Chapter 2: A Tale of Two
Engineers

Your CCIE Lab
Success Strategy
The Non-Technical Guide
Book
By
Dean Bahizad CCIE 18887 (R&S, SP)
VivekTiwari CCIE 18616 (R&S, SP)

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two
Engineers

Copyright
Your CCIE Lab Success Strategy The Non-Technical Guidebook, Copyright of M.M.D.D. Multimedia LLC.
Cover copyright M.M.D.D. Multimedia LLC.
© 2012 M.M. D.D. Multimedia LLC. Donna Menna and Vivek Tiwari, Northville, Ml
contact@2doubleccies.com
All rights reserved. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws
and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying,
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author / publisher. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts or brief quotations in
a review.

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This book "YOUR CCIE LAB SUCCESS STRATEGY THE NON-TECHNICAL GUIDEBOOK" and
information herein are provided "as is," without any warranties or representations, express, implied or
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Cisco.

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two
Engineers

Praise for "Your CCIE Lab Success Strategy"
Kenya Thomas, CCSI#34027
"A behind the scenes guide on how to obtain your Cisco CCIE from two double CCIE's. No bull. No hype.
Just the absolute truth about what it takes to become a CCIE. An absolute must have for anyone serious about
pursuing their CCIE certification. Unlike anything else in the market! (Their preparation timelines alone are
worth the price of the book). Get it now!"

Benjamin T. Parrish. CCIEff 11435
"There are business resources and practices that make the act of preparing for the CCIE easier, or even
possible. The thought process that this book outlines, assists with those aspects which we, as technical folks,
often don't consider."

Glenn Shamnack. CCIE Candidate
"This amazingly easy to read book provides the non-technical insight needed to pass the CCIE lab exam. I
recommend anyone pursuing a CCIE to read it before beginning lab exam preparation and closely follow the
do's, don'ts, and the timeline."

TahirAwan. CCIE812680
"The book flows perfectly. A great behind the scenes look at the CCIE experience! Dean and Vivek have put
forth the CCIE mind-set in an eloquent way. A master piece."

Sun-Lv Du. CCIE Candidate

"This book leads you straight to the point, and the powerful strategies make the difference between a pass or
fail in the CCIE lab. This book really gave me a clear timeline to prepare for my CCIE."

What other reviewers have said:





The advice that is found in this book is not found in any CCIE book!
After reading this book I feel that CCIE is within my reach.
This unique book covers the much needed non-technical aspects of CCIE lab exam preparation.
This type of mentorship from two CCIEs is priceless.
This book lets me know when I am ready for the Lab exam.
I will most certainly use this book for my second CCIE!

Vivek has been working in Inter-networking industry for more than fifteen years. operations. as well as multinational conglomerate corporations. and has been working with networks for more than fifteen years. and precise manner. management and customer relations. consulting for many Fortune 100 organizations. Vivek is currently engaged in consulting work for public sector. the respect and admiration of colleagues and customers alike. such as CRS1/CRS3. as well as a recognized leader.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers About The Authors Vivek Tiwari CCIE # 18616 (Routing and Switching and Service Provider) Vivek Tiwari holds a Bachelor's degree in Physics. As an Educational Specialist. Bayan Dean Bahizad CCIE # 18887 (Routing and Switching and Service Provider) Dean Bahizad has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Engineering Honors) degree. MBA and many certifications from multiple vendors including Cisco's CCIE. His five plus years of service with Cisco's Advanced Services has gained him. Dean has worked on financial institutions. If you have been in one of his classes you will know why people say you can laugh and learn at the same time. These include service providers. . Dean's talent is evident in his customer engagement. as the ability to deliver complex technologies in a simple. Dean has been with Cisco for the five plus years as a Consulting Engineer and Educational Specialist for both segments 1 Accounts and Service Providers. With double CCIE on R&S and SP track under his belt he mentors and coaches other engineers. His experience includes and not limited to network architecture. clear. automotive. CRS Multi-Chassis and ASR platform. which made him a sought after coach & mentor. training. manufacturing. His experience includes working on complex global networks as a Network Consulting Engineer for many fortune 100 companies. Dean has travelled around the globe in five continents and has worked closely with many Tier 1 Service Providers on training and deploying high-end equipment. and Service Provider segment.

We thankfully acknowledge the helpful review and suggestions from: Kenya Thomas Tahir Awan Sun-Ly Du Glenn Sharpnack Charlie Ball Benjamin Parrish We also want to extend our gratitude to Daria. coffee. Nadia. You offer great encouragement and I would not be where I am without all of the blessings that the Almighty has bestowed upon my family and me. Dean Bahizad: I would like to dedicate this to my entire family who has supported me through all of the ups and downs of life.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Acknowledgements We would like to thank Donna Menna. teachings and blessings have been the invisible hand guiding me forward all my life. we would like to thank everyone else who assisted and encouraged us with this work. Daria Karimian and Avantika Tiwari for their help with the final editing. To Anisa and Ariana who bring joy and love into my life each and every day. food and friendship for all those long days and nights we were working on this book. Mateen and Ben Karimian for their hospitality and endless supply of tea. A special thanks to my best friend and soulmate who has been there throughout this entire journey. Lastly. Dedication: Vivek Tiwari: I would like to dedicate this book to my parents and my in-laws. Your inspiration. our editor for converting our engineer-speak into an understandable and printable language. We would also like to give a special thank you to Neeka Karimian. Bahi. Neeka. .

We have created this unique book to discuss the non-technical aspects of the CCIE lab. some get sidetracked or discouraged. we realized an important element (the nontechnical aspects) was missing in all of the training material. After we completed two different CCIE lab certification tracks. this is due to the non-technical aspects. we have seen CCIE candidates approach the lab exam just like any other exam. . and enable mankind to benefit therefrom. Here are a few common scenarios that we have seen. This certification not only proves your technical prowess but also adds prestige to your resume. more than half of the engineers who passed the written exam did not pass the lab exam. who is either considering taking on the CCIE challenge. until now. In our experience. Education can. Due to the enormity of this exam. It has been stated that over the past ten years. In many instances.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers INTRODUCTION A Wiseman once said. We want to tell you at the outset that we are engineers just like you. cause it to reveal its treasures. It may increase your salary. and for the ones who attempted the lab it took at least three attempts to pass the CCIE lab." This book was written in order for you to become empowered and to understand what lays ahead in your CCIE journey. and provide job security in today's environment. and because of that. It is for those who have failed the lab and it is for those who already have a CCIE and are considering pursuing another CCIE track. alone. This book is for anyone. or has passed the written portion of the exam. To start off let us explain what is CCIE? The Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) is an elite certification and is recognized worldwide as the top certification in networking. This element has not been taught anywhere. Some say this is the doctoral of networking and for many of us who have attempted or have gone through this journey can testify to this fact. this book is short and to the point. "Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value.

you may get overwhelmed and stop studying altogether. along with real life examples. Scenario 3: For your specific CCIE track you may purchase training lab books which may have 20. these and many other pitfalls are addressed in this book. We can keep on going with many more scenarios. The sheer number of books you have to read tells you that this is difficult. you realize that you are not fully prepared and so you postpone scheduling the CCIE lab.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Scenario 1: You plan and set a target date for scheduling your CCIE lab and start studying very hard. After reading three or four books you realize that you have already started to forget things from the first book. . you are always busy and have many responsibilities. How to effectively utilize your training provider's resources. 30 or even 40 labs to choose from. You setup the lab using simulators. This book addresses the gradual step-by-step processes you should follow in order to succeed and understand the lab. We will give you guidelines on how to maximize your studying efficiency later on in this book. This guidebook gives you the strategies that have been successfully used by us for both our CCIEs. You soon realize that although you know the answers. you still do not understand why a particular task was completed in a specific manner. This may cause you to postpone or give up on your CCIE quest. After doing this a couple of times you stop trying. As you complete more and more of these labs you recognize there are many gaps in your knowledge and you have to start fresh by reading up on technologies. Scenario 4: You are a great engineer and are on top of your game. scheduling and planning study time while having a full time job is the roadblock. We tell you: • • • • The three essential keys to unlock your success. and how to use them This is another non¬technical aspect. and share our own stories. When this happens. You can spare two or three weeks max so you decide to take a one week CCIE boot camp from a leading training provider and schedule your lab two weeks after that. The problem in this scenario is that the candidate has many gaps in his or her knowledge. As you approach your target date. You need to be very specific about what training resources to use. In this scenario. the labs become more daunting. Both of these are non-technical reasons that we will tackle in this book. Either the date is too aggressive or you are not able to devote as much time for studying. The problem in this scenario is that you need to change the way you prepare and study for the CCIE Lab. Because of this. a luxury you don't find yourself having. By jumping into the labs without proper planning and preparation. The problem in this scenario is that your target date is not planned well. you realize that you need much more time to study. The necessary preparation to start your hands-on labs. for example DYNAMIPS or GNS3 to practice with. The four step process that will help when using Video on Demand. This leaves you with very little time for studying. and we tell you how to get around that. After completing the course. Scenario 2: You start preparing after reading the Lab blueprint.

no-nonsense picture of what it will take to get your CCIE. His little legs ached and he complained to his grandmother and asked her to carry him up the mountain. it is important before heading to bed. At times. These strategies have worked for us twice. We are here to give you the straightforward. His grandmother lovingly encouraged him to not look at how much further he had to go. and we are confident that they will help you in your endeavor too. We will be mentoring you through a step by step process and provide answers to the questions you will have on your journey to this demanding certification. but you need to be in control and rationalize the purpose behind this undertaking. and not hard set rules to help you succeed in your CCIE lab. you may feel overwhelmed. Once you follow our guidelines and decide on what path to take. but to just keep climbing. Five sample timelines for preparing for your CCIE. This simple gesture will prepare you for the next day and get you started on the right foot. We recognize that CCIE is usually a twelve month project that you need to break down into daily activities and goals. Use these suggestions to suit your specific needs. For example. He lived in the mountainous region of Roccamorice. This reminds me (Dean) of a story that my Italian father in-law told me on our occasional long walks. you need to break it down into smaller manageable chunks. The goal is to get a CCIE but what you need to realize is that every fifteen minutes counts and can bring you one step closer. you spend five to ten minutes of your time reflecting on what you did for that day and write down your plan for the next day. How you can do all of this.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers • • • • How to speed up learning using a partner. "What can I do in the next fifteen minutes to help with my daily goal?" This question changes the way you look at things. This guidebook will give you an inside view of CCIE Lab preparation. Thus the question that you should be asking yourself is. your sole job is to be persistent and aggressively pursue a plan. If you have a huge task which is outside of your comfort zone. and work full time. yet they will make a huge difference once you implement them rather than just attempting the lab exam. without looking at the distance that you have travelled or the long road ahead. Remember these are suggestions. What we have written is advice that we gave to others about our CCIE experience. Put your head down. namely chopping down CCIE into fifteen minute intervals. It contains short concise chapters that will not take away your study time. The Do's and Don'ts for your CCIE lab preparation. All of the chapters in this book are suggestions based on our successful personal experiences. you are at the summit. and had to climb the mountain for his daily chores. watch where you are going and before you know it. . Some ideas in this book may sound deceivingly simple. This book is easy to follow. Italy.

5. especially if you do seriously decide to go for your CCIE number. 24 hours a day doesn't seem like nearly enough time. or even those who have just considered obtaining it—you invariably hear some or all of the following comments: 1. In those instances. those who have failed to obtain it. In writing this book. you are obviously considering the CCIE lab exam. it will give you something to refer to in the future. 1 . I failed my exam because of a bug in the IOS. Are all of these comments true? Of course not. Just a frank conversation from one engineer to another. or wonder why you are working so hard. In spite of that. list them as well. No exaggeration. 7. This list will help you isolate your reasons. The CCIE exam is very difficult and designed for you to fail. I failed my exam because the hardware was faulty. 10. It is a lot of work. When talking to other engineers about CCIE—whether it is those who have obtained it. I failed my exam because the test evaluation is flawed. 2. Only a small percentage of candidates even pass the CCIE lab exam. You must focus on CCIE and nothing else. 6. some of the above statements are made by individuals to justify why they are not CCIE's. When studying for the CCIE exam. you can return to this list to remind yourself of the benefits. and even solidify them in your own mind. CCIE certification is not worth the time and money it takes to earn it. If you can think of more. or lose focus. 9. requiring untold hours of study and sacrifice over an extended period of time (usually eight to twelve months).Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Chapter 1 : Do you Really Want To Be a CCIE ? Since you are reading this. Take out a piece of paper. Because there will be times where you feel discouraged. 8. More importantly. No sugarcoating. (Not true) 3. why? Ask yourself that. we wanted to inform you on what to expect in the simplest terms. do you still want to be a CCIE? If your answer is "yes". then list at least the top five reasons in the space we have provided on the next page. if you need to. 4. You must be rich to take the CCIE exam because it is ridiculously expensive. Obtaining a CCIE number is definitely a formidable task.

2. When talking to them. 5. 4. and if you were to ask them "what are the most important qualities a successful candidate must possess?" they will almost invariably say a positive attitude and an unwavering commitment. 2 . They are proud of their achievement. but they also agree that the results are worth it.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Your Top-Five Reasons for Becoming a CCIE 1. Those who have become CCIEs agree that the exam takes a lot of work and a serious commitment. they may describe some of the difficulties they encountered. but they will also explain how they were able to work around them. 3.

and passed it easily. in fact. financial. He believed he was doing so well with them. other obligations—familial. He was also never afraid to ask questions. which engineer do you think has become a CCIE? Hint: Charlie does not need to and will not read this book unless I ask him to. we encouraged him to attend a CCIE lab boot camp. As you may have guessed. not the kind who simply absorbs brain dumps in order to pass the exam. but he was certainly CCIE material. He was intelligent. He confided in me that the exam opened his eyes and made him realize just how much harder he had to work for it. We encouraged him to continue his study. curious. he VPN’d into the lab. but. but the failure had taken its toll on his confidence. I thought this would be a short. routers. but his thirst for knowledge was unquenchable. He worked hard. to our surprise. He had a great attitude towards learning. more and more often. As the date of his lab exam approached. Even on his days off. He went on to buy other books. To protect their identities.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 2: A TALE OF TWO ENGINEERS Before we delve any deeper into this book. I pointed him towards CCNA. and. Two weeks before his scheduled CCIE written exam date. and occupational— began to compete for his time. and even scrounged up an old book on the subject that I had lying around. He listened to me as intently as he could while dismantling my laptop and replacing the broken keyboard. While repairing it. five-minute conversation. and began peppering the other engineers in my group with questions. and joined our team. When he was finished. has not. and an experienced engineer. and inquisitive. He worked really hard. He impressed all of us during his job interview. he leapt right into the CCIE practice labs. and felt discouraged. that he decided to take the actual CCIE lab exam the following month. When he joined our team. how much more he had to study. he was working toward his CCNP. I answered him as well as I could. he asked me about my role in the company. and possessed a great depth of knowledge. and even offered any guidance or assistance that he needed. he requested two weeks off in order to prepare for it. We all assured him that failing a first attempt at the exam is not at all unusual. and switches. He continued to study. He achieved his CCNP within months. he was given paid time off to prepare for it. 3 . he was most interested to find out what issues and challenges we had faced in our own CCIE-level labs. Charlie (Engineer 1) is a young guy in his 30s in the desktop support group. but met Charlie again about two years later. He became a CCNA in about four months—a real CCNA. and even take precedence. Satisfied by his success. Was he a CCIE? I’ll let you guess. I told him about LAN and WAN technologies. As he progressed toward his CCNP. He started studying for it immediately. Andy (Engineer 2) was also a young guy in his 30s. that. Looking at these two examples. He failed. I moved on from the company. but he was very curious. I met him only because I broke my laptop keyboard and he came to my desk with a replacement. he would often stay overnight working on whatever problems we had posed to him. I (Vivek) want to tell you a true story about two engineers I know. while Andy. and came back asking questions. a year and a half later. sticking around every day after office hours to study and practice his labs. We let him loose in our lab in the evenings. and it went on for over half an hour. that he asked him to try for his CCIE. it usually takes two or three attempts. Charlie went on to pass his exam. which he did. I have changed a few personal references and altered events slightly. He went home and read the book. and our boss was so impressed with his performance and dedication.

but not as often. and work—but some of them were internal. He continued to study. ours and our colleagues—men and women with many different skill sets. Perhaps his goal had even begun to seem unattainable. Charlie got his CCIE within three years. He had not let anything get in his way. One of the biggest factors to his success. but he let other factors get in the way. and many variations of it. perseverance. We wanted to help you avoid some of these common obstacles to achieving your CCIE. Charlie had spent so much time studying. Perhaps you are thinking that Andy will be able to identify himself by our description. What I heard was an astonishing story of dedication. friends.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Andy. In the meantime. Some of these factors were external—obligations to family. was an ideal environment. After learning of his success. Something else always seemed to come up. besides a nearly all-consuming commitment. Failing his first lab exam had taken a serious toll on his confidence. I sought out some of my old colleagues and inquired about Charlie. and a big blow to my ego because I had more experience and it had taken me much longer. and from many different countries—and we hope that you will learn as much from it as you will from any technical book that you may have purchased. 4 . many times over the years. study habits. It was like something out of a book or a movie. He had to buy a whole new set of updated training materials. and learn an entirely new set of topics. on the other hand. will in all likelihood read this book because it will help him overcome some of the obstacles to getting his CCIE. He had unfettered access to lab equipment and actual CCIE engineers who were eager to assist him and answer his questions anytime he asked. and continuous improvement. Andy even had the benefit of a company-sponsored boot camp and paid time-off to study. Unfortunately. also had access to equipment and engineers. he suffered another major setback—the blue-print of the lab exam changed. This book is the distillation of many years of experience. Andy. That is why we wanted to write this book. this could not be farther from the truth. We have seen it. End result: he is still not a CCIE! Both of these engineers were intelligent and decided that they wanted to become CCIEs. he had learned as much in three years as I had in seven or eight. in other words. Stories like his are all too common. But Charlie had perseverance and an unwavering commitment. which was a remarkable feat. not even failure.

We were working for Cisco at the time and had access to a lot of CCIEs. focused individuals who tend to fixate only on the technical aspects of certification. Nonetheless. if any. the eight-hour CCIE Lab format is different for R&S as compared to Voice or Security. and some of them were the authors of their own books. two-day format. we talk about the technical and the non-technical aspects. Some of the engineers we met had three. and inspiring many other candidates in their quest for certification. We have seen some engineers pass their CCIE lab exam in as little as three months. We peppered them with questions. we also realize that each individual has a different approach to learning. While studying for our own CCIEs as well as talking to. However. We are simply writing about what worked for us and what resonated most with our fellow engineers.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 3: WHY THIS BOOK When we began our quest for the coveted CCIE number. We even interviewed some CCIEs who'd taken the exam in the original. 5 . resources for this information. Being surrounded by these accomplished individuals left us inspired and motivated. We challenged each other and competed to see who would get to the goal first. sometimes even five CCIE certification's. tutoring. We also understand that. Whenever we are asked about our CCIE experience. both in our local team and extended teams. For instance. we suggest that after the basic background work. the non-technical aspects are valued more. and seven months to obtain our second. and others pass it in eighteen to twenty-four months. Consider this more of a guidebook than an infallible set of rules to follow. and. from our experience and interviews with a number of other certified engineers. We encourage you to adapt this text to best suit your needs and style of learning. we heard many of the statements in "Chapter 1: Do You REALLY Want To Be a CCIE?" Some of them were from engineers who actually achieved their CCIE. almost invariably. trying to learn their strategies for success This book represents that cumulative experience and information. We also had the opportunity to work with other CCIEs on projects. We wanted to be a part of this elite group of men and women who hailed from five continents and scores of countries. and had multiple CCIE certification's for many years. It took Dean and I (Vlvek) about eleven months to obtain our first CCIE. This is the only book available that fills that non-technical gap. so challenging each other in this way worked well for us. you should be able to attain your CCIE in less than a year (See: Chapter 37: Suggested Timelines for CCIE Preparation). but many of them were from those who had either failed the test. I got my first CCIE before Dean. four. We are both very competitive individuals. This timeline is only a rough estimate. but he beat me to the second. The problem is that CCIE engineers are highly intelligent. or never attempted to take it in the first place. architectural designs and troubleshooting issues. In our experience. we noticed that the non-technical side of the CCIE lab exam is just as important as the technical side. the strategies in this book are still applicable and you can easily adjust them according to your needs. we realized that there were very few. They were very proud of their four-digit CCIE number. as of writing this book.

You've got to put best practices aside. then called me. All of the CCIEs we've met are just good engineers. and that I would help him. and implement strategies under pressure has a direct influence on your results. I have been in the internetworking industry since the days of ARCNET. That CCIE number is now theirs for life. You don't have to concern yourself with scalability of the network or stress-test with traffic. worked hard for it. The problem is. nothing more. I remember one time Dean was working on one of the full. I thought that. eight-hour practice labs and got stuck about five hours into it. many engineers restrict their mindset to real-world solutions. firmly and indignantly. He called me again 6 . For example. that he was not giving up. so every time we suffered a setback or a failure (and we had many). it's a lab. experience. as usual. definitely challenging. I've also met many other engineers. they would never consider trying a different encoding on a serial link or redistributing BGP into their IGP. and talent." So I told him not to give up. and nothing less. all of the CCIEs we talked to told us we would have to work very hard. despite their obvious intelligence. who could not get a CCIE. there must be something more. "Uh-oh!" I thought.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 4: CCIE IS DIFFICULT BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE How difficult is it? This is the question I (Vlvek) am asked most often. and then called him an irritating— and unrepeatable—name. Indeed. for a very long time. No one can take it away from them. plan. This told me that the CCIE lab couldn't just be about knowing the technologies involved. equally brilliant. What We Did (by Vivek) We understood early on that there is no shortcut to get a CCIE number. I've met many top-notch engineers who were able to get their CCIEs. "I pushed him too hard. which upset him. He informed me. I listened to his tale. but just could not make it work. but certainly not impossible. He got quiet. I just couldn't figure out how they failed the exam. and then hung up. This isn't a real production network. Remember. it does not have to work in the real world. They too make mistakes and learn from them. and maintained a laser-like focus on it until they reached their goal. My answer is always the same: It is difficult. which was before Ethernet—in short. perhaps. He grew frustrated. From my interactions with many of them. But sometimes you need to think outside of the box in order to solve any given task. I can say from personal experience that the way you think. because that just isn't done on real networks. What makes them different is that they took up this challenge. I knew that they had a command of whatever technology they dealt with and great work experience. He spent about an hour troubleshooting. like you and me. it just has to work in the lab. we realized that they were just a part of the process and redoubled our efforts. those who failed simply knew too much and interpreted the questions in an entirely different way than the test intended.

I said. Puzzled. You either give it total commitment. he would have given up. and pass. then worked through the night to complete the lab. he'd rested for two hours. "If you don't know what the problem was. 7 . or you don't. how did you solve it?" Dean laughed and said that he'd just started all over again from scratch. The CCIE is an all-or-nothing proposition. Apparently. saying that he had completed the practice lab. and that he did not ever want to hear me call him that name again. For the record. and proved to himself that he could succeed. and fail. They gave him the boost of confidence needed to continue working toward his CCIE. and that it went smoothly the second time. Those eighteen hours made a huge difference. I suppose it could be said that he did not actually solve his original problem. Had I not called him that unrepeatable name.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers about four in the morning. I asked him what the problem had been and he said he didn't know. He'd been able to conquer his idea of giving up. and was later able to isolate the particular issue that had plagued him during this lab. Dean had gotten into the habit of saving all of those non-working lab configurations. but he didn't need to.

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 5: INVESTING IN CCIE CERTIFICATION Pay the Piper But Don't Mortgage the House There is a saying: you have to make a large investment to get a great return. People always ask us if the CCIE was worth our investment.S. however. When planning financially for your CCIE lab. The CCIE. It will enable you to command a larger salary. Below is a short list of expenses you should keep in mind while making your decision on whether or not to pursue your CCIE or when estimating the costs of it. Feel free to add or subtract items according to your situation and expectations. even though getting your CCIE may be much cheaper than getting your bachelor's degree. and not all of them are financial.000 and $60. and certainly allow you to move up in your career path.000 and four years of your life to obtain a bachelor's degree. a bachelor's degree is essential. such as Video on Demand and/or Audio on Demand Instructor-led classes or boot camps CCIE lab examination fees Air travel and hotel expenses for attempting the lab CCIE related reference books CCIE lab simulation hardware and software Rack rental or equipment costs This list is by no means comprehensive. On the other hand. that we are not advocating getting your certification instead of a bachelor's degree. and in great demand. 1. and we always say "yes". Getting your CCIE may seem expensive. We're simply comparing the costs and the relative value added. its partners particularly and 8 . at least in part. you could be looking at spending anywhere between $20.000 and $10. 5. there are substantial costs associated with it and it's very important to plan your approach and create a budget. On the contrary. 6. though. you'll see that it's actually not as expensive. the return on investment for your CCIE may be substantially greater. Consider it a rough guide to the overall expenses you can expect. but it will also bring you much recognition from your peers. CCIE lab training resources. plan for at least two or three attempts. Think about it. but because failure on the first or second attempt is all-too-common. Having a bachelor's degree and a CCIE is an ideal combination. Many companies (Cisco. Now. but if you compare it to getting a bachelor's degree at a U. depending on how many times you have to take the test. without hesitation.000 and only one year of your life. getting your CCIE may cost you between $5. 4. 7. in this day and age. The good news is that the CCIE is one certification many companies are willing to pay for. 3. Depending on the university or college you choose. Indeed. and I(Dean> don't want you to have to abandon all of your hard work and sacrifices due to financial issues. I'm not saying this to discourage you. 2. You should also make it your mission to find out your company's policy concerning their employee's continuing education and elite certification programs. and how many distractions you can avoid. does offer many great advantages. It should be noted. school.

and so is the potential that one of them will sponsor your efforts. are required to have CCIEs on staff. Dean and I both worked for Cisco when we completed our CCIEs. both of us always set aside 7 to 10% of our salaries towards continuing education. Be sure to have your manager advocate your case to his or her superiors. only some of them. it has its pros and cons.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Service Providers) offer financial assistance for CCIE lab attempts. You may have to make a case to your company as to why they should invest their money into your enterprise. but we actually know an engineer that did this. we estimated all of our costs and were committed to moving forward. In some cases. there are many hidden resources and policies within any organization that you may not even be aware of. Do not make any final decision on it until you've exhausted all other possibilities. you should outline all of the benefits the company will see with a certified engineer on staff. and all Cisco Gold and Silver Partners. Often. Do not make this move unless you have absolutely no other options and the rewards are completely worth the risk to you. This means that the demand for CCIEs is great. in others. and there are hundreds of other avenues available that you should seriously consider before you even entertain the idea of mortgaging your home. Remember. Before we began the endeavor. but just like any other investment. 9 . Check the continuing education budget to see if certification falls within that category or subcategory. and even company rewards and a recognition letter to you and your department executive. We have given you plenty of options in this chapter. the squeaky wheel gets the grease. travel costs. they may cover all of the costs. even if it meant we would have to make multiple attempts. your company provides. A good friend told me years ago that you have to start looking at certification as a business and sell it as such. In these instances. CCIE is a very good investment. This may sound like a no-brainer. Talk to your manager and your HR manager and find out what's available. What We Did (by Vivek) For the record. Many large service providers. and Cisco did provide an incentive for those of us who pursued certification. Explore all avenues. It's up to you to find out which. Make your intentions known. Despite that. but also time off for studying. Lastly. you may receive not just all of the lab expenses incurred. if any. If you do it right. I'd like to insist that you do not mortgage your house in order to pay for your CCIE.

account managers. In short. You will also see a spike in productivity. hard-won status.000 to $140. depending on their experience. On the off-chance that you are laid off. Your business cards will carry the CCIE logo. and will be expected to play a pivotal role. with unemployment at near-record levels. With your new. Pre-sales engineers. Suddenly. 10 . the organization for which they work. offer attractive rewards for those who obtain a CCIE. You've learned so much from studying for the CCIE that there are usually few engineers around you who will have as much current knowledge. as more and more customers seek out your opinion.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 6: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GET YOUR CCIE? What Should I Expect? Getting your CCIE means instant credibility. and you can expect your colleagues to invite you to lunch or to dinner in order to solicit your professional opinion.S. such as Cisco and Cisco Partners. CCIEs in the U. and overall confidence. During tough economic times. people will not hesitate to bring their network problem to you. you become an expert in your group. Your name will appear in presentations that the sales force uses to sell partner services. Evidence for this can be seen in our most recent economic collapse. All of this really means that you will have much greater job satisfaction. Many companies. you will be their crowning jewel. and you will be busier than ever. there was still a strong demand for skilled CCIEs. You will become well known in your organization. you will most likely be rehired immediately by a competitor. If you are in pre-sales or sales. Now. as well as your CCIE number. and even Directors of Sales may seek your input and recommendations as well. When you talk. if you work for a Cisco partner. Finally. While the United States and the world in general went through its toughest economic condition since the Great Depression.000 annually. You will be selling more. which means more money. Your understanding of different technologies gives you a large arsenal of tools with which to design networks and troubleshoot problems in a faster and more reliable way. can easily earn in the range of $100. CCIEs are usually the last to go. and. you will realize that you have much more confidence when suggesting changes to current and future network designs. city of residence. and each and every task you accomplish after that will only add to your fame. In short. you will notice that your opinion carries more weight. you will no longer have to worry about job security. when corporations start cutting back their workforce. That is because organizations try their hardest to hold onto their most talented technical people. They won't have any reservations about granting you absolute access to their most secure networks. of course. others will listen. you will be instantly transformed from a trained doctor into a neurosurgeon. You will now be called upon to attend all those design meetings. nor hesitate to solicit your advice or look to you for guidance.

we got them from old friends. With a renewed sense of confidence. and the engineers and managers and our customers. which allowed us to move ahead in our careers quicker than ever.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers What We Did (by Dean) As soon as Vivek and I (Dean) announced our CCIE success. And as the news spread farther afield. and from others. After taking some time off to spend with our families. Our company rewarded us with plaques and other incentives like the CCIE jacket. we started receiving congratulatory emails from our colleagues. and found doors opening up for us that we had never even thought of. both from within our own companies. We started getting job offers. while ! accepted an opportunity to travel around the world as an Educational Specialist at Cisco Advanced Services where I worked with many different organizations and Tier One service providers. 11 . we engaged in our work. Vivek pursued a career in Cisco Advanced Services as an automotive lead for a Tier One account.

and help you move forward. There are just as many benefits (aside from simply the financial ones you will encounter upon success) for your family as there are drawbacks. and without everyone's cooperation. you should consider certification a communal goal. it can be downright impossible to achieve. The CCIE requires total commitment. all too true. Everyone in your life is going to have to make just as many sacrifices as you are. but. There is also a great physical and mental toll. Rather. as well as for yourself. you are all going to have to weigh these considerations before making a final decision. and laying out our plans and expectations. especially when you are feeling down or discouraged because you are not progressing as quickly as you thought.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 7: THE CIRCLE OF TRUST Engaging Everyone In Your Inner Circle Before you take the plunge and pursue your CCIE. Nothing in this chapter is meant to deter you from pursuing your CCIE. You will definitely learn and acquire a new sense of perseverance. he also got his divorce papers. and still be able to study for four hours a night on weekdays. it isn't just about the time you won't be able to devote to family events. and ten or twelve hours on the weekends. and that although they are not actually taking the exam themselves. we sat down with our families and told them of our plans and what to expect. his daughters were really young. think about the positive example you will be setting for them. Consider this: On the very same day that one of our friends got his third CCIE. and 100% supportive. then you are going to need everyone in your household to be behind you 100%. There will be times when you will need to rely on your family for emotional support. especially your spouse. we just want you to be aware of everything you are going to encounter in the process. This is an extreme example. What We Did (by Dean) You must take into account that it will be your spouse/partner who will take up all of the slack while you're off studying. the entire process will be just as stressful for them. If you are going to be able to work a full -time job. as well as a financial one. everyone understood that they all had an important role to play in our success. Together. success will be something that everyone will be proud of. By having this open and honest discussion with our entire families. For instance. and he felt like he was missing 12 . In that light. rather than lust a personal one. instead of a personal one. If you don't have their total support. perhaps you should consider delaying certification until circumstances are more amenable. We definitely did not want to be away from home for hours. They must be your strength. your children and your closest friends and family members. Within months of starting our first CCIE. Vivek and I (Dean) understood very early on the importance of getting everybody onboard. And if you make it a group goal. unfortunately. and serious arguments. you should make absolutely certain that everyone in your life supports your decision. To compensate. only to return to great tension. While Dean was preparing for his first exam. Remember.

is that after we passed the exam. 13 . recognizing this. The sacrifices that you make during this period will pay off when you pass the exam and find yourself with plenty of time to catch up. we found ourselves with so much free time on the weekends that we didn't know how to deal with it.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers all of the major milestones. captured all of these missed moments in pictures and videos for him to share and enjoy. His wife. One thing we both found interesting. You will have your certification. and you and your family will have the satisfaction of having achieved it as a unit. Both of us set a great example for our kids that you have to work hard for long periods of time to succeed.

It was like starting all over again. Try to figure out what is preventing you from adhering to the timeline. he eventually gave up his dream of obtaining it. Remember. however. but will also help you make sure that the time you spend studying is used most effectively and efficiently. To help you do that. If you don't stick as closely to these timelines as you can. The pressure now is almost unbearable. you should follow a timeline. Any more delays and you may give up. You may experience a family emergency or an unexpected increase in your workload at the office. So let's say you decided to read three of these big books over the next sixty days. Perhaps you need to adjust your priorities. what happened was. If you procrastinate. you must re-evaluate your approach.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 8: MANAGING EXTERNAL INFLUENCES How To Deal With Road Blocks and Setbacks Perhaps one of the biggest challenges to getting your CCIE is finding a way to mitigate all of the external forces that seek to blow you off course. we've created five different timelines in Chapter 37 for you and included them at the end of this book. that deadline will approach rapidly. Simply adjust your timeline for the current phase. Please refer to Chapter 37 for the amount of lead time you can afford in the five different timelines we've provided. You mustn't let all of these pressures build up. Therefore. or just quit procrastinating. For instance. when he returned to his studies in the fall. Naturally. These timelines will not only give you a good estimate of how long a CCIE certification takes. 14 . we can take the example of one of Dean's students. You will automatically calculate that you'll need to read one book about every twenty days. studying for it can take a year or more. If you are making too many adjustments. If you don't finish that first book on time. most engineers start by reading the recommended books and learning the technologies related to their CCIE labs. he told me. As an example of how detrimental these delays can be to your success. and the pressure will begin to mount. Regardless of how much you plan and prepare. That's a lot of time for trouble to emerge. the less likely you will be to continue. that he wasn't planning on studying for his CCIE at all during this time. Soon. He was so committed to this. he'd forgotten most of what he'd already learned. The more anxious you feel. Because his priorities clashed with his CCIE. chances are that you won't be able to finish the second book on time either and so on. Six months out of every year were going to be set aside exclusively to focus on baseball. and the estimated time it should take for you to complete them. but keep your CCIE lab date in place. These are just a few of the issues that could be waiting in the wings just to trip you up as you continue on your journey toward the coveted CCIE. he'd take time off and. A timeline is basically a series of steps. it is important that you give priority to what really matters and give yourself a little lead time. This is the amount of time that you can give to other priorities without throwing your timeline off (for a short duration only). or sudden. it is day 40 and you haven't even finished that first book. This man spent his spring and summers coaching baseball. unforeseen financial difficulties. To ensure that you stay on track (or as close to track as you can when circumstances suddenly change). things can go bad very quickly. experiencing some kind of hiccup and setback is inevitable.

too absorbed in my work to check up on them and make sure it wasn't anything serious. He had studied hard and believed he knew the material inside and out. One obstacle that might affect your focus is your chain of command. after you have your CCIE number. The student had already suffered an emotional setback from failing. The second is to keep your boss in the loop. For me (Dean>. or watching football should be a lower priority. Remember. he learned that he had failed. you've got to give it 100% period. Just because you are about to take the exam does not mean you are going to pass. As a consequence. If it can wait. His boss was so surprised that he had failed. It is there only for emergencies. you must not rely on that lead time and use it as an excuse to slack or procrastinate. you can always catch up with your friends and football scores. my family knew that I was just a phone call away. he still believed he'd done very well. you should do so. A few harsh lessons can be found in this story. A former student of mine was studying for his second attempt at the lab exam.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers However. A day later. now he had the added burden. don't allow yourself to become overconfident. If you really want to achieve one of the toughest technical certifications in the world. Movie nights. the confidence continued. Remember that you can never know everything about all of the technologies. especially if they are less than supportive at times. Remind them of the financial incentives to those Cisco partners that have CCIEs in their organizations. he became very confident that he was going to pass and began celebrating prematurely. You should also make sure that your boss and the entire company understands the benefits of having a CCIE as a team member. This brought the situation to a crisis. or can be delegated. After the exam. 15 . Communicate with them on a regular basis and let them know of your progress in your job and your CCIE. Let them advocate your interest in the organization. you should really reconsider pursuing your CCIE. or those few issues that take precedence over your CCIE. my wife and our support chain attended to them. when my children were sick or needed to see the doctor. The first is. hanging out with your friends. If they are not. In any case. Although it was difficult. however. he told the student that. and anything else you might have missed. after two chances he would not support another attempt. I was not. and set your expectations exceedingly low.

freezing rain had fallen on all of that unplowed snow creating a two-inch crust of ice over the top of it. However. thinking that it'd just blow over. 16 . Since things only seemed to be getting worse. called Vivek. and crews would have the roads clear in a couple of hours. a short while later. a solution suddenly came to me. I wanted to test my solution. I had left home early that day in order to finish some work so that I could make it to our study session on time. Traffic was at a standstill. Within thirty minutes we had validated the solution. kicking the crust of snow off my shoes. we were at the office. It was so intense that it closed all major highways within a half hour. working over a particularly vexing problem. She was worried about me because it was my birthday and she had tried repeatedly to reach me. seemingly from nowhere. I was excited and rather impatient to get home.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers What We Did (by Dean) While working toward our second CCIE. Vivek got a call from my wife. careful hours to get home. Needless to say. but I was not answering my phone. The snowstorm had been so bad that not even the road-clearing crews had been able to venture out into it. I went straight to the phone. my subconscious mind continued to work on our problem. As soon as I slammed the door. but continued studying. when a snowstorm blew in. What's more. Amidst all of the chaos of trying to juggle all of these things. It took me three crawling. While my conscious mind was concerned with driving. We watched all of this unfold from our office window. In another instance. this did not happen. but I already knew it would work. and revealed my solution. until. we decided to pack up our stuff and head home. I hadn't realized until that moment how utterly absorbed and focused we were in our quest for our second CCIE. I forgot it was my birthday and accidentally left my phone in the car.

Buying yourself a Harley-Davidson motorcycle Add a swimming pool to your house Taking your family on a cruise to the Santander. Go try it on. your subconscious mind will automatically begin working toward it. one that will give you the confidence to go after your next great objective. you will feel an even greater sense of accomplishment. or the dashboard of your car. Tape them to the wall above your computer. In those cases. You should display these pictures prominently in your place of study. and Vacations (Just Name It) Since you are about to embark on one of the most challenging certifications of your life. What you are doing here is hanging a carrot in front of your face. you should establish some kind of material reward to help motivate you. see how heavy it feels on your wrist. Cruises. Then inform him or her that you'll be back for it in about six months. and once you've selected your prize. when you finally reach your goal and get your reward. The only way he could break free was by reaching his goal. the subconscious mind responds best to real. 2. personal pictures aren't always possible. The same goes for that Rolex watch. 17 . Working for a real. or Hawaii Buying yourself a Rolex watch You may be wondering why? After all. dream of or taste. Jamaica. where the family booked the falls-view room of a premium hotel overlooking the falls and nightly fireworks. one that prevented him from moving ahead in life. concrete goal. feel. Carry one in your wallet. Also. The band eventually began to symbolize a shackle. What's more. Of course. Whatever your reward. Every time you look at your new watch. it will only enhance your satisfaction. or anywhere else you will see them regularly.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 9: SET A CLEAR PRIZE FOR SUCCESS Motorcycles. ride your new Harley. isn't the satisfaction you will feel upon passing the exam motivation enough? The answer is no. Palma De Mallorca (Spain). Get someone to take a picture. such as you on a cruise ship. or look at the family photos from the Santander cruise. You see. Some examples could be: 1. 3. He decided to remove it only when he got his CCIE number. physical rewards—things that can be touched or felt. Dean took his family out for extended road trip including a weekend to Niagara Falls. This will help give you a real. or to the fridge. 4. Select a Harley and have the sales person take a picture of you sitting on it. one that you can see. tangible reward is often more effective than working toward some intangible certificate. try to get a picture of yourself with it. What We Did (by Dean) Vivek wore a green Cisco band on his wrist for the duration of his CCIE study. simply download a photo from the internet. This trip gave the family the bonding that Dean felt they all needed. you'll be reminded of your great accomplishment.

dominican. The third group was asked to think about their goal. Unfortunately. In the end. write it down. and colleagues. We even want you to select a specific date. and establish action steps. The first group was asked to merely think about their goals. We don't want you to be overwhelmed. This was discovered by Dominican University. the better it is." The more specific you are. write it down. The fifth group was asked to think about their goal. to be an urban legend. Instead. The second group was asked to think about their goal and write it down. and then keep that friend updated on their progress as they pursued their goal. As soon as you set this date. in which the 3% of students who actually wrote down their goals were shown. we want you to write it down. formulate action steps. You should then share vour intentions with as many of your family.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 10: THE FIRST KEY Set Your Goals and Write Them Down In our experience. They took a group of 267 participants and broke them into five groups. For instance. so here is what you do. Make multiple copies if you have to. and share their plan with a friend.edu/dominicannews/study-backs-up-strategies-for-achieving-goals I (vivek) passed the CCIE written exam in 2000. The effectiveness of this strategy was recently established by a Dominican University study. The fourth group was asked to think about their goal. Post your goal (like the pictures of you and your tangible reward) where it will be easily visible to you. and others. 2014. friends. only a small number ever take and pass the written portion of the exam. every network engineer wants to be a CCIE. I consulted many colleagues. 60s. Each of these groups was asked to adhere to a different level of commitment. and holding yourself accountable. set it as the Screensaver or background image on your computer. friends. creating a public commitment. You may have heard the story of a Harvard (or Yale) study that took place in the late 50s. If you'd like to read the study for yourself. the groups who simply put their goals on paper were significantly more likely to achieve their goals than those who did not. I began buying books and hardware (since having your own was essential at the time). "I am going to get my CCIE number by December 19th. They are all too often overwhelmed by many of the factors we've already warned you about. while those in group five were even more likely to succeed than any of the others. formulate action steps. 20 years later. to earn as much as ten times more than those who did not. But what I didn't do was establish a firm date for taking it. but we want you to be more specific. What you are doing here is making your goals concrete. write it down. so they decided to test the hypothesis themselves. or even 70s. and even fewer attempt the lab portion. and immediately began to prepare for the lab exam. you can see a summary here: http://www. and anyone else I could find who had already attempted the lab. You are obviously going to set your goal at getting your CCIE number. Because I was trying to save myself the financial burden of buying it all 18 . share their plan with a friend.

if anything CCIE is going to get harder as the new technology is introduced if you don't finish now. In fact. we did learn a lot the first time around (the hard way. For what it's worth. To make matters worse. of course). Be prepared. and it's not going to get any easier as time passes. All of this happened simply because I hadn't established a clear date for my goal. we live in an age in which everyone expects instant results. It's human nature to procrastinate. I essentially had to start all over. we started preparing for the exam in the winter of 2008. By the time I was ready to set it up. By establishing a deadline for ourselves early on. to try to find the easy way out. especially not for months. In the end. when will you? The most important thing you can do is try to pass the exam before Cisco makes any major revisions to the test. Nobody wants to wait for anything. CCIE certification is a long-term commitment. we immediately set ourselves to a specific date. I still have many of those old 2500 routers in my basement. However. We tend to postpone the most difficult tasks until an undetermined date in the future. it took me a long time to acquire it. were entirely removed from the lab blueprint. with different equipment and an entirely new training workbook. such as ISDN and Token Ring. 19 .Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers at once. and managed to reach our goal by the spring of 2009. The CCIE lab workbook had changed. What We Did When we began our quest for our CCIE. the lab had changed. we did not set a specific date because we didn't understand how important it was. Some technologies. The problem is. When we were ready to start our second CCIE (Service Provider) quest. Your CCIE lab training provider should be able to inform you of any expected changes.

through visualization. think of your favorite food. You may even find yourself regularly. or unexpected bargains and opportunities that you would have easily overlooked before. It subconsciously starts steering you toward applicable articles in magazines. For example. you can think of this process in terms of a network.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 11: THE SECOND KEY Visualize." Your eyes gather all of the information from your surroundings. your brain will subconsciously start working toward making this into a reality. The same is true of your CCIE. Since this information is simmering somewhere in your subconscious. but the brain. you've created a clear goal for yourself. What's more. if the visuals are appealing enough. I have this great urge to eat something sweet right now. a bowl of hot tomato soup. Did you start salivating? I know I am. This is called synchronicity. how many chapters it would have. a delicious muffin or a red velvet cake. you will suddenly start seeing those cars everywhere. Once you get your mind going towards a goal. they'd been there all along. and tasting the real thing. Visualization is a very powerful and effective tool. and propel yourself toward the position of your desire. For example. let's say you were planning to buy a particular model car. and websites." If it helps. you should use this to fuel the fire of intention. it starts looking for ways to achieve it. which can be defined as a "meaningful coincidence. almost inexplicably. You will soon start seeing positive signs. 20 . the rest is simply excluded. Visualizing stimulates the same parts of your brain that would have been affected by seeing. At one time or another. As you read this just close your eyes for a second and visualize them. its size. You may also start seeing great deals. you must learn to think like one. smelling. I knew exactly how it would look. being a super-efficient organ. thickness. we have all been passed over for a promotion because we did not have the right qualifications. Now. to satisfy that desire. a juicy fish fillet. Behave As If You've Already Achieved It I (Vlvek) am a big believer in the power of visualization. things rolling almost magically into place. you just weren't aware of them. or being jealous of your colleagues. of course. The more detailed and targeted your visuals are. in the same way that a firewall might allow only HTTP or HTTPS traffic. and toward knowledgeable people. It filters out the irrelevant and only processes the important stuff. the more effective they become. By visualizing that car. I visualized this book even before we began writing it. Instead of blaming your boss. If you want to be the team lead. Your mind wants to fulfill that goal. doesn't process all of it. and how heavy it would feel in my hands. What your brain is doing is opening a port that allows only certain information in. overhearing conversations involving the words "CCIE" or "lab" or "Cisco Certification.

the possible difficulties in implementing them versus the possible rewards. and arm yourself with that knowledge. will change. and can stay informed on all of the new and necessary technologies. and the people around you will help you complete them. though not directly related to the CCIE. You will soon be the preferred candidate for a team lead. and then evaluate the different products being pitched by the different vendors. We updated our future email signatures with a tentative CCIE number. I found myself talking to the vendor sales engineers about the relative advantages of its products over its competitors. and made our resumes instantly more marketable. you will be taking that first step forward. and with as much information as I could find. Your influence will increase ten-fold. And when you add your CCIE to it. how your boss and coworkers perceive you. and acquired quite a 21 . How would you be expected to act? b. After you've done this. I did this with every sales engineer I encountered. a floodgate of opportunities will open to you. You will be assigned tasks. so only a few people had even heard about it. If you continue to anticipate your team's needs. You'll have a better idea of what kind of questions or advice team members might need from you. you can talk confidently about your analyses and answer any questions your boss and coworkers may have. I used the visualization techniques I had learned earlier. As a lead. and will find yourself going from one in the crowd. nurture new projects. Think about how your current team leads do this. We prepared "thank you" emails for all of the congratulatory messages we would receive upon getting our CCIE. As you continue to use these visualization techniques. let's say there are voice quality issues in your VolP network. Would you do anything differently? Try to imagine some strategies that you'd like to implement or experiment with. Here is a personal example of the power of visualization." This solidified our commitment to it. and any other issue that might affect call quality. Through visualization. You will be expected to lead discussions. which. sometimes subtly. I was asked to read many dull manuals. Here's how: a. Just by visualizing. Visualize yourself as the team lead. What We Did (by Vivek) To help us visualize. your colleagues will solicit your advice for any problems they face. To do this. and then being congratulated when the implementation was successful. Before you only participated in a project. To do this correctly. and how you want to make it happen. delay. For example. you will find that your behavior begins to change. and provide all of the information anyone else needs. in turn. You will find yourself thinking and acting 'ike a team lead. jitter. Do this a couple of times and you will be the go-to guy in your organization. I imagined myself comparing the various video solutions. What questions would they ask? What questions have you asked of your lead? How did he or she address them? How would you address them? c. we updated our resume with the words "CCIE (to be acquired May 2007). you might realize that you need to read more about Quality of Service (QoS). to the only one in the crowd. I (Vlvek> jumped in and volunteered to participate. team members will come to you for advice. When Video over IP was a new technology and being considered for a pilot program.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers This can be accomplished through visualization. This was a new technology. now you will get to shape it. You will be able to choose what you want to work on.

I tabulated all of it into an Excel spreadsheet and created a very nice comparison chart. Soon after that meeting. and soon I was the only one with all of the knowledge about the Video over IP project. what steps I needed to take to implement it successfully. I found myself in meetings with decision makers. He looked at my evaluation. I presented the chart to my boss. Personnel in other departments also approached me to see if theirs could be involved in the pilot project too. He presented it to the director. I became the go-to-guy of my boss and our director. That's how I accomplished all of these tasks. They would stop me in the hallways to ask about our progress on the project. and they all knew me by my first name. the operations manager started talking to me proactively about implementation. The director immediately called me into his office. Believe me. and my brain unconsciously guided me toward that goal. who was happy to have it. All of this rolled like a snowball. I promised to get that information as well. I got as much information from him as I could about what management is looking for. He wanted to know how much training his staff would need to maintain these new network devices. and that sometimes the call could not be established at all. I was "the go-to-guy" when it came to Video over IP. and was enormously successful. and after the pilot had been implemented. This was affecting production network.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers bit of information. 22 . I basically just visualized what information I was expected to have. and then asked me which one I recommended. I was in visualization heaven. and promised him an answer within a week. He told me that call quality on the old equipment was not good.

It is a career-changing prospect. That's not to say that there aren't activities in life that you can't get away with giving less than 100%. And in the course of my day. It also doesn't take any extra time or effort to keep a to-do list of small topics or technical terms to study anytime you have a free moment. We expect our electricity and our phone service to run uninterrupted 100% of the time. is it? You can easily defer doing that until a later date or during a study break. CCIE is one of the most difficult certifications that you can get. just to complete it as quickly as possible so that we can move on to something more interesting or engaging. that you never knew if something was going to come up tomorrow that would prevent you from achieving your goal. sometimes even 75%. And while you might not lose the endurance that roadwork provided by missing one day. Not only did this 23 . one that requires total commitment and painstaking attention to detail. After I (Vlvek> earned my first CCIE. I'd just dig a little deeper into their operation and design. After all. In these instances. I'd say. being thorough or meticulous gets thrown overboard. I would just eat it at my desk while I was studying. without question. it should be the things that are lower priority. We might be happy with 99%. is it not? But just imagine what would happen if pilots and doctors were held to the same standards. Giving 100% to your CCIE means that it has priority over everything else. we find ourselves procrastinating. or 95%. Of course there are. He explained to his boxers that he was preparing them for the unexpected. I could always find time to study. not just 75% of the time. Instead of going out to lunch. we're often content to lower our expectations. The problem is. A very successful boxing coach used to demand that his boxers make an effort to run (what is called "roadwork" in boxing) every day. If you have to sacrifice or postpone something. 75% of perfect is a lot better than nothing at all. After all. then doing an inadequate job. However. nor even 99% of the time. you shouldn't let anything interfere with that. but a full 100% of the time. and the dishes will still need to be done. so that he could get in time to watch the game? Of course you wouldn't. But all too often. We expect the doctor to be able to cure our ailment or the police to catch a perpetrator 100% of the time. For instance. "I wish I had a job that was easy enough so I could study for my CCIE too. when it comes to our own activities. you certainly would if you missed anymore. many engineers would joke with me. the lawn will still need to be mowed. We're not saying that you should stop everything else. saying. After all. that grass isn't going to stop growing. Would you be willing to trust your life to a pilot who was only careful 75% of the time? Would you submit to surgery at the hands of a doctor who was only willing to put in a half-hearted effort. If your effort is 95% or 99% then you have some wiggle room to Postpone or have the chance of something else taking priority. and it's not going anywhere." I always told them that it didn't matter how difficult or time consuming my job was. CCIE however is not one of them. we expect our food to be cooked to our taste 100% of the time. What we are saying is that if you've allocated four hours every evening for study. while working on different technologies.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 12: THE THIRD KEY All or Nothing There's an interesting dichotomy between what we humans expect of other people (and things in life) and what we'll accept from ourselves.

and social gatherings. TV. anniversaries. it allowed me to understand and do my job better. as well as movies. we reviewed one of them. It's almost unbelievable how much you can get done fifteen minutes at a time. This meant it took precedence over birthdays. We made a list of all of the terms and technologies we didn't thoroughly understand. throughout the day. our children's dance recitals and sports events. We did things like prepare configurations for future labs and lab diagrams. Whenever. watch instructional Video-on-Demand (VoD) or check out options on a particular command on the Cisco web page. we found some free time even fifteen minutes. festivals. What We Did (by Vivek) When we began our quest. the CCIE had to be our top priority. We'd print these out for reference or quick study.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers help me in my quest for the CCIE. We would always ask ourselves "What can we do in the next fifteen minutes that will take us closer to our CCIE?" 24 . We'd also use those fifteen minute intervals to listen to audio. Dean and I decided that to be successful.

Give it your 100%. Stepping into it was like entering a large safe. I(Vlvek) am going to tell you a little story. If you don't use all of these keys together and in tandem the safety deposit box will not open. Bankers key to the safety deposit box. 3. The banker came in with his key. When I was a kid. and you needed both of them. To illustrate this.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 13: UNLOCK THE BOX The Three-Key Combination Over the course of the last few chapters. 2. especially. it seemed even more clandestine and mysterious. The walls were made of eight to ten inches of solid steel and the bolts were these huge shiny cylinders that slid into their recesses. Once inside. 1. Your key to the safety deposit box. The previous three chapters are like your keys to the safety deposit box that has your CCIE number. how they were always located inside a huge vault. But even if one of the keys was missed there is no way you could access the contents. and you had your key. turned almost in tandem. I liked. 2. Now we are going to show you how to put them all together in a way that will help you pass the CCIE exams and acquire that coveted number. 25 . The key or the combination to the vault. I was fascinated by bank safety deposit boxes and how they operated. Setting your goal. Success becomes a lot easier and assured if you use these keys. we have given you the keys to success. With these three keys your access to the contents of the safety deposit box happened with little effort. To access your safety deposit box there were three keys that were essential. 1. which made the room virtually impenetrable without the proper key or combination. to open the safety deposit box. 3. Visualizing your goal.

in great detail. but it's all about training your brain. Remember that the lab dates during certain times of the year (especially during and after holidays) are harder to get. In this way. a good trainer can help you gain muscle faster-and more effectively-by focusing your exercise routine. that the ultimate goal is not just to pass an exam. now what? You should be proud of yourself for starting this endeavor. Now it's time to choose a timeline. keep in mind they should have the most up to date program relating to Cisco's latest exam format. In the end. This is also a good time to customize your study timeline. but your training provider will help you maximize the results. Your courseware should tell you.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 14: LET THE GAMES BEGIN! So you decided to do your CCIE. if the goal is to get your CCIE number. they should be able to guide you on how to handle the troubleshooting section of the exam. you should decide if you want to follow the study time line you have already chosen. However. You can get a good idea of what you need to read and what books to use as a reference on Cisco's website. and software for the lab. you may get a good discount. However. and what potential pitfalls might await you. We do not recommend changing your study schedule after this point. how to answer open ended questions. such as DYNAMIPS and GNS3. you've got to lift weights. and if the goal is to pass the lab and you don't. Each CCIE training provider offers a variety of programs to suit different learning styles and various CCIE tracks. Who knows. or make you aware of any upcoming changes in the lab exam. Based on the progress made in these four weeks. Contact them directly and ask if they offer any special promotions. your mind will work on it until you get it. it's to get vour CCIE number. For instance. No one can do that for you. you should have your study routine. CCIE blueprint. you must learn the content and complete the practice labs. I (Dean) would also suggest that you spend some time researching CCIE training providers. your mind interprets this as a failure. When looking for the right training provider. Once you've decided on a CCIE training provider and a program. hardware. you should also have a powerful computer. Your brain seeks to fulfill your goals. Look at the different timeline schedules at the end of this book for guidance. not passing the exam becomes merely a minor setback—one bump in the road rather than a roadblock. Check the CCIE actual lab availability and adjust your schedule accordingly. since you must pass an exam before you can get your CCIE number. when you set your CCIE number as your goal. Some engineers who are ready to take the lab exam check availability multiple times a day for any last minute cancellations. If you are using router simulator. This may seem counter-intuitive at first. you should stick with it. Imagine your CCIE training provider as the trainer in the CCIE Olympics gym and your goal is to get the CCIE medal (which is your own CCIE number). You should also talk to as many other engineers as possible. Regardless of which timeline you choose. You must remember. about all of the technical aspects. set the first target date to check your progress at about four weeks. We feel that within two weeks of signing up with the training provider of your choice. Find out what strategies worked best for them. Think of it this way: in order to gain muscle. though. 26 . The most important thing to understand at this point is that there are no shortcuts. the exam becomes just one more step in the process. You see. Jumping from one to the other could disrupt the flow and cause confusion.

Your partner will be one that can push you to finish one more task in the lab or work on the next attempt and help you answer your questions. They should be of similar experience and intelligence levels. 2. 1. Besides. 4. You want to choose a partner to compliment your strengths and assist in your weaknesses. Usually you will be strong in certain technologies while your partner may be strong in others. Your partner should be approachable and available at any hour. It is a proven fact that when accomplishing a challenging task. but if you are answering all of the questions and not getting your questions answered it is not going to last long. through the ability to discuss any questions that either one of you may have. It is important to choose a study partner who can make a commitment to devote their time until the completion of the certification. 8. in the same time zone and it is highly preferable that he is in the same location so that you are able to study together face to face. Your partner should have the same time schedule at least on the weekends when you would be studying together. Having a study partner also makes you a better learner. It would be a good idea to look for these qualities in your study partner. providing them with an ability to see something from another person's point of view and approach the problem differently. but not limited to personality. location and technical background. 6. Dropping a partner midway disrupts the flow and equilibrium that you have established and may disturb your progress and time of completion. We are not saying to get an IQ test. 9. In our experience having at least one or a maximum of two partners is sufficient. teaching is learning. Your partner should bring a positive attitude and be part of the solution and not the problem. 3. 5. study habits. You want to work with someone who sees the glass half full and not half empty. Your knowledge of technologies should complement each other. You and your partner should be able to complete the tasks that you have assigned to yourselves for that week. 27 . 7. Partners are there to be supportive and to ensure that you don't quit. Selecting a study partner depends on numerous factors including. Personalities and temperaments should be taken into account. Having more minds looking at a problem can get it resolved faster.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 15: YOUR PARTNER IN SUCCESS Choose wisely Your study partner is a significant part of your CCIE Lab preparation Though there are people who prefer to work independently. after all you don't know the answer to everything and having someone else to ask questions is truly invaluable. This complements your study and a team effort will speed up your work. working with a partner benefits both partners. we have noticed that the majority of successful candidates had study partners. It also helps you when you have more questions about a specific technology.

We complemented each other when it came to technologies. then that partnership will not be beneficial. I called him an unrepeatable name. he knew what he was doing and did not want to be called that irritating—and unrepeatable—name anymore. You also need to make sure that you keep this in mind. Dean is strong in MPLS while I am strong in QoS. We would quiz each other and ask questions to ensure the concept was fully understood. 28 . Although a few years have gone by since we got our CCIEs. We liked to taunt each other and never took anything personally—this worked out for both of us. We divided any new technologies that we both had to learn and each one would present his portion. Dean was upset and decided to work through the night and started the lab from scratch. There was an instance when Dean called me to say that after five hours into the lab he could not get anything working. we are still in touch and are now working together again in writing this book. if you choose a study partner who has already scheduled his lab for two weeks from now and you haven't started any practice labs. We even used sarcasm and comic relief at times to point out each other's weaknesses. we wanted to see who could get his CCIE certification first. For example. All of this was of course done in a very healthy way.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers 10. To my surprise at 4AM my cell phone was ringing and it was Dean stating he had completed the lab. Every engineer has his own unique situations and expectations. We emphasize again that these are not rules but just guidelines to follow. What We Did (by Vivek) Dean and I are very competitive individuals and as we mentioned previously. and unknown to me.

This is because of the following four factors. 3) Now that you have been through one CCIE you know your study habits. 1) Usually engineers go with CCIE tracks that have some basic common elements. if you start with R&S (routing and switching) the odds are that you may go to Service Provider or Security since it builds on the previous track. We have compiled five different strategic timelines for five different scenarios to assist you in navigating the appropriate path for you. it was clear to us that once you have one CCIE. 29 . If you drag your goal. Everything that is on the test is probably listed there. See Chapter 37 "Suggested Timelines for CCIE Preparation. However. These give you a starting point on which you can adjust and build your own timeline. after a few weeks. you will focus on the topics that do matter in the lab exam. That is where the lab guides and the boot camps from your training provider come into play." As we discussed our success strategy and compared it with other CCIE tracks. if you know your BGP for IPv4 address-family. the best way to approach CCIE certification is to have an aggressive plan. laser like. They let you channel your limited resources to your full potential and. you will realize that it is harder to get back on track and soon it feels like your goal is too large and you begin to procrastinate and give up. how to find time and how to concentrate and work for long hours. these timelines are generic and may not necessarily be a perfect fit for you and your study partner. 4) You are much more patient as you are now aware that CCIE is a long term commitment.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 16: PRACTICE HARD AND PLAY EVEN HARDER Study aggressively with your goal in sight In our personal opinion. 2) Similarities in exam blueprints. the CCIE lab blue print has a big list of books and topics that are recommended for reading. for example. Cisco provides you with an overwhelming amount of resources. For example. if you want to get your CCIE quickly you don't have the luxury of reading the entire content. Work hard to make sure that you are executing your plan. then learning VPNv4 address-family will not be as intensive as learning the entire protocol suit from scratch. Keep in mind that. your timeline for the second CCIE will be shorter.

What We Did (by Dean) For our first CCIE track. whenever we meet up with him. so you can select whichever is appropriate for you. We basically gave him a quick approach to what we did. This friend got motivated. If you have other suggestions or recommendations that you would like and post your to share. he would tell stories about something that stopped him in his studies. that for your next CCIE your timeline is substantially shorter. he still is asking the same question and soliciting our advice for his CCIE Lab exam. It also depends on your knowledge base and the amount of exposure that you have had at work or in a lab environment. we told him that without showing 100% commitment. After we successfully passed our CCIE certification.11 and 12 talk about what he was missing. success would be nearly impossible: do something. Chapter 10. For our second CCIE track. one of our friends approached us for advice on how to study and the kinds of strategies we used to pass the exam. loved the advice and decided to study and pass the exam. don't let excuses get in your way. improvise and not give up. On a somewhat annual basis. He starts studying. Use them as a frame of reference and customize this to create a personalized timeline that suits your needs and more fitting to your abilities. we came up with a specific timeline and worked diligently to achieve every milestone. please visit our website 30 .Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Point being. We are providing you with our five strategic timelines. Since then. we did not have a specific timeline or a plan to follow. a simplified version of this book. of our friend going through the same cycle. We knew we had to study hard. After four years. but then many factors slow him down and he stops and then has to renew his written certification again to qualify for the lab exam.

If one of us had a technical issue. dedication. who had young children during his second CCIE.S. because there was so much going and the distractions were unavoidable. What We Did (by Vivek) For Dean. We decided to go to our local office. We stayed there from 9AM to 7 PM and even until 11PM at times. At times. Don't let it slide. and reviewed any topics that we needed to improve upon. every Saturday and Sunday rain or shine. Subsequently. we did not find it conducive to study at home. We sustained this schedule until we were satisfied that we had covered a sufficient amount of content. If you are a night owl. this was our battle and neither of us could be silent when the other had a problem to overcome. either lunch hour or evening time. we made sure to have a primary and backup place to study. he decided that his lab time would be from 8PM to 1AM on weekdays. we would complete one full lab. your family and your study partner. If you have already planned your study schedule. as if you are going to work. we were both jumping on the problem until we resolved the issue and recognized the root cause. get back on track and start working the schedule until it becomes a habit. when we were content with our progress. we were independently working on our schedule and continued our regular daily calls to check on each other's progress. we would sit for six hours and finish any practice lab and felt confident that it worked. The motivation. Other places such as coffee shops. This is your second job for now. this took about four months. then make sure to start your routine every weekday on time. We studied the videos. libraries are a great place to study. AND WORK THE SCHEDULE Schedule your study hours Make a schedule and work the schedule. which is about half hour away. and continued support from our families made us devote longer hours into this project. The urge to continue to reach our goal was overpowering. In the U.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 17: MAKE A SCHEDULE. Regardless of what anyone does. we were truly a tag-team partnership. we knew that neither of us would be stopping until we earned our second CCIE. attempted the labs. During those months. 31 . your home office. The children would go to sleep and then he could easily devote all of his attention to the lab without any distractions. After all. you need to find your own suitable timelines that work best for you. As a part of our schedule. On a daily basis. They even have study rooms where you can discuss and work on your lab.. to the point that we could work independently. After four months. During the weekends. to continue our studying routine. and local college or university campuses could also be considered. we studied. sleet or snow. and our focus was laser like. you have to stick to it and if you miss a day or two you may find it hard to get back on track.

How to use it. You may do all of the prep work for your studies in the morning. study a Video-on-Demand (VoD). we found that you have to find the best time that you feel ready. As mentioned earlier. bring along few pages about a topic that you need to ramp up on or listen to on the drive over. Think. articles and configurations) to be available within arm's reach and review it. On the weekend. This gives him four hours of studying time before the family wakes up. you are going to your child's game and it will be a thirty minute drive. or large service providers. One of the things that I (v'vek) always ask my family and friends is how many hours do you spend watching TV? Most of them don't even realize that they are spending more time in front of a box than they realize. You may also want to have Audio-on-Demand (AoD) or VoD available to you on your laptop or on your smart phone so that you can watch and/or listen any time. how to find it One of the most important resources that you have to manage during the CCIE lab preparation is your time. Time is available. You 32 . the department and the management team would get recognized by having CCIEs on their staff. Doing this will enable you to use your time wisely. it is a matter of planning. Once your family and your boss are on board. and then prepare yourself during lunchtime to do some work in the evening.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 18: THE TICKING CLOCK Time is a resource. We all have our routines and it seems impossible to devote so much time to studying. you may have to re-prioritize your goals and as well as your time that you would have spent for other activities. In a regular workweek. You need to create your own study schedule and make it suit your needs. you will need to find the way. Point being. he has put in twenty eight hours in one week. manage your commute to avoid the rush hour and instead use that time to practice small labs. if he completes one full eight-hour lab. For example. you may want to talk to your boss about this endeavor. he can accumulate twenty hours of studying. You may be surprised to find that you are able to grasp a new or difficult concept. including those with multiple CCIE's under their belt. Therefore. Feed the CCIE animal in you and leverage your time accordingly. (see Chapter 7 "The circle of trust"). He could also find more time by staying back at work (after hours) and study for that time. as soon as you find fifteen minutes or more time available. sheer grit and determination to use this time and these resources to achieve your goal. such as watching TV. One individual told me that he starts his morning at 3AM and does lab work until 7AM. we recommend that you print out information (flash cards. After having your family on board. you need to manage your time and always focus your efforts. You need to use every free moment to your advantage. For example. full time job or taking care of others? From our experience and the interviews that we had with successful CCIEs. you may want to cut or reconsider the amount of time put into it. Regardless. "How does this activity help with mv CCIE certification?" If it is not directly related. but are you using it to your advantage? How do you get thirty or forty hours in one week when you already have a family. Ensure your boss is your advocate and allows you more time for preparation and to request flexible working hours during these months of preparation. Many times at companies such as Cisco and its partners. alert and have minimal distractions. if there is a will.

There were instances when Dean. If your body needs seven hours of sleep then give it time to rejuvenate and heal itself. The above approach has one caution. 33 . Both of us found that morning hours were the best for dealing with challenging topics. which didn't go well. then get your rest. us and even the customer. cranky. That would be when we could focus the most and we knew we could grasp the technology that we had a hard time with the night before. If you want to have effective and fruitful results. woke up to a much better understanding of a concept that we struggled with on the previous nights. I used to have a colleague who bragged about only needing three hours of sleep. The worst thing that you can do is to wake up tired. or I. but every morning at our 6AM meeting we had to deal with his bad temper and out-of-control attitude as he tried and wanted to pick a fight with the vendors. we used to wake up in the morning without an alarm and would practice our lab or start a new setup. and ineffective and get on others' nerves. He is steadfast in his ambition and concentration of the game. A child will play and focus every waking moment of the day on the game and everything else is just a distraction—this is how your passion for CCIE should be. What We Did (by Vivek) Once our routine was established. don't sacrifice vour sleep or vour health. All of his time is spent playing.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers want to be just like a child with a new video game.

vour objective is getting that CCIE number. Each of us has a different learning strategy. For example. Good research will take you a long wav.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 19: BOOKS/VIDEOS/LAB RESOURCES Use of training options Once you endeavor to take the CCIE. simulation and place of study. Instead of memorizing the practice labs understand the concepts behind each lab. as well as Cisco Live Sessions geared towards the various certification tracks. 34 . or listening and learning the contents on the medium of your choice. If your intent is on reading all of these books. You may consider them as sleeping pills because they will put you to sleep after a few pages—yes that would be Dean who feels this way! The training resources available to us today range from an intense boot camp course. You need to know which learning resource works the best for you and how to master it. It is one of the most important steps in any project and can encompass more time than other processes. See how these training courses and lab books match your studying style. The bottom line is that you should be doing this to get your CCIE number and everything else should be considered as means towards that goal. Audio on Demand (AoD). tools. In other words. Please keep in mind that your objective is not based on how many books you have completed from cover to cover or how many hours you have put into this certification! But rather. don't stretch yourself too thin as this will overwhelm you. you may have forgotten some important technical details that you picked up in the first book. AoD. VoD and lectures are great resources and should be used on an asneeded basis. Video On Demand (VoD). equipment. It is imperative for you to spend some time to research available resources. you have to first think of your learning style. Although you may want to do all of the above. you may not remember the first book by the time you have finished the tenth one. Choose the ones that are most advantageous to your learning style and then visualize yourself reading. Many people consider technical books to be dry. instructor led courses. You will pass the test by practicing as many labs as you can. if you go to CCIE blueprint they have recommended readings. you need to plan and stick with one major training provider and use other options as additional supplements in achieving your goal. Most likely. Any experienced project manager can testify to the importance of planning. many items such as books. In our personal opinion. The confidence that you generate after completing a few of these practice labs successfully will be the catalyst for your success. I have seen engineers use VoD for their initial training and then go to a week-long boot camp just a few weeks before their actual lab attempt. seminars. especially when you are just reading them without any hands-on or practical experience. live online education.

A majority of these labs build on top of each other.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers What We Did (by Vivek) For our second CCIE certification. The purpose of this approach was two-fold. Another thing to remember is that if you get stuck at a certain place. so we decided to focus on the areas that we had to ramp-up on. we both had a solid understanding of certain protocols. We decided to start with VoD. we had a conference call to discuss the lessons learned and to share any ideas or alternative solutions that we may have thought of during these extensive exercises. first. After each lab. to correct any issues. Once we were satisfied with our results. which cover a lesson on a particular technology. we mimicked the earlier labs (the least complicated ones) by turning off interfaces that were not needed. After first watching the videos. We started by simulating the short labs. mistakes that the video lecturer may have made or ones that we made ourselves. it was time for hands-on practice. each of us took turns to practicing and troubleshooting. so all we had to do was look at the most complicated lab. you can save that scenario and restart or move ahead to the next lab. Once the lab was fully functional. we started taking time-stamped notes of the VoD and simulated each segment of the lab using all of the resources that we had (See Chapter 20 "VoD" for details). We pressed each other to complete these labs. Once the technical concept was fully understood. 35 . With this lab topology created on our simulator. to validate our knowledge base as well as the accuracy of video lectures and secondly. we then moved to the longer four-hour labs.

At the outset. create the same network being used in the VoD on your simulator or lab. You can also ask your partner or colleagues. this time pause taking detailed notes on the topics you think you may be weak on. Expect the learning from Video-on-Demand to take time. At the onset. You may still have a few questions. 36 . Step 3: Using your notes. Here is a four-step process that we used to ensure that we had mastered the Video-on-Demand: Step 1: Watch and listen to one complete video. but will save you a lot of time later on To get your partner involved. we liked the visual format and were able to learn at our own pace and go back and forth. or through training provider forums. it may take longer. This way. PDF content. and understand the basic concepts. This will let you to go back to the same point to review. you will be able to catch any of the mistakes that you have made. If you also choose to take the VoD option. Hands on experience reinforces and crystallizes the whole topic into your brain. As you are listening to the VoD. Step 2: Now start the video again. we have some helpful advice. We have seen other engineers who have taken elaborate notes with use of hyperlinks. at which time you can use web based sharing technologies to coordinate your work. This process is tedious but works very well. especially if you are not in the same room. and other reference points. This is a huge timesaver and allows you to learn new technologies effectively. but those can be answered by reading a book. or will need to review.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 20: VOD How to exploit Video's On Demand There are many learning resources available. Step 4: Go back to Video on Demand. and compare the VoD with your work. Why? Because. make note of the time when a particular topic starts and stops. go to an environment where you will be able to talk. but we preferred Video-on-Demand (VoD). simulate the VoD network in your lab. watch the videos together and show your work Being in the same room with your study partner is much more productive than studying remotely. This comprehensive and sophisticated knowledge-base is splendid if you can keep up with the milestones on your timeline. and this time validate.

This will help you a lot in learning the features and will also enable you to answer those tricky questions or come up with workarounds as you make your way through the lab. we watched the VoD independently. Therefore. For our CCIE lab exam preparation. correct his mistakes as well as how he troubleshot. It was informative to watch the instructor. 37 . each of us broke the lab and had the other person work on it. when we knew that the instructor was wrong. it is imperative that you follow steps three and four to recreate the same topology on the simulator or lab (hands on). each of us went through the videos making detailed notes with time stamps. we did not have to watch the entire video again. a forty hour class took about three to four weeks to finish. For us. Later on. it is difficult to remember the exact steps without any reference. while watching the Video.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Try using different methods and technologies in your lab by using the question mark in the commands. We spent a lot of time on this initially because we had not yet formulated our four-step approach. What We Did (by Dean) We utilized the Video on Demand approach for learning technologies to the fullest possible extent. After we completed this exercise. The more ways you know how to break it the easier it will be for you to troubleshoot it. it looks easy when the instructor is typing and making technologies work. if we had to refer back to a certain section of a VoD. Use various options and see the effect. but when you start the labs on the routers yourself. Breaking what you are doing also helps you when you are troubleshooting. Since we ran the scenario in our lab. Using the question mark enabled us to see what other parameters could be manipulated. we were able to determine the root cause of the problem. We used the question mark to find out what additional options were available or options that we may have ignored. There were times. this helped immensely with our troubleshooting technique. We were always probing what other scenarios could be possible using a particular command option. Then. Remember. We firmly believe that the time we invested in learning these videos initially helped us immensely in achieving our goal.

then go ahead and attempt it. we used the short practice labs to familiarize ourselves with the various technologies. These series. If you feel that you do not have any problems on the core technologies of the exam (which is 60 to 70%). of short labs build on each other. such as our lunch break at work. we were then ready to take on the longer practice labs. Digging deeper is easy. After completing the short labs you may want to read the eight-hour practice labs that you just purchased and fairly assess yourself. Lab setup can take some time so we completed it in off study hours. 38 . This way it ensured that we could concentrate only on learning during our study hours. use the above mentioned technology specific short labs. Studying and practicing on the short labs will enable you to understand the technologies. Once we knew the individual technologies and built our confidence. However.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 21: LEARN THE STROKES Use of short labs to learn a specific technology Almost all of the CCIE lab-training providers have different resources available for you when you buy your training bundles. We simulated any technology that we felt we were weak on. or needed to review. if you think that there are a few of these technologies that you need to dig deeper into. from a simple to a more complicated network. short labs are a part of this. These labs are simple setups of three to five devices that focus on one technology. We looked at the short labs and created a set up that we could use for the entire section. including the level of your technical skills. What We Did (by Dean) During our second CCIE studies. This is because you will have hands on experience and will be able to test the various options that are available to you. and provides you with this new sense of confidence. please wait before doing the complete eight-hour labs.

So you can do this anytime and anywhere you feel appropriate. After the short exercise routine. I was well into my exam preparation working out as I studied. Within minutes. I start with one set first thing in the morning and the remaining sets done during my study period. Let's keep your mind sharp and your body healthy during this stressful period of about 12 months. Many times.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 22: MAINTAIN YOUR FORM How to keep healthy When you start spending long hours preparing for CCIE Lab exam. During lab preparation. I was ready to focus and continue with the lab. Weight gain is one factor. there are changes that will happen to your body. I repeated this every time I was tired. I (Dean) often practice yoga by following a series of videos and doing them any time I feel overwhelmed with work or am under any sort of stress. to my surprise. once you get hooked on this exercise routine you may want to continue even after you pass CCIE exam. I was back on track and my mind was as sharp as it could be. One good approach to manage stress is to exercise regularly. Tai-chi or other meditation movement will clear your mind. I found that I was getting a quick workout in minutes and it gave me a boost and a fast heartbeat. you can have a CCIE and a six pack ©. and found myself unable to focus at times. Eventually I started doing three sets of thirty in a day. With regular workouts. this routine doesn't require any machines or club memberships or any additional cost to your CCIE budget. Within a month. So I took an old friend's advice and started doing twenty pushups and twenty sit-ups multiple times in a day. Don't forget you are sitting behind a computer on a daily basis. Expect it and don't stress out over it. Though it was hard at first and I could manage only ten each time with three rotations daily. Perhaps doing some Yoga. when I wanted to get motivated. Others have stated that doing cardiovascular movement would increase blood flow to your brain and get your heart pumping. By the way. 39 . I felt motivated without taking an extensive break or calling it a day. I would drop to the floor and attempt thirty to forty pushups. sometimes for over ten to fifteen hours a day. Give this a try if you can (but please take your physician's advice in case you have any health issues-this is what worked for us). I was getting tired. This also helped with backaches that I was getting by sitting down for so many hours in front of a computer screen. just avoid doing this in public areas as you may be getting some extra unwanted attention.

We found the best environment was in our local office. noises. Do not sweat it if you fall off the wagon with your diet. You need to make sure that you are free from distractions. you may start eating more or develop new unhealthy habits. On weekends. but the key here is to be aware of this and know how to deal with it. we started eating healthier. Give yourself a break often. As a result.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers What We Did (by Dean) As I mentioned before. you are subjecting your body. Plus we had a projector to watch and analyze our technical VoD on a big screen. by bringing fruits and vegetables to our weekend study location instead of the usual coffee and donuts. You will be able to get back on your old routine once you have the CCIE. Many times when we decided to take a quick break. I started eating a lot of junk food that resulted in me gaining weight. especially when you feel overwhelmed. Dean started his workout routine of pushups and sit-ups. This happens. In order to build our stamina and mental focus. or miss your regular food and exercise routine at times. and can tighten your belt later!! Another factor that you need to take into consideration is your environment and that it is suitable for your needs. It was nicely lit and had ergonomic furniture in familiar surroundings. In my case. and that the temperature is comfortable. It varies for different people. 40 . there were no disturbances since nobody would be there. mind and family to stress that you may not have faced before.

which he granted one alphabet at a time when one or both of us had to accomplish a major task. With all seriousness. Use their strengths to help yourself and support them on their weaknesses. 3:30PM and 5:30PM on Sunday. You should leverage each other's positive attributes to complete this common goal. whether they be personal. You should know exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are. and push your partner(s) everyday. and as many times a day as needed. though great with technologies. may be lacking personal skills (though it is hard for us to admit!). push yourself and your partner so you can finish. © 41 . By the time I got my second CCIE the complete title was given to me. and constant pressure. a tight schedule. you are the project manager for this endeavor and communication is 90% of the task of any good manger. Vivek and I (Dean) used to keep track of each other's activities and daily progress made. Push yourself. you will never have to look at this process and will most likely never have to go through the lab exam again. then you should reconsider this partnership.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 23: DO MORE TO GET MORE How to push your partner Now that we have looked at the criteria to select a partner (Chapter 15: "Your partner in Success"). Please note that if you or your partner is always needy or is constantly looking for excuses not to do a fair share of the work. I remember Vivek calling me at 9:30AM. Remember that your study partner is there to call upon you for support and you should be able to do the same From our point of view. we would come prepared and were ready to teach our selected topics. Vivek also had a nickname for me. 1:30PM. I would feel bad and start my lab at 9:30PM and not stop until 3:45AM. Once you get your CCIE. demanding to see how much I had accomplished and why the assigned lab was not complete. and shared the lessons learned. What We Did (by Dean) Regular daily communication between you and your study partner is a must. Make sure that both of you are kept in the loop because there will be many issues that may arise during the few months of studying. it's important for you to also look at personalities. it is human nature that setbacks will make you procrastinate or feel like giving up. You and vour partner should motivate. On our next meeting. Many engineers. With a long term project like the CCIE Lab. professional or motivational. and we learned something every day through this exercise. We also divided the questions that we had among ourselves. "Sensei". They say teaching is learning. compliment and pick up the slack.

you will understand what I (Vivek) mean when I say that the core should be up 100%. Only one corner of the network (one router) was not forming neighbor adjacencies. VLANS. The core portion of the lab is about 60% to 70% of the exam and. Each CCIE lab has its own core technologies that are its basis. It does not matter how much you spend on an automatic traffic control system. I was extra careful from then on for all my tasks. you will require 30% to 40% more to pass. I was unbelievably disappointed. For example. If your city does not have properly built roads. as per the parameters and conditions prescribed in the lab. This might sound trivial here but so many engineers get stuck at the core itself and the result is that all additional work becomes inconsequential. any other technology that builds on this network will not work.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 24: CORE SHOULD BE UP 100% Even the best car won't run if the engine fails. the blue print had some of the core technologies like switching. Your strength in the core technologies will also prepare you to troubleshoot issues that may/will arise while working on the actual CCIE Lab exam. multicast. for every actual lab exam that I took and passed. There will be IPv6. I went over the lab scenario in my mind again and again and that was the only part that I could think could be the reason for failing. As you progress into your CCIE lab study. since a good traffic control system works only on good roads. Unless basic end to end connectivity is established. at the time we took our CCIE Routing and Switching lab. routing protocols and their redistribution. These comprised the foundation of the network you would build. To my surprise. its routing protocols. These numbers vary depending on which CCIE track you choose and any changes made by Cisco. traffic will not be able to reach its desired destinations. Once your roads are suitable and traffic has multiple paths to move from one place to the other. therefore. By the end. trunking. 42 . so I left that to the end. I did not bother to correct that. Needless to say. I thought that this was a task with a very small number of points and everything else was working. you can start building car pool lanes. the lab exam would add more complexity on top. I failed. From then on. since I was convinced that I had at least 90 plus points working. Once the core network is configured. I was confident that I had completed the core 100% accurately. QoS and other topics covered in the lab exam. A good analogy to this would be the functionality and productivity of a city. What We Did (by Vivek) I clearly remember that on my second attempt I had completed the lab on time.

Every time I finished a question. I felt myself having the confidence to complete any one of them. You may feel overwhelmed. What We Did (by Vivek) After I (Vlvek) completed all of the short labs. You may even want to consider scheduling your actual lab soon. travelling at a few hundred miles per hour feel like just another repetition of what they had already done dozens of times. do the next set of labs as if they were real: meaning completing in one sitting. it may take you twice as long. However. Within a few weeks of working on all of the eight-hour labs. When astronauts want to practice their spacewalk activities they dress up in their special space suits and go into a customized pool. I slowed down. This simulation and hard work makes the real work hanging upside down in space. which is the way to go initially. In the fourth hour. You have to verify. Simulations can make you successful in your CCIE Lab as well. Try this: Select one of the full eight-hour practice labs that you have completed recently and time yourself from start to finish. By the end of the fourth hour it was lunch time and I reloaded all of my routers. I then scheduled a rental rack from a company that rented time on real physical equipment. This will give you a good idea regarding your speed and ability to focus. You have to be able to build and troubleshoot on a network that is absolutely unfamiliar to you in a very short period of time. as things were not working as predicted. There is no outside help available aside from your own mind and Cisco documentation. I was somewhat nervous as I thought of this as a real test. The first three hours were good and things were going fine. Keep in mind that if this is your first time attempting the practice labs. engineers start doing labs from their lab book piecemeal. this is a crucial part of the process. troubleshoot. but don't give up. This pool simulates the zero gravity environment and has an exact replica of the object that they are supposed to be working. we are not used to sitting fully focused on one task for eight hours. I wrote the time on the lab sheet that I had printed. you are probably in very good shape. You must be able to master these skills in order to think fast. and my score. In our experience. complete concentration and being in a state of heightened alert for the full eight-hours. 43 . In our work life. Do not get frustrated if it takes you more than ten hours. CCIE lab requires razor sharp focus.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 25: JUMPING INTO THE POOL Do labs as if they are a real lab. if not longer. and validate if the configurations are working as requested in the lab. The very fact that you were able to complete a full lab in a span often or eleven hours is a big achievement. this was my pool now. This was my first lab in my non-simulator environment. The astronauts use actual tools and simulate the work that they will be doing up in space. I started working on the eight-hour practice labs. after completing the first six or seven full eight-hour practice labs in a piece by piece fashion. configure. after every major section. In the event that you are able to complete the lab in five to six hours. Just as the astronauts used their pool. They practice different "what if scenarios for months. that your newer configurations did not break any previous ones. I had my wife choose one lab at random and started it at about 8 AM.

to 30% confidence in my CCIE lab exam. I could not even complete the lab in the ten and a half hours that I had scheduled the rack time for. I was overjoyed because something inside told me that I was close and everything was going smoothly. something happened. but was not even close to being ready. Everything stopped working. The problems I faced were a result of my misinterpretation of the questions. it finally occurred to me that I had spent forty-five minutes on the wrong device. It became almost impossible to continue. As a result. and had at least 85 points out of 100 in ten hours. I was making typing mistakes. only to face failure after failure. did I pass on my first attempt? You know the answer. I repeated that again and again with more Labs so that I would be ready for my ultimate test. In that one day. I was trying again and again. which took forty-five minutes. Now I had to think back and see what I was missing. tallied my points. Once again. my network was a mess. I was typing one router command into anotherand so on. I was under pressure and found myself working even faster than before to complete the lab on time and started making more mistakes. by the sixth hour. I was again creating problems for myself and was stumped. I had to remove all of my configurations. Quick troubleshooting told me that I had not saved the configuration on one of the routers. correct my mistakes and do that particular section in the correct router. I could not complete my lab in ten and a half hours. I was improving. I was losing my concentration. For example. 44 . and after three hours. As I was doing these labs. after working on a problem and not being able to troubleshoot the issue. not my lack of understanding of the technology. Although I was two hours over the time. It was quite a surreal experience as I was shut out from the world around me and was gliding through what I was doing. I tried the same lab after a few days and this time I was saving my configuration regularly but. but used Cisco documentation and kept on going. By the sixth hour. This was very disappointing and a big eye opener for me.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers When I came back after lunch. However. After my fifth attempt. I went from 80% confidence. the core of my lab was up and running flawlessly in three hours and I was partially done with my redistribution by lunchtime. I was puzzled on some issues. It was a disaster. I found myself having more concentration and was more focused than before. Everything just changed. I finally completed my lab.

Cisco does a good job of updating the actual lab exams with current technologies and labs are continuously evolving. What We Did (by Vivek) When I(Vlvek) did my actual lab exam. This will take care of any errors or omissions that may happen unknowingly. or will you only get a credit if all three are working? In our time it was all or nothing.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 26: EXPECT LOOSE ENDS You may miss 5% to 7%. Please read the policy well in advance of taking the actual lab in order to ensure that you are well aware of any changes. The unsure portion was the one that would have contributed to my failure. There were also times when I found the exact answer in the Cisco Documentation. This is not necessarily due to time constraints. Get to know the documentation tool very well as your passing depends on it. The points that I was unsure of meant that I had to ramp up on those technologies and break them down. In almost every lab. no need to panic. 45 . If a task has three parts. Practice your navigational skills for a manual search of Cisco documentation for a particular technology. or you don't get any credit at all. that was rare. However. there were portions of the actual lab that had a small number of points that we could not attempt in spite of having about 30 minutes to spare. B and C. Keep a tally of your points with every task you complete. I counted those points that I was sure of and those that I was unsure of in two separate columns. If this happens to you. because I was unfamiliar with and/or couldn't find the answer in the Cisco documentation. and C and only A and B are working. B. I could not complete a small portion. That is the reason for this chapter. The topics for technologies and their features are so vast and very difficult to read and understand in a short period of time. In my tally. then will you get credit for A and B. Make sure that your core technologies are working smoothly. Read the CCIE Lab exam carefully as the answers to the above may be embedded in there. I kept a running tally of my points. but rather to the nature of this lab exam. A. Either you get credit for A. Though we had a good grasp of how to search for Cisco documentation in the lab (manually) we still could not find some of the relevant answers. Believe me the last 5% to 10% is very crucial and may make the difference between you passing the CCIE lab or not. Clarify with your proctor if you get points for a task that is partially working. Although the number of points required to pass the lab exam may be a bit lower than 90% you should aim for 90% to 95% if possible. We want you to know that there is a good chance you may not be able to complete all of the tasks in the actual lab. No matter how hard we tried. This practice may give you that extra leverage of 5% to 10% on the CCIE Lab.

It is preferred that you do not learn a new technology at this time. Plan it and give yourself two to three days to revise systematically. "it was impossible to finish".Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 27: WHAT TO DO IN THE LAST THREE MONTHS. One week before the Lab exam you should be doing one last revision. If there is any technology that you are not 100% sure about. This will give you a very good idea of the variation in questions on that specific technology. You will be using some time to lookup references for lab tasks that you might have missed in your study. By this time. Although each of these schedules suits a different pace there are certain things you need to do to ensure your success. At this point. The day before the exam should be spent just trying to relax (See Chapter 29 "The Spacewalk"). however we wanted to consolidate all of that in one place. You will have plenty of time to revise. In the last three weeks you should just do complete labs to increase your speed and focus. you should already have this and all you are doing is polishing and maintaining it. 46 . A good way is to see how questions on this technology have been phrased in the past ten to fifteen labs. I was not able to sleep fully and was awake before my alarm went off. since you have already read all of the topics. completing them in parts and slowly ramping up. this is the time to understand it. When I(Vivek) went for my Lab the first time I personally gave myself a few topics to read. Divide your study into two or three parts. Looking back at the short labs is always a good idea. The last three months of preparation should be preferably spent on doing complete eight-hour labs. Initially. In the end many of these should be done in one eight hour sitting to build your focus and stamina. WEEKS & DAYS Preparing your moves By this chapter you may have a good idea of how you might want to go about your studying for the CCIE Lab. Do not listen to the awful sob stories of others who might be saying things like "the lab was very difficult". and go over all of the technologies in detail. Please go back to read and revise slowly. paying attention details. I made sure to correct this the next time. Have faith and confidence in your study plan. you may come up with multiple ways to accomplish a certain task. I read everything and there are still topics I had no idea about etc. These will distract you and will add a fear of the unknown. This information is sprinkled in the previous chapters. Since you have already read and configured these technologies you will be doing a speed read and your full day of revision may finish in four hours. There are five different study schedules that we have suggested in Chapter 37 for your reference. Your mind has so much information and will be racing at top speed all of the time. You should think of these as your final dress rehearsals (see Chapter 25 "Jumping into the pool").

In our experience. For our Routing and Switching CCIE. A lab date that is close to your partner will work best for both of you as you will be able to support one another. we have seen that once you book the CCIE lab date. After the first lab attempt.Both of you need to be on the same intensity level for a successful partnership. What We Did (by Vivek) We took turns for our actual lab exam. I(Vlvek) clearly remember that when Dean passed his second CCIE before me. This makes moving forward very smooth. Now is the time to sustain the momentum in your preparation and energy level that is close to that of your partner and vice-versa. Once partner A is back from his lab attempt the roles reverse which works out well. because there may be certain points that you missed or misunderstood from the technology standpoint or as to how the questions are worded. We also attempted one of the labs on the same day. As usual. at the same location. he came over to my house to support me in my final preparations. if you already have one. whereas Dean went first for the Service Provider CCIE. Partner B who is taking the lab later can now play a supportive role to partner A to ensure their success. you start working harder and with more intensity. Revealing any lab information to anyone is against Cisco policy and the agreement that you signed and accepted. Candidates may be barred from taking the actual lab exam in the future if they are found in violation of the Non-Disclosure-Agreement (NDA). we discussed many topics. I understood and respected that as we both signed the non¬disclosure agreement. You can find the latest details about this policy by contacting Cisco or by visiting their website. **** CAUTION **** Do not tell anyone any details of the actual labs that you attempted.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 28: RAPID FIRE Schedule your lab close to your partners You and your partner should schedule your actual lab dates close to each other. This process would help both of you. Vivek attempted the lab first. you both know that it is doable and that you have been through the first bump. This will lead to cancellation and/or revoke of your CCIE certification. you need to ramp up on your weak areas and ask your partner for assistance. but he was very careful and spoke in a very precise way. By that we do not mean that you talk about your actual lab questions. In the event that you did not pass. **** CAUTION **** 47 .

you need to be calm. This should not take more than two to three minutes. most importantly. Read your lab completely from start to finish. Once the core of the network is done. Any logistical questions you have should be directed towards the proctor. it is a good idea to complete these tasks in one go. You may want to consider a ping sweep across the whole network. and nervous). You may need to draw more than one diagram. which is needed to have a smooth redistribution between protocols. assign you a rack number. collected and in-control. just read it. Once your lab starts. The proctors may be doing their daily work like creating and verifying new labs. Draw a diagram of your network with at least the interface numbers and IP addresses. validate your core network. The rack number has to be used across the entire actual lab exam. It all depends on what makes you feel comfortable. Keep in mind that these pages will be taken away by the proctor once you have completed your exam. At times they may start to bring devices up (for their labs) which may be distracting. Give yourself enough time to take care of any traffic or unexpected delays that you may encounter. this is not a rule. but just guidance. Don't try to answer it. cool. now more than ever. This will help you clearly see the bigger picture. make small talk with the candidates that are also there for their lab attempt.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 29: THE SPACEWALK Lab Test Day On the day of your exam arrive at the testing center at least ten to fifteen minutes early. The objective is to combine activities that will save you time. if you have to enable a routing protocol in one task of the lab and change protocol parameters in another part. Their instructions for the lab exam are very crucial and should be followed precisely. keep track of time in whatever way you feel is best. Remember everyone is nervous and anxious. We want to emphasize. Again. facility and. and then authenticate it in another part. remember all of the effort you have put in the last few months is for this moment. He will be providing you logistical information about their policies. Listen to the Lab Proctor very carefully. You need to focus on your task and disregard your entire surrounding's. Some engineers feel that authentication should be done in the end only. as you will become very familiar with the network that you will be working with for the next few hours. For example. as you are all in the same boat (tense. If you feel like it. 48 . Use different colors for different protocols and boundaries on the newly made diagram. This small investment in time will be very helpful. Although you are in a tense environment. You want to make sure that you still have full reachability after every major task you finish. Don't let other attendees distract you. This is the spacewalk you have practiced for. It is a good idea to verify each and every task and tally up the points you have completed as you move along. At the beginning some may be typing fast and others may be talking to themselves.

What We Did (by Dean) • Made multiple diagrams • Used multiple color pencils • Kept alias file in a notepad so that we could use the no command to remove it.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers As you reach lunch time. Do not make any changes in the last 30 to 60 minutes without thinking it through. 49 . also. This is also the time to remove all of the aliases and scripts that you may have used to assist yourself during the lab. Sudden changes might break the lab. Pace yourself accordingly. save all your configurations and reload all of the routers. to verify that everything that you have configured survives a reload. such as troubleshooting and actual lab. you may have different sections. Ideally. Depending on which CCIE track you are following. you should be finished with enough time to spare for a thorough check of your lab. This is a good practice as you will have cleared up any residual configurations that may be affecting you and.

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 30: THE HOUR AFTER LANDING You just came out of the exam. The action plan included immediate registration for next month's lab (in case of a failure). or how you feel about the exam. in case of failure. Tally up your points and see if you have passed the Lab. Make your notes mentally and/or on paper before you begin talking to your family and friends. 50 . nor will the mental notes that you have taken. What We Did (by Dean) After taking the actual exam. The candidate may have configured the lab. one engineer told me (Dean) that two months after his actual lab exam the answer to a problem came to him at the dinner table with his family. **** CAUTION **** At times. it is imperative to reflect and evaluate yourself without any distractions. We write down anything that comes to our minds at all times. as well as the particular practice labs that I should be focusing on. Regardless of how you think you did. This will lead to cancellation and/or revoke of your CCIE certification. the solution to a problem may present itself in the most unusual way. i also wrote down anything that came to my mind including my plans on what to do differently the next time. once you get the official results. You may want to sit somewhere quiet and take some mental notes about what you did and what you can improve upon. Since both of us have so much going on in our minds and we can be forgetful. So. I spent about an hour in the exam parking lot and took some mental notes. This is crucial to your success. **** CAUTION **** Do not tell anyone any details of the actual labs that you attempted. we always have a pen and paper handy. You can find the latest details about this policy by contacting Cisco or by visiting their website. especially. at this time. We strongly advise not to turn your cell phone on. Revealing any lab information to anyone is against Cisco policy and the agreement that you signed and accepted. I found that the mental notes and my action plan would come in handy. this helps keep us on track and may work for you as well. Many candidates have the impression that they have already passed the test and would start celebrating. Candidates may be barred from taking the actual lab exam in the future if they are found in violation of the Non-Disclosure-Agreement (NDA). They are the ones who are the most surprised to see that they have failed the exam. This experience never leaves you. When we interviewed CCIEs for this book. after eight long hours. but may not have realized that the question had asked him to do it differently. These mental notes will come handy as you contemplate and reflect back. if you already have one. Just because you have finished the exam does not mean you followed their guidelines or fully closed any loopholes. you now have seen the actual lab exam and you assess yourself. you should set your emotions aside and reflect on your experience.

Facebook and other on-line communities. then pass on the good word to your colleagues. Keep moving forward till you get your CCIE number. (except for those seeking CCIE) how many times it took you to be a CCIE? All that matters is vour number and the knowledge vou have gained. In the end. If you like our advice and what we have written. Your CCIE will catapult you into a different league and you know you absolutely deserve it. It is very different and requires you to not only know the technologies. Give us a positive review on Amazon. Ask them if it took more than one attempt to pass and you will get an affirmative yes most of the time. both of us passed the CCIE after multiple attempts. What We Did (by Dean) Yes. no one asks you. Thank you! 51 . It also makes you realize that this is unlike any other test you have taken until now. but not impossible. Failure is a part of CCIE and you need to accept this. We know of a few CCIE's who passed in their first attempt. Linkedln. I have seen many colleagues pass on the third and even on the fourth or fifth attempt. The first attempt gives you the lay of the land and the confidence that you need to do it. but the ability to apply them as well. The majority of those CCIE's took multiple attempts to pass the lab.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 31: THE SECOND ATTEMPT IS USUAL Majority of CCIE's have failed more than once Ask any CCIE how many times it took them to pass the lab and you may see some hesitation. The multiple attempts are the battle scars of which you can be proud of. who dreamed of spreading what they learned in their quest for the two CCIEs. but those are very few in number. I (Dean) already told you in Chapter 4 that it was difficult.com A Note From Dean & Vivek: This guidebook is the sole effort of two fellow engineers like you. Share your success stories with us At success@2doubleccies.

Do not let this setback overwhelm you: it is natural that you may feel frustrated that you have invested months of your time with no solid results. so write all of them down. But. it is a small percentage. Do not even think about walking away from it. 2) You may have mixed feelings and are giving yourself a chance at passing. you don't renew your certification which is every two years. you may have to wait until Sunday evening or Monday to find out your results. If you took the exam on Friday. we can count using our fingers how many have passed the CCIE lab on their first attempt. Passing the CCIE in your first attempt is a possibility. Only a few engineers will go this far and attempt to challenge themselves with something like this. you are likely to have one of these three different reactions: 1) You may feel that you did well and are sure that you passed. statistically speaking. you should feel proud of where you are and what you have accomplished. you need to look at your goal of getting your CCIE number. you will most likely get your results by that evening or the next day. If you have not passed remember that failure is part of the process. 52 . This is the price for success. Your inner mind will tell you the doubts you have. However. Find the areas for improvement. in the rare case. If you have taken the exam on a weekday. The exception is if you want to go for a second CCIE or. you will see that you can easily conquer them in a very short time. Once written. 3) You know you did not do well and know that you will not pass. Be in control and continue to execute your strategies. we have seen that. YOU DID IT! You can skip the rest of this chapter and go to Chapter 36 "From Ordinary to Extraordinary". The reality is that. In our combined experience of thirty plus years in networking and meeting countless engineers. then CONGRATULATIONS. You need to give yourself a 24-hour break and then evaluate yourself objectively. If you have passed. (This is a great feeling but the hardest to recover from when you do not pass). Once you complete the actual lab attempt. once you get past the lab exam you will most likely never have to go through this again. which you are willing to pay regardless of the number of attempts.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 32: SELF ALIGNMENT If you fail — shake it off First and foremost. We all want that to happen. so can you. If other engineers have achieved this.

you will hear all kinds of stories. To my surprise. I was close to becoming a CCIE and immediately registered for the next available lab date. when I (Dean) was interviewing CCIE candidates who failed. I was very disappointed.respect. I knew I was close and the scoring that came back gave me an indication that the one small part that I could not solve contributed towards my failure. I did not think that it was that consequential. I thought I had done very well. or even the exam proctors.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers The problem is that we are sometimes our own worst critic. Once you have achieved your certification you will appreciate the high standards of this exam and everything that goes along with it. What We Did (by Vivek) For my second attempt at my Routing and Switching lab (my first CCIE). the CCIE lab is never about remembering but about understanding and applying technology to solve problems or make the network serve the needs of the lab exam. The lab does not resemble anything that you may have seen in any production network. After coming out of the exam. Now that you have taken the actual lab exam. For example. I had failed on this attempt. I tallied my score. I was relaxed and absolutely confident that I had passed. When the results came. I even asked the proctor if he could evaluate my exam faster. I even reloaded my devices just to make sure. I was not pressed for time and was able to check my work at the end. Do not get discouraged: shake off the negative thoughts and think of the fame. Your attempt has told you that the lab is not impossible and after this experience you should feel empowered and be ready to use this to your advantage. I knew that I had to shake it off and move forward. you probably won't be running four Interior Gateway Protocols (IGP) on a single router in your enterprise network. This is doable! 53 . you will realize why only a few engineers pass. I promised myself that I would do better and work harder. and monetary rewards that you will have. This could happen while working on an unrelated problem or even at a family dinner. but there was one small part not working. Your experiences gained from best practices may hinder you from the assigned task and you may have to think outside the box. As you have realized by now. Some get so frustrated that they try to sleep in their assigned seat as they do not even know where to start. Once you start reviewing your material you may recognize that some of the questions from the actual lab can be found in many of those practice labs. If you have talked to other engineers. many indicated that answers to some of the questions came to them after days or even weeks of taking the exam. There are engineers who will read the lab exam and walk away from the lab within a few minutes.

Your silly mistakes and errors that caused you grief earlier will be miniscule now. labs. My typing mistakes went up and I began to drag my feet. put things into perspective and try to see what went wrong and give yourself one week per topic in which you think you need to improve or ramp up on. All your hard work has brought you this far. If you ran out of time in your lab exam. In about two weeks' time you should have a grasp of how much more time is needed to master the technologies you felt you could do better at. you will get your focus and concentration back. CCIE Lab is exactly like we described in Chapter 4 "CCIE is difficult but not impossible". but not impossible. This started our partnership. the strategies in this book are track independent and still applicable. set a goal of finishing your practice labs in seven hours. Encouraged by Dean. and problems you encounter. take one or two days off and then get right back to work. Do not break the momentum. I would be buying it. It is important. Think of your setback as a stepping stone. I took about two weeks off and then started to slowly ramp up my study schedule again. You can easily adjust these according to your specific needs.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 33: THE NEXT ROUND Keep it close After your CCIE lab results. What We Did (by Vivek) I (Vlvek) made the mistake of giving myself an extended break. Start looking for a suitable lab exam date and reserve the first available slot in four to six weeks (since two weeks have already passed). What used to be a marathon for you will appear like any other race. or had Dean not encouraged me. to emphasize that this book is certification track independent. In short. You will start studying long hours and keep thinking of technologies. Confirm with the Cisco website and follow your training program guide that you purchased. Always keep your next attempt within no more than four to eight weeks. the eight-hour CCIE Lab format is different for R&S as compared to Voice or Security. Had I waited a little longer. I procrastinated and soon it had been a month and I realized that I had started to forget things. I was not studying with Dean. Each track has its own exam requirements that do change and you need to make sure to understand your track. you will be humming along like a well-tuned engine. Tasks that were difficult the last time will now appear to be easier. When you come back from your lab attempt. Since you have experienced the lab once. so continue to work on technologies that you think you could improve upon and would be to your benefit. I set up a lab date. That is when Dean came in and he pulled me up. I couldn't focus for eight hours to do a lab. once again. This is a very important lesson that we learned the hard way. assess yourself and see if you are ready to once again sit for the exam. This will give you about an hour to check your results in the real lab. Nonetheless. We also understand that as of writing this book. If you keep on doing this even while sleeping then you are there. difficult and challenging. At that time. 54 . As soon as you set your next lab date you will go on auto pilot. I would not be writing this book. When I failed my first CCIE lab attempt. After two weeks.

and make a lot of typing mistakes and want to save time make a reasonable list of aliases to use in the lab. b.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 34: DO'S This chapter encompasses all those little things that may seem insignificant but are extremely beneficial. 8. Make sure that. If you are using help "?" during the core portion of the lab. sir = show ip route d. Learn to move between different types of Cisco IOS. a. There is no Fast Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet interface in NX-OS. All are simply Ethernet. for example. sion = show ipospf neighbor e. you may have to move between devices that have IOS. Use of "?" is your friend and enemy at the same time. everyone uses DYNAMIPS or GNS3 for lab simulation because of its convenience. Be aware of that. a. 5. Use of help "?" towards the end is recommended as you try to go into different levels in a particular command group and try to find the options available. srb = sh run | begin • eg. It is good for training but do practice on real devices also. it usually means that you need more practice. Reboot time of different platforms is different. IOS XE. Nowadays. sibs = show ip bgp summary i. NX-OS. Dean did that but I did not. sib = show ip bgp h. c = config t c. 6. We are bad at typing. at the completion of your lab. So. 7. Many hardware specific features can only be tested on real devices. Candidates usually try typing the minimum. sri = show run | include • eg. For example. so we had the following aliases for my Routing and Switching Lab. Depending on which CCIE you are attempting. sri network will display all of the network statements j. I know of a few engineers who recommend saving the initial configurations to a file before you start. The "wr mem" in some versions of IOS-XR is equivalent to commit (be cautious) c. Another thing that will help you is to go through the initial configurations of your devices. 1. sien = show ip eigrp neighbor g. the configuration of Route Distinguisher (RD) in IOS is different from that in IOS-XR. For example "wr" for saving configurations and "swi po ac" (switch port access). 2. you may notice the difference in time when you do a "wr mem" or the reload times. etc. IOS XR. 4. sioi = show ip ospf interface f. I (Vlvek| used to type all of my alias commands in a notepad and have the remove-option also ready with a "no" command in front of all. 3. Use of alias command. Use of "?" just wastes time. 55 . Many engineers who are like us. This will help you spot errors and give you a general idea of how things are configured at the start of the lab. srb bgp will display configuration bgp onwards. Working on a real device is a different feeling. s = show ip interface brief b. you remove all of the alias commands.

For us. ergonomic furniture and other things like coffee. 6. then take a jacket with you. tea. but make sure you don't get mired by the many what if scenarios people post. Each person has his own style of learning and I am not saying what others are posting is wrong. I have seen engineers hide this fact. By environment I mean good lighting. comfortable temperature. PUTTY. 5. SECURECRT etc). Use the same terminal emulator (HYPERTERM. The non-technical do's. such as duplex mismatch. Sometimes a simple technology. 3. Make sure you are studying in a very comfortable environment. If you prefer to join mailer lists or other CCIE study sites. can drag on and many questions can be raised. I say this because you can choose the venue of your choice depending on whether you are an early morning or a late morning person. Check what time the lab starts. 11. The science part is the logic used for honing in to the trouble area and the art part is to reach the most probable cause without going through all of the iterations. etc. paper. As soon as you announce this to the world your mind will be committed and start working towards making this happen. printer. 7. Some conversations are informative and could help with your exam. please join. whiteboard. friends and family were ready to help. and good tips like the ones we have in this book. Don't do that. 2. 4. Troubleshooting is both a science and an art. We got a lot of support in many forms. You will be sitting for eight hours and you might start feeling cold. 1. pens. that is being used in the Lab where you are planning to take the Lab exam. If you are sensitive to room temperature. Many questions are answered just by reading what others have posted. Decide when you are going to study for a particular CCIE track. 56 . Get used to sitting for eight hours.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers 9. Make sure to visit your Lab book provider's forums and support group. Only then new doors will open and opportunities will come. technical help on specific topics. and announce it. But if you have a limited amount of time then knowing the ins and outs of how automatic speed and duplex is negotiated deep down to the voltages. is not recommended. 10. Stretch your limits get uncomfortable and step out of your comfort zone.

for example PUTTY or SECURECRT or something else. or with your instructor. but if there are a lot of gloom and doom type of personalities in a particular group. In our experience it has worked for very few individuals. it is your individual preference. use them as a guiding tool. 1. Use a standard generic keyboard. making changes unintentionally. 5. you may not get your questions answered. then take the boot camp at the end of your studies just a few weeks before your scheduled lab date. There are always exceptions and our advice is based on our experiences only. One for the routers and another for the switches. Having a group of five or more does not really work out. it is a good idea to join CCIE study groups. Therefore. Check the Cisco website for detailed policies regarding NDA. The same holds true for keyboards. 4. As we have told you throughout this book. 3. The boot-camps may not be teaching new concepts. If you are looking for a good study partner. In our experience. For my Routing and Switching Lab I used two windows. you may look at these study groups as a vehicle to find your study partner. This will get you accustomed to typing RACK number 5 or 8. Please check to see if the terminal emulator in the actual lab allows use of tabbed session windows. I was using a Logitech fancy curved keyboard. As we mentioned in Chapter 34 "Do's". this will only slow you down. 7. A friend of mine tried that approach and after the boot camp he realized how much he didn't know and needed to study. 8. 6. Also validate which emulator is being used. In my lab I had a generic standard keyboard and that slowed me down considerably as I was used to the Ctrl + shift+6 keys on my special keyboard. Some groups are great for networking and relationship building. If you divulge any of this you are putting yourself and the other person at risk. avoid them. You should get familiar with their features (just in case of any future changes). Decide if you will be using tabs or multiple windows for your sessions. which is in the middle of the keyboard and slightly difficult to type as compared to RACK 1. 57 . We may be used to multiple monitors on our computer. online. 2. so try using RACK15 or RACK18. You need to verify the terminal hardware of the lab by accessing Cisco's website or asking them since things change rapidly. Neither in person. I (vivek) had this problem when I went for my first lab. two or a maximum of three is a good number of partners. For example. If you join a crowded study group. Keep changing it to RACK? or any other number.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 35: DON'TS This chapter encompasses all of those little things that may inhibit your progress. None of these approaches are right or wrong. do not discuss any details of your lab with anyone. I used the "ctrl+shift+6 x" technique to switch between different devices within that window. most of the time and you will find yourself only doing hands on activities. the clipboard may contain information that you highlight from another window and by right clicking you are pasting that content in your router and therefore. Double digit rack numbers are also not that easy. You don't need their negative energy. If you are prepared. You just don't have the luxury of time. For my Service Provider lab I had all devices open in different individual windows. because you don't know what rack number you are going to get in the actual lab. 9. Don't go and just attend a boot camp and then attempt the lab. Don't always use RACK1 on your personal labs. but it may not be the same in the lab.

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers 10. Brute force method. There are no shortcuts to a CCIE and that is the reason there are only a few of them in the world. What we mean by this is that you go and take the lab five or six times and remember all of the questions. By the seventh or eighth lab you will be able to pass. BRUTE FORCE DOES NOT WORK. 58 .

Some employers add your CCIE qualification in the company directory and the CCIE logo may be used in your business card. so seek out new ways to learn and grow. the management gave me full access to their network to resolve one of their on-going issues. they would ask me all kinds of related and unrelated questions or issues concerning their network. he was so excited. He told me that at the same time that I received my notification for passing the exam. You will find that you have so much time. that you can catch-up with friends and family activities. management. I was not used to hearing. don't stay stagnant. once they realized that I am a CCIE. The watch. especially in the evenings or weekends. so the perception of you knowing all and be asked to troubleshoot will present itself at times. This means some or all of the costs that you incurred for this exam may be covered by your employer. but don't fall into the trap that you know everything. I called up my manager to tell him. Dean found that during his many years of teaching. you should reward yourself. What CCIE means is that you can find the answers. anywhere I went. If you don't use it. Continuous learning is part of the process. At one particular company. This is a great feeling. Keep in mind that full access comes with full responsibility. you will lose it. The last thing that you want to do is to bring a bad reputation to yourself and lose face with customers. It stated that he should be proud to have an individual with such skills on his staff and that this certification was a difficult and arduous process and that both of us should be congratulated for such an accomplishment. market yourself and look for opportunities that would keep your skills sharpened. They may also allocate cash and other rewards for engineers who succeed in passing the CCIE Lab. it doesn't mean that you should sit back and do nothing. he also got an e-mail informing him of the news (this happened because we were both with Cisco). the motorcycle or that family cruise that you visualized for yourself at the beginning of this journey is now a possibility. even though I was there to meet a friend for a social event. If you are looking for financial compensation or are thinking of taking on new challenges. so keep up with the technology and build a personal network that can help you with your endeavors. From then on. Many companies such as including Cisco partners facilitate and encourage your pursuit of CCIE. Use this new found fame and success to enhance your career and explore the many opportunities that await you. Since you have accomplished your goal. vendors and even at times. but I didn't know why. this is the time to polish your resume. this especially from customers. by taking the written test either for the same 59 . Keep in mind that just because you are a CCIE. Please follow Cisco's logo usage guidelines prior to printing your new business card. one thing that CCIE gave him was instant credibility since many engineers understand what it took to reach this level of expertise.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 36: FROM ORDINARY TO EXTRAORDINARY CCIE Success When I (Dean)got my CCIE. Within the span of two short years you have to recertify your CCIE.

They may not be as marketable or prestigious anymore. your knowledge is as good as two years. "The betterment of the world can be accomplished through pure and goodly deeds and commendable and seemingly conduct". Even after earning our CCIEs. I bought myself the gift that I wanted as my own personal reward and bought the rest of the family their CCIE gift. What We Did (by Dean) After reflecting on my accomplishment of passing CCIE exam. Since I was used to taking advantage of every possible minute for my CCIE exam. They do not want to lose that fame and authority that they attained with a CCIE to someone else. you are expected to keep current and relevant. and what it took to get there. as soon as the students find out that I am a double CCIE they will approach me invariably to find out how they could do the same. I decided to take the kids and the family out and spend every minute of that weekend with them. we still pursue the latest technologies and try to take on projects that peak our interest. Both Vivek and I feel that CCIE certification is a life changing experience and will make any engineer appreciate the knowledge and hard work that went into it. A Wiseman once said. 60 . You will enjoy the rewards for many years to come. There are some people that don't want everyone to have what they have. This was one of the foremost factors that prompted both Vivek and I to write this book and provide vou with our approach and good honest advice. In the ever changing field of technology. When I am teaching. This kind of preparation and dedication will empower you and change your own perspective of yourself and how others view you. It makes you a better person and what you benefit from this experience will profit those around you as well. I realized that my second job was over and I could return to my "normal life. Remember to use the same dedication and hard work to achieve all of vour goals in life." I suddenly had three to four hours each evening and the whole weekend free.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers track or on a different track.

or your office. 1. 4. consider your environment. Decide on and obtain the various CCIE reference books you will be using. Private (first timers) Timeline Sergeants (One lab attempted) Timeline Veterans Timeline SEAL (subsequent CCIE)Timeline Super Hero (subsequent CCIE) Timeline (Page # 144) (Page # 151) (Page #158) (Page #165) (Page #172) Private (First timers) Timeline As the name suggests. lighting and other factors which may play an 61 .Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 37: SUGGESTED TIMELINES FOR CCIE PREPARATION Make a map of your path to Success If you are reading this chapter just after reading one or two other chapters in this book you may not understand clearly what we are suggesting to do in different parts of a timeline. this timeline is for someone who is attempting to study for CCIE lab for the first time. It could be a room in your house. 2. 2. in the library 6. Select a training provider and purchase the necessary courseware. 3. Determine what types of hardware you need to simulate your lab. These suggestions are there to give you direction. temperature. this timeline can compensate for about 40 hours to 60 hours of lead time. If possible. 5. but the pace has to be adjusted according to vour style and situation. Please add more if you need to. If you plan to buy actual lab hardware. It is recommended that you read the book completely so that you may take full advantage of these strategic timelines. Find a location to study on weekdays as well as weekends. 3. Depending on your study style. 5. (Refer to Chapter 8: Managing External Influences) Day 1 to Day 15 (15 Days) Prepare for your journey Use this period to acquire all of the resources that you will need for the next nine to twelve months. Here is a short list. We are always asked about a guideline for the pace of study so we are providing with five different ones. make sure it has the required IDS versions and all of the necessary interfaces and cables for simulating your lab network. This gives you sufficient time to prepare and some extra time for getting into hard-study mode. 1. a friend's or partner's house. 4.

this means you need more rest and sleep. 10. 62 . This would also be a good time to get your family. Start reading and if you fall asleep that is okay. Every moment you should be thinking about how you could find more time for yourself. "what you have done today to make your CCIE number a reality?" Every small step counts. if possible. This time should be used to go over the complete Video on Demand. ask yourself. If you are going to use aliases then those should be finalized and remembered. 13. Select economically correct settings. If it's too cold you feel uncomfortable. If it's too hot. chair. mouse. Catch up on your sleep and prepare yourself mentally. Ensure your environment is well lit with both natural and artificial light so that you will be able to see the sun during the day or open a window if need be. etc. move around and. Have plenty of blank paper and color pencils/pens (at least six colors). and that is you. Twitter. By the end of this time you should not only feel confident in all of the technologies. 7. Make sure to have water and healthy snacks during your practice lab sessions. your muscles and joints may get stiff. you feel sleepy. You should also be very familiar with using Cisco documentation WebPages by now. so don't forget to stretch as needed. 8. 9. boss and colleagues on board. Do all of the short labs that are focused on a specific technology.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers important role in your comfort during study periods. Take your lunch to work. desk. video games. Day 31 to Day 120 (90 Days) The CORE This is the core of your preparation. inner circle. you need to tune the one last resource. 11. 12. and YouTube subscriptions. do quick pushups (Please take your physicians advice in case of any physical issues). You will need to make diagrams of your network and mark them for different protocol boundaries and technologies. but should also have improved your typing skills. you can exercise while Day 16 to Day 30 (15 Days) Journey Begins Now that you have all of your external resources in place. Since you will be spending extended hours working on your lab. etc. ie. detach yourself from TV. When you feel a need for an extended break. Have comfortable clothing and footwear. Every day.

By the end of this period.5 hours per session. 63 . Take a lunch break after four hours. By Day 240 you should be finishing the labs in about six and half to seven hours (assuming that this is an eight-hour lab). You should practice troubleshooting to resolve either an existing problem or by solving your own mis-configuration. Your comfort level will increase as you have already gone through many of the permutations and combinations of technologies that can be presented. We are stressing on this because you will be under slightly more pressure during the real lab test. you realize slight differences. multicast. Schedule some time on the rental equipment if you have been using a simulator. One small mistake and you can panic and create even more mistakes.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Day 121 to Day 150 (30 Days) Taking the Leap During these thirty days you should attempt to finish at least five to six full eight-hour labs. you should be connecting the dots. you will be doing it in parts and that's acceptable at this phase. You will see that "wr mem" takes a little longer and device reloads take even longer. You should time yourself and keep a tally. If you still can't resolve the issue. can be fully tested and troubleshot (which is not the case in a simulator). and layer two features. By working on real live equipment. Certain features that are hardware specific like queuing. Choose a random lab or let someone else choose it for you and think of the lab as if you are at the CCIE testing center. Time allotment for rental equipment is about 11. By the end of this phase. Day 211 to Day 240 (30 Days) Inside the simulator This is the time when you start doing the labs as if you were taking the exam. You will frequently get stuck. Use Cisco documentation as much as possible and learn how to manually search for commands and references. All of this will add to your knowledge. almost the real deal. you should have a good idea of your progress and schedule your lab date around day 240 (about 90 days ahead) Day 151 to Day 210 (60 Days) The great push This is the time when you start doing complete full eight-hour practice labs. call up your study partner and see if you can resolve the issues together. You should be able to see how technologies will fall into place and how they can be manipulated to accomplish the requirements in the question. try to figure out the answer yourself before looking at the solution. Initially. then look it up on the Internet. This should give you enough time to verify everything thoroughly and reload the routers just to make sure. Your typing speed and accuracy will further improve and you should be able to concentrate for four to six hours and work without getting tired or need extensive breaks. Choose the time that is as close as possible to the actual lab time at the testing venue of your choice. If you have already spent twenty to thirty minutes. We expect you to complete the labs during this phase. You want to make all of those small mistakes and panic and get over this tendency now.

You should start right back up after seeing your score and dig deeper in whatever you think you can improve on. and start again. schedule your second lab attempt as soon as possible (See Chapter 33 "The Next round").Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Day 241 to 270 (30 Days) Battle stations Your first scheduled lab attempt should be in this phase. Depending on how you feel about your preparedness. Day 271 to Day 360 (90 Days) Revisiting the Enemy to conquer These 60 days combined with the 30 days from the prior phase are reserved for you to schedule and take your next two attempts. If you don't pass it is OK. you have to be persistent (keep studying and improving without taking a very long break) and keep persevering. If you pass on your first attempt. congratulations! You did great and should now be thinking of your second CCIE. This is normal. As we said in Chapter 31 "The second attempt is usual". so charge ahead un-perturbed. 64 . Give yourself a break of no more that 24 to 48 hours. Remember.

Here is a short list. Yoga. temperature. 4. Have plenty of blank paper and color pencils/pens (at least six colors). 5. etc. Select a training provider and purchase the necessary courseware. It could be a room in your house. a friend's or partner's house. Please add more if need be. Find a location to study on weekdays as well as weekends. If it's too cold you feel uncomfortable. so don't forget to stretch as needed. 7. as this is for someone who has some CCIE lab experience. This gets you refreshed and keeps your mind and body moving. 11. chair. etc. Ensure your environment is well lit with both natural and artificial light so that you will be able to see the sun during the day or open a window if need be. 13. 10. This timeline can afford about 30 to 45 hours of lead time (Refer to Chapter 8: Managing External Influences) and has a healthy pace that keeps you on the edge during the entire 10 months. Maybe you are someone who was an unsuccessful in your lab attempt a year ago and gave up after that. If possible. 12. Tai-chi. 3. 2. 6. desk. Make sure to have water and healthy snacks during your practice lab sessions. Day 1 to day 4 (4 Days) Prepare for your journey Use this period to acquire all of the resources needed for the next 10 months. make sure it has the required IDS versions and all of the necessary interfaces for simulating your lab network. lighting and other factors which may play an important role in your comfort during study periods. Determine what types of hardware you need to simulate your lab. You will need to make diagrams of your network and mark them for different protocol boundaries and technologies. move around and. If you plan to buy actual lab hardware. ie. consider your environment. Decide on and acquire which CCIE reference books you will be using. Since you will be spending extended hours working on your lab your muscles and joints may get stiff. When you feel a need for an extended break. If it's too hot you feel sleepy. mouse. do quick pushups (please take your physicians advice in case of any physical issues). 1. you can exercise while watching a quick workout video such as Pilates. 8. 65 . Have comfortable clothing and footwear. Select economically correct settings. if possible. 9. in the library or your office.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Sergeant's (One Lab Attempted) Timeline We call this a Sergeant's timeline.

you should have a good idea of your progress and should schedule your lab date around day 200 (about 80 days ahead). you need to tune the one last resource and that is you. This time should be spent going over the complete Video on Demand. but should also have improved your typing skills.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Day 5 to Day 7 (3 Days) Journey Begins Now that you have all of your external resources are in place. If you are going to use aliases then those should be finalized and remembered. It is okay if you find yourself falling asleep at this point. Catch up on your sleep and prepare yourself mentally. Twitter feeds and YouTube subscriptions. You will frequently get stuck. then look it up on the Internet. detach yourself from the TV. etc. you will be doing it in parts and that's acceptable at this phase. Use Cisco documentation as much as possible and learn how to manually search for commands and references. inner circle. video games. try to figure out the answer yourself before looking at the solution. You should spend every moment thinking about how you could find more time for yourself. ask yourself "what you have done today to make your CCIE number a reality?" Every small step counts. Day 91 to Day 120 (30 Days) Taking the Leap During these thirty days you should attempt to finish at least five to six full eight-hour labs. Start putting in the time to read. Take your lunch to work. If you still can't resolve the issue. This would also be a good time to get your family. 66 . Every day. call up your study partner and see if you can resolve the issues together. By the end of this phase. This means that you need more rest. All of this will add to your knowledge. If you have already spent twenty to thirty minutes. By the end of this time you should not only feel more confident in all of the technologies. Do all of the short labs that are focused on a specific technology. You should also be very familiar with using Cisco documentation WebPages by now. Initially. Day 08 to Day 90 (83 Days) The CORE This is the core of your preparation. boss and colleagues on board.

This is normal. This should give you enough time to verify everything thoroughly and reload the routers just to make sure. You should start right back up after seeing your score and dig deeper in whatever you think you have to improve on. Your comfort level will increase as you have already gone through many of the permutations and combinations of technologies that may be presented. 67 . We expect you to complete the labs during this phase. You will see that "wr mem" takes a little longer and device reloads take even longer. Choose a random lab or let someone else choose it for you and think of the lab as if you are at the CCIE testing center. As we said in Chapter 31 "The second attempt is usual". Certain features that are hardware specific like queuing. you realize slight differences.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Day 121 to Day 170 (50 Days) The great push This is the time when you start doing complete full eight-hour practice labs. You should be able to see how technologies fall into place and how they can be manipulated to accomplish the requirements in the question. By working on real live equipment. By the end of this period. Take a lunch break after four hours. Depending on how you feel about your preparedness. We are stressing on this because you will be under slightly more pressure during the real lab test. Schedule some time on the rental equipment if you have been using a simulator. You should time yourself and keep a tally.5 hours per session. so charge ahead un-perturbed. and start again. You want to make all of those small mistakes and panic and get over this tendency now. Choose the time that is as close as possible to the actual lab time at the testing venue of your choice. You should practice troubleshooting to resolve either an existing problem or by solving your own mis-configuration. Day 171 to Day 200 (30 days) Inside the simulator This is the time when you start doing the labs as if you were taking the exam. If you don't pass it is OK. If you pass on your first attempt. almost the real deal. Give yourself a break of no more that 24 to 48 hours. Time allotment for rental equipment is about 11. Your typing speed and accuracy will further improve and you should be able to concentrate for four to six hours and work without feeling tired or needing extensive breaks. Day 201 to 291 (90 Days) Battle stations Your first scheduled lab attempt should be in this phase. congratulations! You did great and should now be thinking of your second CCIE. One small mistake and you can panic and create even more mistakes. By Day 200 you should be finishing the labs in about six and half to seven hours (assuming that this is an eight-hour lab). multicast. you should be connecting the dots. can be fully tested and troubleshot (which is not the case in a simulator). and layer two features. schedule your second lab attempt as soon as possible (See Chapter 33 "The Next round").

Make sure to have water and healthy snacks during your practice lab sessions. 68 . Yoga. 4. If possible. Select a training provider and purchase the necessary courseware. Determine what types of hardware you need to simulate your lab. Day 1 (1 Day) Prepare for your journey Use this period to acquire all of the resources that you will need for the next 265 days. You would be someone who has been thinking about CCIE recently and has a clear opinion about which training provider they would use and a good amount of work experience in technologies that will be in the CCIE Lab exam. You will need to make diagrams of your network and mark them for different protocol boundaries and technologies. Have plenty of blank paper and color pencils/pens (at least six colors). mouse. Select economically correct settings. 2. If you plan to buy actual lab hardware. 7. 9. 8. 12. etc. a friend's or partner's house. 11. 5. Here is a short list. lighting and other factors which may play an important role on your comfort during study periods. Find a location to study on weekdays as well as weekends. 10. etc. you feel sleepy. you feel uncomfortable. desk. Tai-chi. so don't forget to stretch as needed. 13. your muscles and joints may get stiff. Since you will be spending extended hours working on your lab. chair. 6. When you feel a need for an extended break. This timeline would be best for someone who has studied a great deal for his/her CCIE recently and has most likely attempted the lab. It could be a room in your house. you can exercise while watching a quick workout video such as Pilates. move around and. This gets you refreshed and keeps your mind and body moving. make sure it has the required IDS versions and has all of the necessary interfaces for simulating your lab network. ie. If it's too hot. consider your environment. do quick pushups (please take your physicians advice in case of any physical issues). If it's too cold. This timeline can afford about 20 to 30 hours of lead time (refer to Chapter 8: Managing External Influences) and has an aggressive pace that keeps you on the edge. Ensure your environment is well lit with both natural and artificial light so that you will be able to see the sun during the day or open a window if need be.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Veterans Timeline This timeline is surely not for someone who has just started studying for his/her CCIE the first time. Decide on and acquire which CCIE reference books you will be using. if possible. Have comfortable clothing and footwear. in the library or your office. 3. Please add more if need be. temperature. 1.

By the end of this time you should not only feel more confident in all of the technologies. try to figure out the answer yourself before looking at the solution. We expect you to complete the labs during this phase. detach yourself from the TV. Initially. You should spend every moment thinking about how you could find more time for yourself. By the end of this phase. Use Cisco documentation as much as possible and learn how to manually search for commands and references. etc. This time should be spent going over the complete Video on Demand. Take your lunch to work.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Day 2 (1 Day) Journey Begins Now that you have all of your external resources are in place. You will frequently get stuck. you should have a good idea of your progress and should schedule your lab date around day 170 (about 70 days ahead). You should be able to see how technologies fall into place and how they can be manipulated to accomplish the requirements in the question. Catch up on your sleep and prepare yourself mentally. Day 101 to Day 150 (50 Days) The great push This is the time when you start doing complete full eight-hour practice labs. By the end of this period. You should also be very familiar with using Cisco documentation WebPages by now. If you have already spent twenty to thirty minutes call up your study partner and see if you can resolve the issues together. During these thirty days you should attempt to finish at least five to six full eight-hour labs. It is okay if you find yourself falling asleep at this point. Your typing speed and accuracy will further improve and you should be able to concentrate for four to six hours and work without feeling tired or needing extensive breaks. ask yourself "what you have done today to make your CCIE number a reality"? Every small step counts. You will frequently get stuck. but should also have improved your typing skills. Twitter feeds and YouTube subscriptions. Day 03 to Day 80 (78 Days) The CORE This is the core of your preparation. Every day. then look it up on the Internet. Start putting in the time to read. If you still can't resolve the issue. You should practice troubleshooting to resolve either an existing problem or by solving your own mis-configuration. Do all of the short labs that are focused on a specific technology. Day 81 to Day 100 (20 Days) Taking the Leap During these twenty days you should attempt to finish at least five to six full eight-hour labs. you will be doing it in parts and that's acceptable at this phase. This means that you need more rest. you will be doing it in parts and that's acceptable at this phase. Your comfort level will increase as you have already gone through many of the permutations and combinations of technologies that may be presented. boss and colleagues on board. video games. you need to tune the one last resource and that is you. try to figure out 69 . you should be connecting the dots. This would also be a good time to get your family. Initially. All of this will add to your knowledge. If you are going to use aliases then those should be finalized and remembered. inner circle.

You should time yourself and keep a tally. so charge ahead un-perturbed. Take a lunch break after four hours. We are stressing on this because you will be under slightly more pressure during the real lab test. call up your study partner and see if you can resolve the issues together. Give yourself a break of no more that 24 to 48 hours. and start again. You will see that "wr mem" takes a little longer and device reloads take even longer. As we said in Chapter 31 "The second attempt is usual". and layer two features. 70 . All of this will add to your knowledge. Certain features that are hardware specific like queuing.5 hours per session. If you still can't resolve the issue. Choose the time that is as close as possible to the actual lab time at the testing venue of your choice. almost the real deal. can be fully tested and troubleshot (which is not the case in a simulator). This is normal. you should have a good idea of your progress and schedule your lab date around day 240 (about 90 days ahead). Time allotment for rental equipment is about 11.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers the answer yourself before looking at the solution. congratulations! You did great and should now be thinking of your second CCIE. If you don't pass it is OK. You should start right back up after seeing your score and dig deeper in whatever you think you have to improve on. Choose a random lab or let someone else choose it for you and think of the lab as if you are at the CCIE testing center. You want to make all of those small mistakes and panic and get over this tendency now. This should give you enough time to verify everything thoroughly and reload the routers just to make sure. One small mistake and you can panic and create even more mistakes. then look it up on the Internet. schedule your second lab attempt as soon as possible (See Chapter 33 "The Next round"). Use Cisco documentation as much as possible and learn how to manually search for commands and references. By Day 170 you should be finishing the labs in about six and half to seven hours (assuming that this is an eight-hour lab). Depending on how you feel about your preparedness. Day 151 to Day 175 (25 days) Inside the simulator This is the time when you start doing the labs as if you were taking the exam. multicast. By working on real live equipment. Schedule some time on the rental equipment if you have been using a simulator. you realize slight differences. If you pass on your first attempt. Day 176 to 265 (90 Days) Battle stations Your first scheduled lab attempt should be in this phase. By the end of this phase. If you have already spent twenty to thirty minutes.

If it's too hot you feel sleepy. When you feel a need for an extended break. If it's too cold you feel uncomfortable. Yoga. ie. Select a training provider and purchase the necessary courseware. Prepare for your journey You don't need this phase as you know all of this. You are someone who is already the best. If possible. move around and. 11. 3. temperature. You know the technologies and probably have a CCIE already and are highly motivated. This gets you refreshed and keeps your mind and body moving. consider your environment. so don't forget to stretch as needed. Make sure to have water and healthy snacks during your practice lab sessions 13. chair. You may have just finished one CCIE in the past one year. lighting and other factors which may play an important role in your comfort during study periods. Since you will be spending extended hours working on your lab. etc. in the library or your office. etc. 9. Determine what types of hardware you need to simulate your lab. We leave the activities here only as a reference. 5. 7. You will need to make diagrams of your network and mark them for different protocol boundaries and technologies. This timeline can afford a lead time (refer to Chapter 8: Managing External Influences) of about 20 to 30 hours only. Decide on and acquire which CCIE reference books you will be using. Have plenty of blank paper and color pencils/pens (at least six colors). Find a location to study on weekdays as well as weekends. Ensure your environment is well lit with both natural and artificial light so that you will be able to see the sun during the day or open a window if need be. 1. mouse. make sure it has the required IOS versions and all of the necessary interfaces for simulating your lab network. Select economically correct settings. It could be a room in your house. 10. 2. Tai-chi. 12. if possible. If you plan to buy actual lab hardware. 8. do quick pushups (please take your physicians advice in case of any physical issues). 4. a friend's or partner's house. desk.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers SEAL (Subsequent CCIE) Timeline We call this a SEAL timeline because this is for someone who is as perfect as a NAVY SEAL. 71 . your muscles and joints may get stiff. 6. you can exercise while watching a quick workout video such as Pilates. Have comfortable clothing and footwear.

If you have already spent twenty to thirty minutes call up your study partner and see if you can resolve the issues together. This time phase also sharpens your typing skills including both speed and accuracy. Do all of the short labs that are specific technology focused. Use Cisco documentation as much as possible and learn how to manually search for commands and references. You also have a good practice of troubleshooting as you try to solve the issues that are created by you during your work. You should also be very familiar with using Cisco documentation WebPages by now. You will frequently get stuck. movies and other usual entertainment activities. individual technologies will become very clear in your mind as you have already gone through many of the permutations and combinations they can be presented in. If you still can't resolve the issue. but also have a good speed of typing without making any mistakes. 72 . By the end of this phase. so they help in keeping your workload to a minimum. You also have the family and colleagues at work on board. You should be able to concentrate for six to eight hours and work without feeling tired. Initially. Day 02 to Day 60 (59 Days) The CORE This is the core of your preparation. Day 61 to Day 90 (30 Days) Taking the Leap During these 30 days you should attempt to finish at least ten to twelve full eight-hour labs. This phase should be used to go over the complete Video on Demand. you should not only feel confident in all of the technologies. By the end of this time. We expect you to complete about twenty labs of your choice twice during this time. you will be doing it in parts and that's acceptable at this phase. then search the Internet. try to figure out the answer yourself before looking at the solution. All of this will add to your knowledge. If you are going to use the aliases then those should be finalized and remembered. Day 91 to Day 130 (40 Days) The great push This is the time when you start doing complete labs. you should have a good idea of your progress and schedule your lab date around day 155 (about 65 days ahead). This phase will reinforce many of the technologies you already know and fill in any gaps that may exist. By the end of this phase. You can easily detach yourself from activities like watching football games.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Day 1 (1 Day) Journey Begins You are already good at what you do and can easily allocate time for study.

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two
Engineers

Day 131 to Day 155 (25 days)
Inside the simulator
This is the time when you start doing the labs as if you were taking the exam, almost the real deal. Schedule
some time on the rental equipment if you have been using a simulator. Choose a random lab or let someone
else choose it for you and think of the lab as if you are at the CCIE testing center. Time allotment for rental
equipment is about 11.5 hours per session. Choose the time that is as close as possible to the actual lab time
at the testing venue of your choice. You should time yourself and keep a tally. Take a lunch break after four
hours. By working on real live equipment, you realize slight differences. You will see that "wr mem" takes a
little longer and device reloads take even longer. Certain features that are hardware specific like queuing,
multicast, and layer two features, can be fully tested and troubleshot (which is not the case in a simulator).
By Day 150 you should be finishing the labs in about six and half to seven hours (assuming that this is an
eight-hour lab). This should give you enough time to verify everything thoroughly and reload the routers just
to make sure. We are stressing on this because you will be under slightly more pressure during the real lab
test. One small mistake and you can panic and create even more mistakes.
You want to make all of those small mistakes and panic and get over this tendency now.

Day 156 to 245 (90 Days)
Battle stations
Your first scheduled lab attempt should be in this phase. If you pass on your first attempt, congratulations!
You did great and should now be thinking of your second CCIE. If you don't pass it is OK. As we said in
Chapter 31 "The second attempt is usual". This is normal, so charge ahead un-perturbed. You should start
right back up after seeing your score and dig deeper in whatever you think you have to improve on.
Give yourself a break of no more that 24 to 48 hours, and start again. Depending on how you feel about your
preparedness, schedule your second lab attempt as soon as possible (See Chapter 33 "The Next round").

73

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two
Engineers

Super Hero (Subsequent CCIEl Timeline )
We call this a Superhero timeline because this is for someone who is exceptional as a superhero. There are
times when a Cisco partner would want to get a CCIE on their staff in a hurry. I have seen this happen before
where one of Cisco's biggest partner will give its top three engineers six months' time for them to totally
devote to getting a CCIE. This timeline is suited for them. This is also very suitable for an individual who
has just finished a CCIE and wants to go for a subsequent CCIE. This is a very short timeline, as expected.
We assume that since you have been through this process once before, that you are familiar with fine tuning
and preparing yourself to sit for long hours. You should also be comfortable putting aside time every day of
the week and be ready to put in the extra forty plus hours. This timeline worked well for us when we started
to study for our second CCIE about a year after our first CCIE. Consider choosing another timeline if you
cannot devote the needed 40 hour per week. This timeline is very aggressive and assumes that you and your
family are already on board, and that your equipment and choice of Lab training provider have already been
decided. You need access to a quiet place to study where you will be undisturbed. You should have all of the
other requirements that we have suggested in this book in place and are ready to go. This timeline can afford
about 10 to 20 hours of lead time
.
Prepare for your journey
You don't need this phase as you know all of this. We leave the activities here only as a reference.
1. Decide on and acquire which CCIE reference books you will be using.
2. Select a training provider and purchase the necessary courseware.
3. Determine what types of hardware; you need to simulate your lab.
4. If you plan to buy actual lab hardware, make sure it has the required IOS
versions and has all of the necessary interfaces for simulating your lab
network.
5. Find a location to study on weekdays as well as weekends. It could be a room in your house, a friend's or
partner's house, in the library or your office.
6. If possible, take control of your environment, temperature, lighting and other factors which may play an
important role. If it's too hot you feel sleepy. If it's too cold you feel uncomfortable.
7. Select economically correct settings, ie. chair, desk, mouse, etc.
8. Ensure your environment is well lit with both natural and artificial
light so that you will be able to see the sun during the day or open a window if need be.
9. Since you will be spending extended hours working in your lab; your muscles and joints may get stiff, so
don't forget at times you may need to stretch, move around and, if possible, do quick pushups, (please take
your physicians advice in case of any physical issues)
10. Have plenty of blank paper and color pencils/pens (at least six colors). You will need to make diagrams
of your network and mark them for different protocol boundaries and technologies.
11. Have comfortable clothing and footwear.
74

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two
Engineers

12. Make sure to have water and healthy snacks during your practice lab sessions.
13. When you feel a need for an extended break, you can exercise while watching a quick workout video such
as Pilates, Tai-chi, Yoga, etc. This gets you refreshed and keeps your mind and body moving.

Prep Day (1 day)
Journey Begins
You are already good at what you do and can easily allocate time for study. You can easily detach yourself
from activities like watching football games, movies and other usual entertainment activities. You also have
your family and colleagues at work on board, so they help you in keeping your workload to a minimum.

Day 1 to Day 60 (60 Days)
The CORE
This is the core of your preparation. This phase will reinforce many of the technologies you already know
and fill in any gaps that may exist. This phase should be used to go over the complete Video on Demand. Do
all of the short labs that are specific technology focused. By the end of this time, you should not only feel
confident in all of the technologies, but also have a good speed of typing without making any mistakes. If
you are going to use the aliases then those should be finalized and remembered. You should also be very
familiar with using Cisco documentation WebPages by now.

Day 61 to Day 110 (50 Days)
Taking the Leap with the great push
During these fifty days, you should finish all of the four-hour labs, and complete all of the eight-hour labs
that are available to you. Try to finish The eight-hour labs in no more than two sittings. As the individual
technologies are clear on your mind, you will be breezing through these labs. You may get stuck at one stage
or the other, but should be able to come out of it quickly. You should also get yourself a suitable CCIE lab
exam date sometimes during this phase. By the end of this phase, you should be well prepared technology
wise. All you need to do now is to increase your speed, focus and accuracy.
You should have a good idea of your progress by the end of this phase and schedule your lab date around day
150 (about 50 days ahead).

75

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two
Engineers

Day 111 to Day 140 (30 Days)
Inside the simulator
This is the time when you start doing the labs as if you were taking the exam, almost the real deal. Schedule
some time on the rental equipment if you have been using a simulator. Choose a random lab or let someone
else choose it for you and think of the lab as if you are at the CCIE testing center. Time allotment for rental
equipment is about 11.5 hours per session. Choose the time that is as close as possible to the actual lab time
at the testing venue of your choice. You should time yourself and keep a tally. Take a lunch break after four
hours.
By working on real live equipment, you realize slight differences. You will see that "wr mem" takes a little
longer and device reloads take even longer. Certain features that are hardware specific like queuing, multicast,
and layer two features, can be fully tested and troubleshot (which is not the case in a simulator). By Day 130
you should be finishing the labs in about six and half to seven hours (assuming that this is an eight-hour lab).
This should give you enough time to verify everything thoroughly and reload the routers just to make sure.
We are stressing on this because you will be under slightly more pressure during the real lab test. One small
mistake and you can panic and create even more mistakes.
You want to make all of those small mistakes and panic and get over this tendency now.

Day 141 to 190 (50 Days)
Battle stations
Your first scheduled lab attempt should be in this phase. If you pass on your first attempt, congratulations!
You did great and should now be thinking of your second CCIE. If you don't pass it is OK. As we said in
Chapter 31 "The second attempt is usual". This is normal, so charge ahead un-perturbed. You should start
right back up after seeing your score and dig deeper in whatever you think you have to improve on. Give
yourself a break of no more that 24 to 48 hours, and start again. Depending on how you feel about your
preparedness, schedule your second lab attempt as soon as possible (See Chapter 33 "The Next round").

76

we believe that this pursuance of excellence. satisfactory pleasures for the greater and more gratifying long term results of achieving a covetous goal. hopefully. Never listen to those that tell you it is too hard or not worth it. necessary for obtaining your CCIE will be very useful in achieving greater success and in your career growth. Thank You 77 . collaborative effort. through this book. a strong work ethic. made a difference in your hunger. Facebook and other on-line communities. seemed out of reach or even told. which we believe is the first of its kind for CCIE enthusiasts. If you like our advice and what we have written. expanded knowledge. You are devoted enough to purchase this guide book. to be impossible or not worth the sacrifice of giving up all of those short term. Only you. You can also improve on health or even spiritual growth. More importantly. We hope reading this book is just one of the many small and large. time and stress management. pros. which for now is the pursuit of your CCIE number. and have. steps you will take in this life changing journey. dedication. can feel the real joy in achieving a goal that. perseverance. faith (believing in yourself) and many other skills. which could potentially guide you towards a more fulfilling and happier road in your life journey. or any other matter or subject in which you aspire to improve in. organizational skills. Linkedln. if you so desire. which would be the greatest reward for the hard work we put into writing this book. at the beginning. It is our hope that we have. criteria. You have probably spent a lot of time researching all aspects of the variables. appetite and determination to go after and obtain your CCIE. mentioned in this book. cons and many of the other relevant issues that were involved. a positive attitude and determination. read all of the way to this point. through hard work. then pass on the good word to your colleagues. sometimes immediate. by some naysayers.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CONCLUSION You took the initiative to pursue your CCIE certificate. A Note From Dean & Vivek: This guidebook is the sole effort of two fellow engineers like you. Give us a positive review on Amazon. who dreamed of spreading what they learned in their quest for the two CCIEs. team work. We hope to hear your success stories.