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.

Warranty and Disclaimer
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
statutory, including, without limitation, warranties of non-infringement, merchantability or fitness for a
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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!

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

Daria Karimian and Avantika Tiwari for their help with the final editing. 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. teachings and blessings have been the invisible hand guiding me forward all my life. .Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Acknowledgements We would like to thank Donna Menna. We would also like to give a special thank you to Neeka Karimian. we would like to thank everyone else who assisted and encouraged us with this work. A special thanks to my best friend and soulmate who has been there throughout this entire journey. Neeka. Mateen and Ben Karimian for their hospitality and endless supply of tea. To Anisa and Ariana who bring joy and love into my life each and every day. Dedication: Vivek Tiwari: I would like to dedicate this book to my parents and my in-laws. 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. Nadia. Lastly. food and friendship for all those long days and nights we were working on this book. Bahi. 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. our editor for converting our engineer-speak into an understandable and printable language. Your inspiration.

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

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

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

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

5. but they also agree that the results are worth it. 2 . When talking to them. 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. but they will also explain how they were able to work around them. Those who have become CCIEs agree that the exam takes a lot of work and a serious commitment. 2.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Your Top-Five Reasons for Becoming a CCIE 1. 3. 4. They are proud of their achievement. they may describe some of the difficulties they encountered.

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

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

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

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

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

but if you compare it to getting a bachelor's degree at a U. 2. We're simply comparing the costs and the relative value added. Getting your CCIE may seem expensive. 5. and how many distractions you can avoid. Consider it a rough guide to the overall expenses you can expect. Having a bachelor's degree and a CCIE is an ideal combination. Think about it. in this day and age. you could be looking at spending anywhere between $20. The good news is that the CCIE is one certification many companies are willing to pay for. 3. The CCIE. at least in part. without hesitation.000 and four years of your life to obtain a bachelor's degree. getting your CCIE may cost you between $5. there are substantial costs associated with it and it's very important to plan your approach and create a budget. Now. People always ask us if the CCIE was worth our investment. that we are not advocating getting your certification instead of a bachelor's degree.S. even though getting your CCIE may be much cheaper than getting your bachelor's degree. does offer many great advantages. a bachelor's degree is essential. and in great demand.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. Feel free to add or subtract items according to your situation and expectations.000 and only one year of your life. Depending on the university or college you choose. Many companies (Cisco. 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. You should also make it your mission to find out your company's policy concerning their employee's continuing education and elite certification programs. but because failure on the first or second attempt is all-too-common. CCIE lab training resources. depending on how many times you have to take the test. and we always say "yes". and certainly allow you to move up in your career path. On the other hand. school. 6. and I(Dean> don't want you to have to abandon all of your hard work and sacrifices due to financial issues. 4. plan for at least two or three attempts. I'm not saying this to discourage you. and not all of them are financial. It should be noted. 7. its partners particularly and 8 . On the contrary.000 and $60.000 and $10. It will enable you to command a larger salary. 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. but it will also bring you much recognition from your peers. though. you'll see that it's actually not as expensive. Indeed. 1. the return on investment for your CCIE may be substantially greater. however. When planning financially for your CCIE lab.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. Keep in mind that. 29 . 3) Now that you have been through one CCIE you know your study habits. 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. for example. 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. the CCIE lab blue print has a big list of books and topics that are recommended for reading. 4) You are much more patient as you are now aware that CCIE is a long term commitment. after a few weeks. We have compiled five different strategic timelines for five different scenarios to assist you in navigating the appropriate path for you. the best way to approach CCIE certification is to have an aggressive plan." As we discussed our success strategy and compared it with other CCIE tracks. then learning VPNv4 address-family will not be as intensive as learning the entire protocol suit from scratch. For example. Work hard to make sure that you are executing your plan. They let you channel your limited resources to your full potential and. 2) Similarities in exam blueprints.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. That is where the lab guides and the boot camps from your training provider come into play. See Chapter 37 "Suggested Timelines for CCIE Preparation. laser like. your timeline for the second CCIE will be shorter. Cisco provides you with an overwhelming amount of resources. However. it was clear to us that once you have one CCIE. 1) Usually engineers go with CCIE tracks that have some basic common elements. Everything that is on the test is probably listed there. These give you a starting point on which you can adjust and build your own timeline. if you want to get your CCIE quickly you don't have the luxury of reading the entire content. you will focus on the topics that do matter in the lab exam. if you know your BGP for IPv4 address-family. This is because of the following four factors. If you drag your goal.

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

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

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

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. I used to have a colleague who bragged about only needing three hours of sleep. If you want to have effective and fruitful results. If your body needs seven hours of sleep then give it time to rejuvenate and heal itself. There were instances when Dean. us and even the customer. 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. cranky. All of his time is spent playing. The above approach has one caution. don't sacrifice vour sleep or vour health. or I. He is steadfast in his ambition and concentration of the game. woke up to a much better understanding of a concept that we struggled with on the previous nights. Both of us found that morning hours were the best for dealing with challenging topics. 33 . we used to wake up in the morning without an alarm and would practice our lab or start a new setup. What We Did (by Vivek) Once our routine was established. 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. and ineffective and get on others' nerves. which didn't go well.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers want to be just like a child with a new video game. The worst thing that you can do is to wake up tired. then get your rest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You should know exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are. demanding to see how much I had accomplished and why the assigned lab was not complete. professional or motivational. You should leverage each other's positive attributes to complete this common goal. With a long term project like the CCIE Lab. then you should reconsider this partnership. you are the project manager for this endeavor and communication is 90% of the task of any good manger. and as many times a day as needed. Once you get your CCIE. and shared the lessons learned. Vivek and I (Dean) used to keep track of each other's activities and daily progress made. 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. which he granted one alphabet at a time when one or both of us had to accomplish a major task. 1:30PM. whether they be personal. it is human nature that setbacks will make you procrastinate or feel like giving up. compliment and pick up the slack. may be lacking personal skills (though it is hard for us to admit!). push yourself and your partner so you can finish. you will never have to look at this process and will most likely never have to go through the lab exam again. Use their strengths to help yourself and support them on their weaknesses. though great with technologies. We also divided the questions that we had among ourselves.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"). On our next meeting. 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. © 41 . it's important for you to also look at personalities. and constant pressure. You and vour partner should motivate. a tight schedule. and push your partner(s) everyday. With all seriousness. I remember Vivek calling me at 9:30AM. we would come prepared and were ready to teach our selected topics. Push yourself. 3:30PM and 5:30PM on Sunday. I would feel bad and start my lab at 9:30PM and not stop until 3:45AM. "Sensei". and we learned something every day through this exercise. 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. Vivek also had a nickname for me. By the time I got my second CCIE the complete title was given to me. They say teaching is learning. Many engineers.

you can start building car pool lanes. I was confident that I had completed the core 100% accurately. Each CCIE lab has its own core technologies that are its basis. you will require 30% to 40% more to pass. therefore. since a good traffic control system works only on good roads. Only one corner of the network (one router) was not forming neighbor adjacencies. its routing protocols. Unless basic end to end connectivity is established. To my surprise. so I left that to the end. VLANS. QoS and other topics covered in the lab exam. trunking. For example. I was extra careful from then on for all my tasks. These comprised the foundation of the network you would build. 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. multicast. traffic will not be able to reach its desired destinations. any other technology that builds on this network will not work. Needless to say. 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. I thought that this was a task with a very small number of points and everything else was working. as per the parameters and conditions prescribed in the lab. I was unbelievably disappointed. since I was convinced that I had at least 90 plus points working. If your city does not have properly built roads. As you progress into your CCIE lab study. A good analogy to this would be the functionality and productivity of a city. By the end. for every actual lab exam that I took and passed. routing protocols and their redistribution. The core portion of the lab is about 60% to 70% of the exam and. 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. I failed. It does not matter how much you spend on an automatic traffic control system. 42 . I did not bother to correct that. the lab exam would add more complexity on top. There will be IPv6. at the time we took our CCIE Routing and Switching lab.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. From then on. These numbers vary depending on which CCIE track you choose and any changes made by Cisco. Once the core network is configured. you will understand what I (Vivek) mean when I say that the core should be up 100%. What We Did (by Vivek) I clearly remember that on my second attempt I had completed the lab on time. Once your roads are suitable and traffic has multiple paths to move from one place to the other.

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

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

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

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

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

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

49 . This is a good practice as you will have cleared up any residual configurations that may be affecting you and. Ideally. you may have different sections. Sudden changes might break the lab. save all your configurations and reload all of the routers. 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. to verify that everything that you have configured survives a reload.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers As you reach lunch time. Depending on which CCIE track you are following. you should be finished with enough time to spare for a thorough check of your lab. Do not make any changes in the last 30 to 60 minutes without thinking it through. such as troubleshooting and actual lab. This is also the time to remove all of the aliases and scripts that you may have used to assist yourself during the lab. Pace yourself accordingly. also.

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

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

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 32: SELF ALIGNMENT If you fail — shake it off First and foremost. (This is a great feeling but the hardest to recover from when you do not pass). If you have taken the exam on a weekday. If other engineers have achieved this. 52 . Find the areas for improvement. 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. The reality is that. so can you. We all want that to happen. 3) You know you did not do well and know that you will not pass. 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. Once you complete the actual lab attempt. you should feel proud of where you are and what you have accomplished. you will see that you can easily conquer them in a very short time. which you are willing to pay regardless of the number of attempts. in the rare case. we have seen that. Your inner mind will tell you the doubts you have. This is the price for success. But. you need to look at your goal of getting your CCIE number. 2) You may have mixed feelings and are giving yourself a chance at passing. Passing the CCIE in your first attempt is a possibility. 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. it is a small percentage. However. The exception is if you want to go for a second CCIE or. Do not even think about walking away from it. once you get past the lab exam you will most likely never have to go through this again. If you took the exam on Friday. then CONGRATULATIONS. so write all of them down. In our combined experience of thirty plus years in networking and meeting countless engineers. YOU DID IT! You can skip the rest of this chapter and go to Chapter 36 "From Ordinary to Extraordinary". Once written. If you have not passed remember that failure is part of the process. Only a few engineers will go this far and attempt to challenge themselves with something like this. you will most likely get your results by that evening or the next day. You need to give yourself a 24-hour break and then evaluate yourself objectively. statistically speaking. If you have passed. Be in control and continue to execute your strategies. we can count using our fingers how many have passed the CCIE lab on their first attempt.

To my surprise.respect. 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. Do not get discouraged: shake off the negative thoughts and think of the fame. many indicated that answers to some of the questions came to them after days or even weeks of taking the exam. you will hear all kinds of stories. 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. when I (Dean) was interviewing CCIE candidates who failed. If you have talked to other engineers. I even reloaded my devices just to make sure. and monetary rewards that you will have. When the results came. 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. This could happen while working on an unrelated problem or even at a family dinner. I even asked the proctor if he could evaluate my exam faster. 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. Your experiences gained from best practices may hinder you from the assigned task and you may have to think outside the box. I tallied my score. you probably won't be running four Interior Gateway Protocols (IGP) on a single router in your enterprise network. The lab does not resemble anything that you may have seen in any production network. I was close to becoming a CCIE and immediately registered for the next available lab date. I was not pressed for time and was able to check my work at the end.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers The problem is that we are sometimes our own worst critic. I had failed on this attempt. you will realize why only a few engineers pass. I thought I had done very well. After coming out of the exam. I did not think that it was that consequential. Some get so frustrated that they try to sleep in their assigned seat as they do not even know where to start. For example. What We Did (by Vivek) For my second attempt at my Routing and Switching lab (my first CCIE). I was relaxed and absolutely confident that I had passed. I promised myself that I would do better and work harder. As you have realized by now. or even the exam proctors. This is doable! 53 . but there was one small part not working. There are engineers who will read the lab exam and walk away from the lab within a few minutes. Now that you have taken the actual lab exam. I was very disappointed. Once you have achieved your certification you will appreciate the high standards of this exam and everything that goes along with it. I knew that I had to shake it off and move forward.

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

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

tea. 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.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers 9. The non-technical do's. ergonomic furniture and other things like coffee. 1. Check what time the lab starts. By environment I mean good lighting. 5. paper. Sometimes a simple technology. 56 . 7. Use the same terminal emulator (HYPERTERM. Don't do that. Make sure you are studying in a very comfortable environment. 11. Make sure to visit your Lab book provider's forums and support group. 6. Many questions are answered just by reading what others have posted. Some conversations are informative and could help with your exam. can drag on and many questions can be raised. If you prefer to join mailer lists or other CCIE study sites. As soon as you announce this to the world your mind will be committed and start working towards making this happen. is not recommended. SECURECRT etc). 2. Decide when you are going to study for a particular CCIE track. that is being used in the Lab where you are planning to take the Lab exam. 3. pens. Troubleshooting is both a science and an art. Stretch your limits get uncomfortable and step out of your comfort zone. 10. Only then new doors will open and opportunities will come. If you are sensitive to room temperature. and announce it. but make sure you don't get mired by the many what if scenarios people post. Get used to sitting for eight hours. please join. 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. 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. then take a jacket with you. comfortable temperature. 4. whiteboard. We got a lot of support in many forms. I have seen engineers hide this fact. and good tips like the ones we have in this book. Each person has his own style of learning and I am not saying what others are posting is wrong. PUTTY. such as duplex mismatch. technical help on specific topics. friends and family were ready to help. You will be sitting for eight hours and you might start feeling cold. For us. printer. etc.

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

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

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

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

Here is a short list. Select a training provider and purchase the necessary courseware. It is recommended that you read the book completely so that you may take full advantage of these strategic timelines. 2. We are always asked about a guideline for the pace of study so we are providing with five different ones. Find a location to study on weekdays as well as weekends.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. make sure it has the required IDS versions and all of the necessary interfaces and cables for simulating your lab network. consider your environment. Decide on and obtain the various CCIE reference books you will be using. Please add more if you need to. 2. 3. this timeline can compensate for about 40 hours to 60 hours of lead time. lighting and other factors which may play an 61 . 3. 1. but the pace has to be adjusted according to vour style and situation. If you plan to buy actual lab hardware. If possible. a friend's or partner's house. temperature. These suggestions are there to give you direction. Depending on your study style. 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. in the library 6. 4. 1. 4. It could be a room in your house. (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. this timeline is for someone who is attempting to study for CCIE lab for the first time. or your office. This gives you sufficient time to prepare and some extra time for getting into hard-study mode. Determine what types of hardware you need to simulate your lab. 5. 5.

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

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. If you still can't resolve the issue. and layer two features. We are stressing on this because you will be under slightly more pressure during the real lab test. By the end of this phase. Take a lunch break after four hours. You want to make all of those small mistakes and panic and get over this tendency now. almost the real deal. Use Cisco documentation as much as possible and learn how to manually search for commands and references.5 hours per session. You will frequently get stuck. Schedule some time on the rental equipment if you have been using a simulator. 63 . If you have already spent twenty to thirty minutes. 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. 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 be connecting the dots. 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. You will see that "wr mem" takes a little longer and device reloads take even longer. This should give you enough time to verify everything thoroughly and reload the routers just to make sure. Choose the time that is as close as possible to the actual lab time at the testing venue of your choice. By working on real live equipment.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. 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. Your comfort level will increase as you have already gone through many of the permutations and combinations of technologies that can be presented. try to figure out the answer yourself before looking at the solution. you will be doing it in parts and that's acceptable at this phase. Certain features that are hardware specific like queuing. multicast. We expect you to complete the labs during this phase. One small mistake and you can panic and create even more mistakes. Initially. 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. All of this will add to your knowledge. Time allotment for rental equipment is about 11. call up your study partner and see if you can resolve the issues together. can be fully tested and troubleshot (which is not the case in a simulator). You should practice troubleshooting to resolve either an existing problem or by solving your own mis-configuration. By the end of this period. You should time yourself and keep a tally. you realize slight differences. then look it up on the Internet.

congratulations! You did great and should now be thinking of your second CCIE. schedule your second lab attempt as soon as possible (See Chapter 33 "The Next round"). If you pass on your first attempt. 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. so charge ahead un-perturbed. You should start right back up after seeing your score and dig deeper in whatever you think you can improve on. Remember. you have to be persistent (keep studying and improving without taking a very long break) and keep persevering. This is normal. 64 . As we said in Chapter 31 "The second attempt is usual". Depending on how you feel about your preparedness.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. and start again. Give yourself a break of no more that 24 to 48 hours.

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

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

If you pass on your first attempt. 67 . and layer two features. You will see that "wr mem" takes a little longer and device reloads take even longer. You should time yourself and keep a tally. Give yourself a break of no more that 24 to 48 hours. You should start right back up after seeing your score and dig deeper in whatever you think you have to improve on. We are stressing on this because you will be under slightly more pressure during the real lab test. 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. congratulations! You did great and should now be thinking of your second CCIE. you should be connecting the dots. One small mistake and you can panic and create even more mistakes. Certain features that are hardware specific like queuing. Schedule some time on the rental equipment if you have been using a simulator. so charge ahead un-perturbed. Time allotment for rental equipment is about 11. Choose the time that is as close as possible to the actual lab time at the testing venue of your choice. Take a lunch break after four hours. You should be able to see how technologies fall into place and how they can be manipulated to accomplish the requirements in the question. Your comfort level will increase as you have already gone through many of the permutations and combinations of technologies that may be presented. 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. This should give you enough time to verify everything thoroughly and reload the routers just to make sure. As we said in Chapter 31 "The second attempt is usual".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.5 hours per session. can be fully tested and troubleshot (which is not the case in a simulator). This is normal. By working on real live equipment. 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. schedule your second lab attempt as soon as possible (See Chapter 33 "The Next round"). By the end of this period. Day 201 to 291 (90 Days) Battle stations Your first scheduled lab attempt should be in this phase. and start again. multicast. We expect you to complete the labs during this phase. you realize slight differences. You should practice troubleshooting to resolve either an existing problem or by solving your own mis-configuration. Depending on how you feel about your preparedness. 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). If you don't pass it is OK. almost the real deal. You want to make all of those small mistakes and panic and get over this tendency now.

Find a location to study on weekdays as well as weekends. 3. Decide on and acquire which CCIE reference books you will be using. 10. lighting and other factors which may play an important role on your comfort during study periods. Since you will be spending extended hours working on your lab. desk.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. if possible. you feel uncomfortable. If it's too cold. temperature. 13. Select economically correct settings. 5. 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. so don't forget to stretch as needed. You will need to make diagrams of your network and mark them for different protocol boundaries and technologies. 6. move around and. It could be a room in your house. Here is a short list. make sure it has the required IDS versions and has all of the necessary interfaces for simulating your lab network. your muscles and joints may get stiff. 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. Make sure to have water and healthy snacks during your practice lab sessions. 9. Have comfortable clothing and footwear. 68 . 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. 2. a friend's or partner's house. 7. If you plan to buy actual lab hardware. When you feel a need for an extended break. Have plenty of blank paper and color pencils/pens (at least six colors). consider your environment. mouse. Tai-chi. 4. 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. Please add more if need be. 1. 12. etc. This gets you refreshed and keeps your mind and body moving. 8. If it's too hot. you can exercise while watching a quick workout video such as Pilates. If possible. Yoga. etc. you feel sleepy. Determine what types of hardware you need to simulate your lab. in the library or your office. chair. 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. 11. Select a training provider and purchase the necessary courseware. do quick pushups (please take your physicians advice in case of any physical issues). ie.

During these thirty days you should attempt to finish at least five to six full eight-hour labs. Catch up on your sleep and prepare yourself mentally. 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. We expect you to complete the labs during this phase. By the end of this time you should not only feel more confident in all of the technologies. By the end of this phase. Take your lunch to work. Day 03 to Day 80 (78 Days) The CORE This is the core of your preparation. you will be doing it in parts and that's acceptable at this phase. Twitter feeds and YouTube subscriptions. try to figure out 69 . You will frequently get stuck. boss and colleagues on board. ask yourself "what you have done today to make your CCIE number a reality"? Every small step counts. If you have already spent twenty to thirty minutes call up your study partner and see if you can resolve the issues together. All of this will add to your knowledge. You will frequently get stuck. Every day. you need to tune the one last resource and that is you. try to figure out the answer yourself before looking at the solution. then look it up on the Internet. 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 should have a good idea of your progress and should schedule your lab date around day 170 (about 70 days ahead). you should be connecting the dots. You should practice troubleshooting to resolve either an existing problem or by solving your own mis-configuration. You should be able to see how technologies fall into place and how they can be manipulated to accomplish the requirements in the question. This would also be a good time to get your family. you will be doing it in parts and that's acceptable at this phase. Do all of the short labs that are focused on a specific technology. but should also have improved your typing skills. etc. video games. inner circle. Initially. If you still can't resolve the issue. This means that you need more rest.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. If you are going to use aliases then those should be finalized and remembered. You should spend every moment thinking about how you could find more time for yourself. You should also be very familiar with using Cisco documentation WebPages by now. This time should be spent going over the complete Video on Demand. Your comfort level will increase as you have already gone through many of the permutations and combinations of technologies that may be presented. By the end of this period. Day 101 to Day 150 (50 Days) The great push This is the time when you start doing complete full eight-hour practice labs. Initially. detach yourself from the TV. Use Cisco documentation as much as possible and learn how to manually search for commands and references. It is okay if you find yourself falling asleep at this point. Start putting in the time to read.

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

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

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

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

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