I’ve been getting e-mails to write an update on my quest to obtain the CCIE number.
Apologies it has taken over 3 weeks, but I got plunged right into work the very next day I got back to the UK.
After passing my CCIE, I felt like Daniel, who in the Bible was thrown in a lions’ den and miraculously came out alive.
I’ve had my eye on the CCIE for a while (right after I wrote my CCNA in 2001), however I wasn’t motivated enough to go the R&S way, though that was my main experience.
I completed my CCVP in November 2008 and went straight on to write the CCIE Voice Written exam in December 2008.
I started the CCIE Voice Lab pursuit right after passing my written, however it was around the festive period, hence I couldn’t get much done in December.
I kicked off in January trying to learn the technologies.
I spent a huge amount of time watching videos and reading some Cisco docs.
While I don’t recommend reading ALL of the Cisco docs (front-to-back) on the lab kit, I would suggest spending quality time to master certain areas. I remember getting a good grasp on IOS CoR using the Call Manager SRND (though I believe I used CCM v7 SRND).
Another thing I remember doing was learning how to access Cisco docs using the “new” Doc CD (http://www.cisco.com/web/psa/products/index.html) that replaced the UniverCD.
I started out the CCIE journey with 2 good friends, but I soon found that I was alone after they both reviewed their commitments and concluded that they would wait for the Version 3 exams.
After my friends dropped out, I started to spend less time doing online labs cos we used to work through labs together.
This gave me more time to study the technologies and I think it paid off.
Along the way, I met James Key of Blindhog. He became a friend and mentor.
We would setup WebEx sessions on the fly and end up spending hours on the phone going through problems.
There were some areas I had absolutely no clue about which James was able to explain thoroughly.
Another person I met through a CCIE friend was Dharm. In my own eyes, I was ready for CCIE…….well, until I met Dharm.
He gave me access to his kit remotely and also allowed me come over to his place to use the kit.
I met Dharm about 5 weeks to my exam. I knew lots of stuff, but I had no strategy to pass the exam.
He helped breakdown lots of other concepts and I realised I was going to fail despite studying and labbing like a MAD MAN for 4 months.
In my opinion, I think this guy should have a training school 🙂
As I’m writing this, we’re waiting for the result of his own CCIE Voice exam…….I’m sure he’s going to pass!!!!
I flew to San Jose to face the greatest challenge of my life up until now, and came back a VICTOR!!!!
In all, I had about 5 months of solid preparation after my written. Yes I know it sounds crazy……CCIE-In-5-Months 😉
To be honest, I couldn’t tell people I had only prepared for 5 months……they would have thought I was crazy!
One thing I’m still unable to quantify is how much work experience helped me. I believe experience from work really helped me with areas like Call Routing, Gatekeeper and Unity.
If you’re married, with or without kids, you need to appreciate the fact that the CCIE pursuit would in many ways stand between you and your family. It’s very important to have your family’s support and consent before embarking on such a great journey.
All I can say is that I’ve got the MOST supportive wife in the world!!!!!!!!!
Wishing you all the best……God Bless!!!