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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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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
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All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. MMDD Multimedia LLC., is not associated with
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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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CCIE lab training resources. The good news is that the CCIE is one certification many companies are willing to pay for.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. 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. Depending on the university or college you choose. though. On the other hand. 7. and in great demand. and not all of them are financial.S. 4.000 and four years of your life to obtain a bachelor's degree. in this day and age. even though getting your CCIE may be much cheaper than getting your bachelor's degree. you'll see that it's actually not as expensive. but it will also bring you much recognition from your peers. at least in part. that we are not advocating getting your certification instead of a bachelor's degree. 2. getting your CCIE may cost you between $5. however.000 and $60. depending on how many times you have to take the test. When planning financially for your CCIE lab. 5. We're simply comparing the costs and the relative value added. but because failure on the first or second attempt is all-too-common. without hesitation. Think about it. a bachelor's degree is essential. you could be looking at spending anywhere between $20. and how many distractions you can avoid. school. 3.000 and only one year of your life. and we always say "yes". It should be noted. Many companies (Cisco.000 and $10. 1. Now. the return on investment for your CCIE may be substantially greater. Getting your CCIE may seem expensive. but if you compare it to getting a bachelor's degree at a U. It will enable you to command a larger salary. Consider it a rough guide to the overall expenses you can expect. Having a bachelor's degree and a CCIE is an ideal combination. plan for at least two or three attempts. Feel free to add or subtract items according to your situation and expectations. You should also make it your mission to find out your company's policy concerning their employee's continuing education and elite certification programs. and certainly allow you to move up in your career path. its partners particularly and 8 . 6. 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. I'm not saying this to discourage you. does offer many great advantages. and I(Dean> don't want you to have to abandon all of your hard work and sacrifices due to financial issues. On the contrary. there are substantial costs associated with it and it's very important to plan your approach and create a budget. Indeed. People always ask us if the CCIE was worth our investment. The CCIE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If your intent is on reading all of these books. or listening and learning the contents on the medium of your choice. instructor led courses. many items such as books. You need to know which learning resource works the best for you and how to master it. It is imperative for you to spend some time to research available resources.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers CHAPTER 19: BOOKS/VIDEOS/LAB RESOURCES Use of training options Once you endeavor to take the CCIE. tools. if you go to CCIE blueprint they have recommended readings. Many people consider technical books to be dry. you may have forgotten some important technical details that you picked up in the first book. you need to plan and stick with one major training provider and use other options as additional supplements in achieving your goal. It is one of the most important steps in any project and can encompass more time than other processes. 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. VoD and lectures are great resources and should be used on an asneeded basis. Audio on Demand (AoD). don't stretch yourself too thin as this will overwhelm you. 34 . vour objective is getting that CCIE number. seminars. Instead of memorizing the practice labs understand the concepts behind each lab. Each of us has a different learning strategy. 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. live online education. Choose the ones that are most advantageous to your learning style and then visualize yourself reading. Video On Demand (VoD). Good research will take you a long wav. You will pass the test by practicing as many labs as you can. 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. simulation and place of study. In other words. Any experienced project manager can testify to the importance of planning. as well as Cisco Live Sessions geared towards the various certification tracks. Although you may want to do all of the above. you may not remember the first book by the time you have finished the tenth one. For example. The confidence that you generate after completing a few of these practice labs successfully will be the catalyst for your success. especially when you are just reading them without any hands-on or practical experience. equipment. AoD. you have to first think of your learning style. Most likely. See how these training courses and lab books match your studying style. In our personal opinion. 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 purpose of this approach was two-fold. Once we were satisfied with our results. first. to validate our knowledge base as well as the accuracy of video lectures and secondly. A majority of these labs build on top of each other. which cover a lesson on a particular technology.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers What We Did (by Vivek) For our second CCIE certification. Another thing to remember is that if you get stuck at a certain place. each of us took turns to practicing and troubleshooting. We pressed each other to complete these labs. 35 . you can save that scenario and restart or move ahead to the next lab. We decided to start with VoD. After each lab. so we decided to focus on the areas that we had to ramp-up on. Once the technical concept was fully understood. After first watching the videos. so all we had to do was look at the most complicated lab. we started taking time-stamped notes of the VoD and simulated each segment of the lab using all of the resources that we had (See Chapter 20 "VoD" for details). we then moved to the longer four-hour labs. it was time for hands-on practice. With this lab topology created on our simulator. Once the lab was fully functional. we both had a solid understanding of certain protocols. mistakes that the video lecturer may have made or ones that we made ourselves. to correct any issues. We started by simulating the short labs. we mimicked the earlier labs (the least complicated ones) by turning off interfaces that were not needed. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. so charge ahead un-perturbed. Depending on how you feel about your preparedness. Remember. This is normal. schedule your second lab attempt as soon as possible (See Chapter 33 "The Next round"). 64 . congratulations! You did great and should now be thinking of your second CCIE. Give yourself a break of no more that 24 to 48 hours. If you don't pass it is OK. and start again. If you pass on your first attempt. you have to be persistent (keep studying and improving without taking a very long break) and keep persevering. You should start right back up after seeing your score and dig deeper in whatever you think you can improve on. As we said in Chapter 31 "The second attempt is usual".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.

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

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

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. Depending on how you feel about your preparedness. Give yourself a break of no more that 24 to 48 hours. you should be connecting the dots. so charge ahead un-perturbed. You want to make all of those small mistakes and panic and get over this tendency now. 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. 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. schedule your second lab attempt as soon as possible (See Chapter 33 "The Next round"). You should practice troubleshooting to resolve either an existing problem or by solving your own mis-configuration. We expect you to complete the labs during this phase. You should time yourself and keep a tally. Time allotment for rental equipment is about 11. multicast. Certain features that are hardware specific like queuing. Choose the time that is as close as possible to the actual lab time at the testing venue of your choice. If you don't pass it is OK.5 hours per session. This should give you enough time to verify everything thoroughly and reload the routers just to make sure. and layer two features. As we said in Chapter 31 "The second attempt is usual". By working on real live equipment. 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. You should start right back up after seeing your score and dig deeper in whatever you think you have to improve on. Day 201 to 291 (90 Days) Battle stations Your first scheduled lab attempt should be in this phase. We are stressing on this because you will be under slightly more pressure during the real lab test. you realize slight differences. can be fully tested and troubleshot (which is not the case in a simulator). almost the real deal. If you pass on your first attempt. One small mistake and you can panic and create even more mistakes. congratulations! You did great and should now be thinking of your second CCIE. Schedule some time on the rental equipment if you have been using a simulator. 67 . By the end of this period. and start again. This is normal. 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).Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Day 121 to Day 170 (50 Days) The great push This is the time when you start doing complete full eight-hour practice labs. You will see that "wr mem" takes a little longer and device reloads take even longer.

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two
Engineers

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

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

73

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two
Engineers

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

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two
Engineers

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

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

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

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

75

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two
Engineers

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

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

76

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