CWNE Renewal – CWAP-402

So, the challenge is on, to renew my CWNE by the end of 2016.

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I have always believed that the foundation of CWNE must be the CWNP professional certifications, so that’s where I’ll begin.

CWNP hint that the order to get the certifications is:

CWNA

CWSP

CWDP

CWAP

My opinion is that CWAP provides the deepest level of knowledge, so I’ll start with this exam in the hope that it gives me a boost for the other exams. Remember, this is for CWNE renewal, so my strategy would not suit someone doing the exams for the first time. Incidentally, on their own, passing the professional level certs (CWAP, CWDP and CWSP) aren’t enough to retain CWNE – I need to submit scores for other events too, I’ll cover that later.

I have coached many students through CWNP exams, so I thought I should take the time to follow the same procedure I always advise.  The exam should only be tackled with the benefit of field experience, so if you are following this you should already be CWNA and proficient with capture and analysis tools.

  1. Always start with the learning objectives (CWAP Exam objectives are here)
  2. Read the objectives and identify any concepts you don’t know
  3. Go to the study guide and read the chapter containing the concepts you identified in step 2.

I don’t have the new study guide yet, though I do have my trusty and well worked PW0-206. CWNP released a video outlining the differences in the new content, and it’s worth a watch here.

IMG_1799
Well worn, heavily noted and colour tabs – spot the visual learner !

The old PW0-270 study guide is a fantastic book, written by 4 CWNE’s and I loved using it as a reference guide. I have heard the new CWAP-402 is not so good. It’s written by a single author who allegedly does not have the same level of WLAN experience and it apparently shows in errors and  poorer content. If this the case it’s a great shame as it seems to be a cheapening of the CWNP brand. I’m happy to retract the above statement. I spoke with Tom Carpenter, CTO of CWNP, who explained how the new CWAP-402 is more focussed on all round trobubleshooting skills. It’s aimed at encouraging people to approach the exam by understanding the full scope of WLAN analysis, rather than just remembering detailed facts about frames. In their attemp to do this, CWNP are aware that the new materials missed the mark somewhat and are working hard to correct this. Expert authors and an attention to detail do matter. Tom is without doubt an expert – follow Tom on twitter, @TomCarpenter, and watch his webinars at http://www.CWNP.com.

Once you identify your weak areas, how do you build that knowledge ?

  • Read Whitepapers
  • Read blogs
  • Set up a test environment
  • capture, capture, capture

If I follow this then I should be pretty well placed to take the exam. At this point I’ll start working through the practice exam questions, and I’ll book the exam to give me a date to focus on.

All of this has to be juggled around work and personal life, so it’s important to set expectations and a timetable early on.

I’ll report back once I have reviewed the objectives and have an idea as to what I need to do to sharpen up.

Neil Mac

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