CWNE Application Review Process with Martin Ericson

by | Sep 10, 2018 | Blog

Are you on the path to CWNE?

CWNP offers Enterprise Wi-Fi certifications for entry-level professionals all the way up to seasoned network experts. But do you know how to navigate the process? Do you know what you need to be doing to get started? Keith sat down with Martin Ericson to talk about the CWNE Application Process, offering tips, advice, and insights.

Want to listen to the interview instead? Go HERE.


Keith Parsons:
Martin, welcome!

Martin Ericson:
Thank you very much, Keith!

Keith Parsons:
I’m glad you gave me a chance to give you a little interview. How long have you been on the CWNE board?

Martin Ericson:
It’s about 1 ½ year now.

Keith Parsons:
Personally, I did it for many years and saw lots and lots of CWNE applications. What is the kind of things that the board of advisors from the CWNE board is looking for in an application? If you were recommending to a new person who is thinking about putting in their application for CWNE, what should they do?

The requirements are listed on the web page for CWNP, we’re actually looking through all of those.

Martin Ericson:
The requirements are listed on the web page for CWNP, we’re actually looking through all of those. There are some very important pieces that mean to be put together. For example, the essays which need writing quality. The problem is that people are sometimes writing topics outside the whole idea. They should be writing about their professional experience and what it did do.When they were attending or being part of a project, sometimes you are seeing that people are explaining Wi-Fi and that’s not really what you should do. They should explain what the problems were. Have they use their skills? Have you solved the problem and documented in a way that is easy to read?

Keith Parsons:
So, on the essay portion, one recommendation and I’ve also read hundreds of these. You don’t need to teach the CWNE board how Wi-Fi works. That’s not the idea of the essay – don’t teach. But we do need to look for the problem and then how did you solve it?

Martin Ericson:
Exactly! Did you use your skills that you learned during you’re a professional career where you started? The best thing you can do is you can pick up topics for the three essays from different areas.

For example, having applications which all about security, is not really what we are looking for. It could be like if you can get one from CWAP like troubleshooting, using a sniffer and another one could be like you resolved a problem and the third one can be like you have some inconsistency every day with clients in getting access to the network. That’s really what we are looking for.

Keith Parsons:
So, three separate problems. Another recommendation I throw in there is we really don’t care what brand it is. Telling us the model numbers of which part doesn’t change the essay at all.

Martin Ericson:
We don’t need to know of a configuration you have to configure, a controller or if you had enough. If they say that you had a problem and you were able to find that bug in the software, but you don’t need to know exactly how we configured all the VLANs and all that stuff.

Keith Parsons:
So, from a length standpoint, a lot of people who don’t write normally are a little afraid of what you’re expecting 20-page reports or something?

Martin Ericson:
I think a two-page report is good. It could be longer if you include pictures and diagrams because those explains a lot of what the problem may be. But, they had to be from the problem area and it has to be like a snap.

So what color screen snapshots from what they probably were seeing. If you are doing some kind of analyzing stuff, we need to see the trace in a bit marks where you did see the problem. Then, it could be bigger, but we don’t need to have there like a full big topology of the customer website or something like that.

Keith Parsons:
I’m just remembering some of the monsters we’ve had to review.  It’s not like a test, you don’t take a test to become a CWNE, you have to submit this application.

Martin Ericson:
For example, I’m looking into their CV. Where have they been working? And what kind of things had they done before? So I’d like to see that they have been in a position where they have worked in environments which are professional or on the enterprise level.

I don’t really look into spelling errors because that sometimes is acceptable, but I don’t really like that they are using terms which are incorrect or do some bad things like picking up or writing a topic which you don’t really understand.

Maybe that’s something they want to mention what security might, but it was made all wrong. So I really like applicants to go through their writing style a little bit and try to figure out if there was a user spell checker. If you are not English native speaking person and don’t write in a fancy academic way, write on your normal language.

Keith Parsons:
Write like you talk. One of the things that come along with the application is some letters of recommendation from others. We tried hard to encourage people to get other CWNEs to fill out those recommendations. It’s not a hard requirement but for my time on the board, it made it much easier to know another CWNE person personally.

So when you’re evaluating those recommendations, what kind of recommend or are you looking for?

Martin Ericson:
I personally like a little bit blending or it could have at least one of the recommendations to come from someone else with the professional level or violence exams like a Cisco or CWNE exam. But, I would like to see that someone in your organization who should not really be your manager should be some of your colleges which has done the same process.

Team worker that maybe say some good words about you. I’m not really sure about customers but if you have some big nice customer, which have made some big recommendation for you as a skilled person, that could be included also. But maybe not 3 of your HR people shouldn’t probably sign this document.

Keith Parsons:
Three of your best friends!

Martin Ericson:
I’m not really happy with that either. I mean I know there’s a problem. I think we need to improve to really build some mentorship stuff.

Keith Parsons:
How do you see mentors in our industry? Is it something that’s organic or doesn’t need to be organized? Obviously, you’ve seen many CWNE applications coming across your desk, some of which you’re pretty obviously had a mentor and others not.

When someone asks you, how do you tell or how do you answer them? How do I find a mentor?

Martin Ericson:
I haven’t got that question more than once and what I did though is I pointed them to Ronald Van Kleunen’s website where he has a list of older CWNE across the world. I would like people to try to find a mentor. Maybe someone who owned or someone who’s trying to take the same exam as you. You can work in teams.

Keith Parsons:
Very good! Do you have to be in the same country?

Martin Ericson:
No! I had some guy from France who wanted to have assistants and there is LinkedIn. There are some study groups you can attend and that’s another way to to get your questions answered.

You can use the CWNP forums and ask questions. But you really should try to get some help. If the mentorship could be outside the board, that will be excellent. There are too few of us in some countries. We are only 24 in Europe and across 40 countries, so it’s not easy.

I have seen some a lot of applications of CWNE where instructors in the US are signing up. Of course, they have learned the students in the class and they know that they are on a professional level. That’s what we were doing it.

Keith Parsons:
I think Ronald Van Kleunen that are out of Southeast Asia is doing a very good job in working and getting together at CWNP. Together we can have a chance to talk and visit each other.

Martin Ericson:
Seem people are really enjoying it.

Keith Parsons:
Another part of the CWNE application process is being published and some people are stressed about – I don’t have a blog! Am I supposed to have a blog? Am I supposed to do videos? What kind of things count toward that publication?

Martin Ericson:
I think it’s not best for people to be stressed because there’s a lot of varieties that you can do. You can write a blog, but that takes a lot of time and you shouldn’t put up a blog just for this purpose.

I think it’s not best for people to be stressed because there’s a lot of varieties that you can do.

Keith Parsons:
No! You should put up a blog because you put up a blog. You need it for yourself. It’s not just about this.

Martin Ericson:
But, there are some areas you see as blocks with just one article and that’s not good.

Keith Parsons:
If they’re in that situation and you don’t want to do the hassle of a blog organization, there are lots of blogs that exist in the wireless land community today and almost every one of them would be glad to take a guest blogger. So, you don’t have to do the work. All you have to do is write the blog article.

Martin Ericson:
But, for example, if you have written some internal documents like your light paper for explaining for your helpdesk and Wi-Fi works, something like that.

Keith Parsons:
Or Internal videos, that some people say their internal training videos were not released. So, one of the things people are worried about is if they share personal or company information in their application. It’s gonna sent everywhere and yet the board’s job is not to send those on.

Martin Ericson:
No, they don’t! Believe me, I do basically race them afterward. I keep their application so I know my judgment. But the basic stuff that I wrote, I don’t need it anymore.

Keith Parsons:
Basically?

Martin Ericson:
There are some cases that the applicant has erased and that’s fine. You can use the company name or something.

Keith Parsons:
The company’s name really doesn’t matter.

Martin Ericson:
But if you are presenting at a trade show or whatever you are doing and if you have an internal PowerPoint that you are distributing to your customers then if you are unsure, just send Tom Carpenter an email and ask if this is okay to use.

Keith Parsons:
I’ve rarely seen anything it wasn’t okay to use, so it shouldn’t be a difficult choice. In fact, some people stress over the entire application process, but each individual piece isn’t much.
One recommendation is if you’re taking your professional level exams, start on your application early. Don’t wait till you’re finished. You can have the application totally complete and just wait for the last exam.

Martin Ericson:
Exactly! It doesn’t matter if it takes you one year to write the application as long as it was finished on the last day before your last exam. Otherwise, you will get stressed and you forgot what you’re doing.

It doesn’t matter if it takes you one year to write the application as long as it was finished on the last day before your last exam. Otherwise, you will get stressed and you forgot what you’re doing.

Keith Parsons:
It’s a great idea you should be writing those essays as they happen so you have a cool project. What would you say to someone who’s thinking about becoming a CWNE, what’s the one thing they could do to help the process along?

Martin Ericson:
One thing that I found personally, is to schedule an exam. If you don’t schedule it, you’re gonna just postpone it, that puts in something in-between and it will delay the process.

Keith Parsons:
Very good! Thank you for your advice, Martin! Thanks for your time today!


Martin Ericson is a CWNT Trainer, CWNE#148 and WiFi Consultant, Ekahau Master and owner of VoFi Pro. – a CWNP Learning Partner.

If you have questions or feedback, connect with Martin via Twitter


Go HERE to listen to the interview.