This is a guest blog contributed by Kenneth Corbett, DOCSIS Engineer, Charter Communications.
The Cisco IP Challenge in partnership with the SCTE is an exciting, tiring, and beneficial event for any engineer. The IP Challenge format is pretty simple. You have two online qualifier rounds where the top 9 scores receive an invite for a live competition at the SCTE Expo. There are three jeopardy styled heats at the live event. The three winners of those heats participate in a live configuration event to crown the overall champion.
I have participated in the IP challenge online qualifier for two years. Anyone who has ever done this knows the feeling of clearing the board then waiting for bonuses and tokens. It involves a 24/7 watching and waiting for things to pop up. Let’s just say you’re low on sleep by the end of each round. You have two qualifier events spread out over a month or so. You have to watch and try to score as highly as possible in each round to ensure a spot in the final nine participants. You pass the time chatting with your peers from all areas in the chat and share your experience. The first year I participated I was one of the final 9 but I was unable to attend due to logistics. Last year I was finally able to go to the live event.
The SCTE Expo is exciting for a number of reasons and that is one of the perks of participating in the live event for the Cisco IP Challenge is the free pass. You’re able to meet with your MSOs vendors, see new technology, and best of all network with your peers. This is a good opportunity to find out what is going on at other MSOs and talk shop. The IP Challenge itself is a slightly stressful at least for me. You may know the answers to a question but when you have a small window to answer in front of a crowd it is easy to forget. The live configuration was a lot easier than the Jeopardy round to me because it was things I do on a daily basis and came a little bit easier than answering random networking questions. In the end with knowledge and some luck I came out the overall winner of the Cisco IP Challenge in 2013.
The IP Challenge has given me the opportunity to make new connections and expand my network of peers in my field which is the best part of the entire experience winning or not. The SCTE and Cisco provides a platform for people that may not get recognition on a day to day basis for what they do behind the scenes. I have gained a lot of respect from people at my job, and some recognition. I have had a lot of opportunities to speak at SCTE events on DOCSIS and other topics associated with our field. I was able to have an article published in the SCTE Interval. Overall participating in this event and participating in the SCTE has been on the best decisions I have ever made. I hope to see you all at this year’s event.