Stanley Skarshaug

Bilde © Stanley Skarshaug

Bilde © Stanley Skarshaug

Are you curious about who I am, and what background I have? Well, then you have come to the right page! In this article, you can get some insight into who I am, and what I spend my time doing.

About me

Technical enthusiast - and driven

Ever since I was a child, I have always had an enormous interest and fascination with almost every type of creative discipline. My parents were very encouraging and allowed me to pick everything I owned apart in an attempt to "repair" them. As I grew older, I got my own i386 desktop computer from an uncle running windows 95. This computer was my gateway into a youth filled with an obsession with computers. A 128kb ISDN modem enabled me to connect to the mid 90's internet where every (expensive) minute was spent exploring the internet together with friends.

Much to my parents' delight, my technical interest was also outside the computer. I loved to make things out of wood and metal, making simple tools and modifying electronic gizmos and later car components.


How I try to help the world become a better place

Kodeklubben Molde logo

Kida Koder: Kodeklubben Molde

As a kid, I wanted to learn to program. Unfortunately, I had no one to guide me in a good direction, the internet was not the hub for learning as it is today, and I lacked the proper English skills needed to learn on my own through books. Because of this, I decided in early 2020 that I wanted to help give children the opportunity I dreamt of having by joining the local coding club as a teacher.

In November 2021 took over the leadership role in the code club "Kodeklubben: Kidsa koder Molde". If you want to contribute, please feel free to reach out!


The road to Rome, and beyond?

Despite having a strong passion for IT and electronics I did not choose an education within those disciplines. My choice of high-school education was mechanical vocations. More specifically automation mechanics, the art of building industrial robots. Due to a lot of funny and strange coincidences, I ended up as a refrigeration engineer apprentice. After the apprenticeship was over I moved to Trondheim and completed a 2-year vocational college education in refrigeration system design. Once that education was over I went back to the refrigeration industry working as a project manager, and engineer. Shortly after I started working as a department manager and CEO.

In 2018, while I moving from one job to another, I had to complete a paid non-compete clause. This clause gave me the opportunity to finally take a deep dive into Linux, programming Arduino, Android, and Web applications. In addition, I spent a whole lot of time learning about electronics and radios by building FPV drones and having a blast. When I was not completely geeking out I did spend a lot of time learning more about sociology and psychology. This was a fantastic year of personal growth and development.

After a little under one year as CEO of the new company, I quit my job to follow my dream of becoming a programmer and working in IT. Finally, after about 13 years in the refrigeration industry, I had the courage to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming an IT professional.

I found a company that was crazy enough to hire me, and since then I have been having a blast playing with computers all day long, programming web applications, running cloud servers, and digesting as much as I possibly can.

Parallel to working full-time as a full-stack web developer and sysadmin I have since August 2020 followed the Network- and Information Security program at Noroff Vocational Collage, as a part-time student. Thanks to fantastic colleagues, and a great boss I have had the opportunity to use what I learn during my studies on the job. I think this helps me retain and get a lot deeper understanding of the topics covered during the studies.


Formal IT certifications

As a part of my Network- and Information Security studies I try to get deeper knowledge in all of the classes by reading books that cover certifications that follow a similar path. The reason why I like to follow certification paths is that I think that certification represents a standardized and more quantifiable amount of knowledge gained that school programs sometimes lack.

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Cisco CyberOps Accossiate 200-201


Theoretical basic principles of network and information security. A nice big step beyond CompTIA Security+

"This certification really boosted my confidence in security-related topics."

I learned a lot and could make solid connections between the security theory I learned in school, the networking I learned during CCNA, and my experience as a sysadmin and web developer. As my first cybersecurity-focused certification, I learned many concepts that other learning paths assume previous knowledge and insight about.

This certification really boosted my confidence in security-related topics.

- 15. January 2023

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Cisco CCNA 200-301 (Cisco Certified Network Associate)


Basic, but broad certification in network fundamentals, design, and configuration using Cisco networking equipment.

"This certification made me realize how big and deep networking really is."

Huge, and broad certification that forced me to learn a lot about networking theory, design, and hands-on configuration of Cisco equipment.

I went old-school and built a physical lab, using old cisco equipment, and gradually moved into virtual appliances using "Cisco Packet Tracer" and other lab tools like "Boson NetSim".

This certification made me realize how big and deep networking really is. I also learned a lot about how to perform basic layer 2 and 3 hardening to defend against network attacks.

This was a beast of a certification exam that I'm very proud to have passed. The CCNA was the very first IT certification I passed. During my studies, I learned a lot about how and what makes me learn stuff. This insight has helped me a lot during further studies and will define how I tackle future education and certifications.

- 29. October 2021

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PCEP - Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer


Foundational and thorough certification on foundational Python lexis, syntax, and semantics.

"...great certification exam that tested me on the understanding of foundational Python lexis, syntax, and semantics"

A great certification based on the fantastic PCEP course from The Python Institute. This helped me stay motivated to learn and really understand what makes Python special compared to other programming languages.

This was a great certification exam that tested me on the understanding of foundational Python lexis, syntax, and semantics. The certification exam did not quiz me on pure memorization, but a combination of remembering and understanding how a Python program is written and executed.

- 5. May 2023

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Microsoft AZ-900 (Azure Fundamentals)


A basic introduction to the services offered by Azure, and how to connect on-prem services to azure.

"It was an eye-opener to get first-hand experience on how easy it was to navigate and do stuff in Azure compared to other cloud providers..."

This was a very light and easy-to-follow certification and learning material provided by Microsoft on their own learning platform.

The learning material did an excellent job of covering all the fundamental cloud concepts and terms that are both vendor-neutral, and Azure-specific. It also forced me to get my hands dirty with the basics of the configuration and setup of containers and VMs.

It was an eye-opener to get first-hand experience on how easy it was to navigate and do stuff in Azure compared to other cloud providers like AWS.

- 14. August 2022


Web-based courses to gain insight and knowledge

My hunger for knowledge is strong. Very little makes me happier than learning about new stuff in programming, system administration, system design, and Cyber Security. Below is a list of the three latest courses I have taken.

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Python Essentials - Part 1 (Basics)

- Python Institute - 42t, 0m

A course designed to guide you from complete programming illiteracy to a level of programming knowledge that allows you to design, write, debug, and run programs encoded in the Python language, and to understand the basic concepts of software development technology.

"An absolutely perfect fundamentals course in Python."

An absolutely perfect fundamentals course in Python. Before taking the course I felt confident in Python programming, but this course really filled in the gap I needed to fill and made me generally understand better programming fundamentals.

I have been programming daily for almost for over 5 years, and I still learned from this course.

- 3. May 2023

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Cloud Security

- Tom Drange - 155t, 0m

A course based on the Microsoft AZ-500 Cloud Security certification. The written material provided by was yanked straight from Microsoft and formatted to fit the Noroff LMS layout and structure.

"I'm sad to say that this course felt like a minimum-effort project by Noroff..."

This course was definitely a low point in my learning experience at Noroff. The video lectures had several audio issues, the teacher seemed uninspired, and the written material was hard to retain.

I'm sad to say that this course felt like a minimum-effort project by Noroff, and the way the class was structured made it hard to retain the knowledge. A lot of the topics covered by the written material that was copy-pasted from Microsoft's own website expected previous experience and insight gained from certifications like the AZ-104. My class had not even had a basic introduction to Azure before this class, so we had no foundational knowledge to build upon.

The hard-to-grasp material came at a time when I struggled with study fatigue after more than 2.5 years of hard studying after a full day's work and family life. So the low quality of the learning material only increased the level of fatigue.

The good part of this course that really helped me learn was a collection of labs from Skillable. These labs really helped me get hands-on experience and helped me understand the concepts and methodology in Azure. Unfortunately, these labs were just tacked on as bonus material I started to work my way through during the last week of the course, as an exam cram.

Even though the labs from Skillable were excellent, they were a huge missed opportunity by Noroff that could have been used to really help us retain the material in a much better way by simply using them as bonus assignments mentioned across the material. The course had practical assignments, but they were too few and too short. After all, the AZ-500 is a practical certification and not a theoretical one.

This course, like all other Noroff courses, had two online open-book exams: an essay exam, and a multiple-choice exam. The essay exam had theoretical and practical tasks that challenged our understanding and hands-on skills. But my exam featured a problem that I had to solve that was not covered by the course material, this made me do research during the exam. The exam tasks were also written in a way that felt designed to make me misunderstand them. Both of these issues added unwarranted stress to the exam. The multiple-choice exam featured many questions about tiny details like default encryption algorithms that made me relive trauma from a previous CompTIA certification experience.

All in all, I'm glad this class is in my past... The only thing saving this course from a score of 1/6 was the Skillable labs.

- 12. March 2023

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- Farai Nyandoro-Kunzvi - 213t, 0m

A class covering intermediate Information Security concepts, methodology, and theory. It felt like a natural next step after covering the material in the CompTIA Securiy+ certification.

"This class helped me pass the CyberOps certification, and the certification helped me get a good grade in this class."

I really struggled with motivation in this course. The first half of the course was pure repetition from previous classes, and the second half was unfortunately boring. The instructor-led videos went from being engaging, and enthusiastic in the beginning, to monotone, and to a point where the instructor himself seemed bored at the end. This was unfortunate because the lack of engagement in the video and written material came at a time when I struggled with motivation myself due to study fatigue.

This class provided a very solid foundational level of knowledge about a vast array of cyberdefense topics. It was purely theory-based, but I appreciate this class because I don't think I would be able to force myself to really understand these basics without the desire for a good grade. Fundamentals like the ones covered by this class feels very important.

Since the class covered material very close to the old old Cisco CCNA security class, I decided to spend time studying for the new Cisco CyberoOps Associate certification. This helped me focus less time on the material from Noroff and more time on material from other channels, such as CBT Nuggets, Linked-in learning, and the book. The same week as I took the Noroff Exams, I took and passed the Cisco CyberOps Associate certification exam. This class helped me pass the CyberOps certification, and the certification helped me get a good grade in this class.

The class was estimated to require the students to use 210 hours, spread across 8 weeks of classes and self-study, and 2 weeks of repetition and exam preparation. I ended up spending 213 hours on this class. For reading material, I read through the Cisco CyberOps Associate cert guide by Omar Santos. This was a long, and great book that I really enjoyed reading.

- 15. January 2023

List of all courses I have reviewed

Cyber Security experience

Capture The Flag and daily work

CTFs provide a fun way to learn about Cyber Security, System Administration, and IT in general. They provide a safe and harmless way of testing and gaining experience with tools, techniques, and procedures. I focus my time on TryHackMe because it has proved to be more beginner-friendly and educational than other platforms. In many ways, TryHackMe's gamified learning feels like a real-world role-playing game where I level up my own life.

At work, I try my best to implement what I learn during my Noroff studies and on TryHackMe. If I learn about new concepts that I think would benefit my workplace, I take the initiative and challenge colleagues and management in ways to implement what I have learned.


Interresting books I have read and reviewed

During my studies, I jump from reading the school material, watching video courses, and reading books about the topics. I love video lectures, but I usually gain a deeper understanding of the topics by reading about them in a book. Below is a list of the last books I have read and reviewed.

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The art of clean code

Christian Mayer - 176 sider

Learn eight principles to simplify your code and become a more effective (and successful) programmer.

"This was a fantastic and straightforward book written in a typical self-help book but for programmers trying to become better at their craft."

I don't think the book taught me anything new, but it was a nice mental reset for how I approach programming challenges, structure my day, and structure my code. It represented the Zen of Python (PEP 20) in many ways.

This was a fantastic and straightforward book written in a typical self-help book but for programmers trying to become better at their craft. I truly enjoyed this book on a small vacation trip, where I read it while traveling. It was very easy and entertaining to read. It might seam strange, but this was a tech page-turner!

This is a book I would encourage intermediate programmers and programmers who have some experience but want to take a step back and rebuild a stronger foundation.

19. May 2023

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Grokking Algorithms

Eric Schmidt - 0 sider

A comprehensive introduction to algorithms and data structures. Learn how to use them for programming at all levels

"An excellent audiobook I wish I had heard a long time ago."

This book was a fantastic audiobook that lasted about 3.5 hours. I heard it while spending a Saturday stacking wood at home. I heard it at a time when I felt a bit overwhelmed by the complexity and problem-solving skills involved in data structures and algorithms. Because the book was so well structured I managed to realize how much I actually understood, and it helped me mentally structure the concepts in a much better way. The wey data structures are saved in memory was especially good explained.

An excellent audiobook I wish I had heard a long time ago. I think it would have helped me remove some of the impostor syndrome I felt regarding programming in general. I knew most of the stuff covered, but this book made me really understand it at a deeper level, and make mental connections i lacked.

15. April 2023

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Cisco CyberOps Associate CBROPS 200-201 Official Cert Guide

Omar Santos - 688 sider

The official certification guidebook for the Cisco CyberOps associate certification.

"You could really tell that the author loved to teach, and loved to make the reader understand"

In typical cisco press fashion, this was an excellent book that was easy to read, and easy to understand. You could really tell that the author loved to teach, and loved to make the reader understand. Every topic was very well written, but in many ways expected a CompTIA Security+ and Network+ level of understanding of many of the concepts.

I read through the book once, and felt fairly ready for the certification, after doing some test certifications to spot my weak spots.

30. January 2023

List of all books I have reviewed