortune 500 for what purpose? They want to be competitive on pricing and be in the know while measuring customer sentiment.

With access to information on your competitor, you can grow, and with an advantage in your niche field. Take, for instance, businesses use this data to predict future demand, adjust their strategies, and adhere to best practices in the industry.

In other words, web scraping provides your business with an effective pricing strategy, which is in response to real-time demand. You get actionable insight for your business, and it can help you shape your decisions going forward.

Best Proxies for Price intelligence

With your data acquisition team doing what they know best, you can retrieve public data. However, proxies become an essential tool for this process.

Essentially, it boils down to choosing the best there is. Two main types of proxies exist in the market – data center and residential proxies

They both have their benefits and downsides.

Residential proxies are real IPs, so it is difficult to associate them with any ban – they seem more like a better option out there. However, they have a low response rate.

On the other hand, the datacenter may incur the wrath of the website owner because they can be easily detected. However, their fast response rate makes up for this downside.

Choosing the right proxies for price intelligence cannot be stressed any further. You can stay ahead; all you need is to do the needful.

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Reasons Why 3D Rendering Services Are Gaining Popularity – and Why You Should Use Them

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It’s not hard to see how technology has impacted the world. Every facet of life, including various industries, has benefited in some way from technology. As 3D technology continues to improve, more people are using it for their business. Currently, the people who use 3D rendering services the most include architects.

By using this technology, architects have found that it can assist them in all phases of their work. Beginning in the design phase and going through to presentation and approval, 3D rendering services are making architects’ jobs easier and helping them to be more creative. Of course, this isn’t the only industry that can benefit from this service. Below are the reasons why this service is gaining popularity and why you should consider using it.

Improved Accuracy and Structuring

Regardless of your design, whether it is a building, home, or product, you have to start at the beginning, and this often involves creating blueprints. Traditionally, 2D services were used for this phase, and while they can help you design a product, they are incredibly limited. It’s also possible that people can make mistakes using this medium.

To be able to see how the final product will look and ensure there aren’t any mistakes, using 3D rendering services is advised. This technology can capture and display colors, details, dimensions, layouts, and so much more so that you can make changes before finalizing the project.

Using this service also gives you the ability to show clients exactly what you have in mind for their final product. They won’t have to strain their brains or use their imagination to envision the final product like they would with 2D blueprints. It will be before them in all its glory, and this is a good way to impress them and get them excited about the project.

 Valuation Accuracy

One of the most expensive steps in any project’s process is construction. It doesn’t matter if it’s an office building, a house, or a car part; it takes a lot of different materials and components to put the item together. As deciding the products for the final product also occurs during the design phase, it’s a good idea to have help from technology.

Since 3D rendering is so accurate and precise, it can help you create a more detailed list of components and how much of each will be needed for the production stage. It won’t be perfect, but it can reduce the number of surprises and give a better idea for the cost. This information can provide clients with more accurate figures for their budget, as well as make the development process go more smoothly and reduce issues.

Improved Communication

If you use 3D rendering services, you’ll be able to create an accurate representation of the final product in a digital environment. This way, you can ensure that both the client and you are on the same page, as well as let them see what it looks like before spending time and money to build it. Changes can be made in a real quick fashion, saving everyone’s time and money.

One of the best ways to make clients happy is to save them money, and using advanced technology to help them through all stages can help with that endeavor. Architects are currently using this technology the most, but it can be used in a wide variety of industries.

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