Taking a First Step into a Wireless World (Guest Blog)By James Vooght On 01/12/2022
It is said that for any skill you want to learn and be proficient at, a person would need to invest 10,000 hours into that skill or topic. Learning about wireless networking (or Wi-Fi) is no different from learning in this fashion. Don't let me scare you away with the 10,000 hours part, but it is an investment to pour yourself into. And like any journey, it begins with a first step. But where to start?
Like working in IT and networking, you started learning about fundamental concepts like the OSI model, how to make a crossover cable, and the protocols used for a computer network to communicate. Those concepts still apply here in Wi-Fi, so you already have a leg up from someone just learning the basics of networking. It is not a contest, of course, but you can apply them to what you learn in wireless networking with some of those fundamentals.
The nice thing about learning Wi-Fi and wireless technologies is how you can, like networking, be as broad or as focused as you like. The certifications in the wireless space are proof of that. Do you want to design wireless networks? Do you want to analyze wireless networks? How about learning about security in wireless networking? You could study RF behavior and propagation to help troubleshoot small deployments, multi-tenant spaces, even places like stadiums or theme parks. How about protocols? Do the differences and advancements in 802.11 protocols intrigue you? The world is your oyster, as they say.
Next steps? Start chipping away at the rest of the concepts and break it down into those pieces of concepts and topics. The CWNP curriculums are a fantastic resource to grab those concepts from. Take the blueprints, break down the areas, and concentrate on those first few concepts. For example, in the Certified Wireless Technician, some of the first topics you cover are the basic concepts of RF components that you will encounter as a newly minted technician. Antennas, transmitters, receivers, feed lines, connections help you build the base of how a wireless radio sends out or receives its signal.
There is a multitude of topics that you could start with. Pick one and start reading up on it. From there, utilize the resources available to you. Do you have any coworkers or classmates already working on wireless networks? Pick their brain a little and look for their perspective on a topic. Look online for groups or other professionals to learn from. There are a ton of Wi-Fi professionals that are active on social media platforms that are always talking about wireless and technologies. Look out for webinars by manufacturers of the networking equipment and the tools used to help design or troubleshoot wireless.
Don't let the 10,000 hours scare you away like I said in the beginning. I'll spare you any tropes and silly phrases and leave you with a few final thoughts. Don't be afraid to take the leap or dive into a topic to start learning it. Who knows, when beginning the RF side of wireless may be intensely interesting. But then, when you start learning about the security fundamentals in wireless, you might find that you feel passionate about that instead. Your first concept to tackle may be related to a problem you are facing with a wireless network right now at home or at work. Maybe it is a combination of things. It is your adventure to choose.
The key to all of this is to take the first step. Don't be afraid to ask questions or not know something. We were all beginners at some point in our lives. For example, Ansel Adams didn't start making classic, award-winning landscape photographs the first day he picked up a camera. Learning about Wi-Fi will be the same way. And the learning never stops because the landscape in wireless is always changing and advancing. There is always something new to sink your teeth into—no better time than now to get started.
Blog Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within these blog posts are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Certitrek, CWNP or its affiliates.