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
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a review.

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

Chapter 2: A Tale of Two
Engineers

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

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

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

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

Sun-Lv Du. CCIE Candidate

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

What other reviewers have said:





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. 3. Indeed. It will enable you to command a larger salary. you'll see that it's actually not as expensive. On the contrary.000 and four years of your life to obtain a bachelor's degree. Now. though. without hesitation. When planning financially for your CCIE lab. plan for at least two or three attempts. Getting your CCIE may seem expensive. Consider it a rough guide to the overall expenses you can expect. 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. 5. but because failure on the first or second attempt is all-too-common. Having a bachelor's degree and a CCIE is an ideal combination. does offer many great advantages. school. I'm not saying this to discourage you. the return on investment for your CCIE may be substantially greater. 6. at least in part. and not all of them are financial. there are substantial costs associated with it and it's very important to plan your approach and create a budget.S. Think about it. a bachelor's degree is essential.000 and $10. even though getting your CCIE may be much cheaper than getting your bachelor's degree. but it will also bring you much recognition from your peers. getting your CCIE may cost you between $5.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.000 and only one year of your life. depending on how many times you have to take the test. and I(Dean> don't want you to have to abandon all of your hard work and sacrifices due to financial issues. The good news is that the CCIE is one certification many companies are willing to pay for. and in great demand. We're simply comparing the costs and the relative value added. and how many distractions you can avoid. however. On the other hand. 4. in this day and age. its partners particularly and 8 . You should also make it your mission to find out your company's policy concerning their employee's continuing education and elite certification programs. 1. The CCIE. 2. CCIE lab training resources. People always ask us if the CCIE was worth our investment. but if you compare it to getting a bachelor's degree at a U. that we are not advocating getting your certification instead of a bachelor's degree. Feel free to add or subtract items according to your situation and expectations. Depending on the university or college you choose. you could be looking at spending anywhere between $20. It should be noted. and we always say "yes".000 and $60. 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. and certainly allow you to move up in your career path. Many companies (Cisco.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start putting in the time to read. We expect you to complete the labs during this phase. Use Cisco documentation as much as possible and learn how to manually search for commands and references. This would also be a good time to get your family. If you are going to use aliases then those should be finalized and remembered. By the end of this phase. You will frequently get stuck. Day 81 to Day 100 (20 Days) Taking the Leap During these twenty days you should attempt to finish at least five to six full eight-hour labs. you need to tune the one last resource and that is you. ask yourself "what you have done today to make your CCIE number a reality"? Every small step counts. You will frequently get stuck. inner circle. but should also have improved your typing skills. Day 03 to Day 80 (78 Days) The CORE This is the core of your preparation. You should also be very familiar with using Cisco documentation WebPages by now.Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Engineers Day 2 (1 Day) Journey Begins Now that you have all of your external resources are in place. you should have a good idea of your progress and should schedule your lab date around day 170 (about 70 days ahead). 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 spend every moment thinking about how you could find more time for yourself. detach yourself from the TV. you will be doing it in parts and that's acceptable at this phase. Every day. This means that you need more rest. Twitter feeds and YouTube subscriptions. boss and colleagues on board. you will be doing it in parts and that's acceptable at this phase. You should practice troubleshooting to resolve either an existing problem or by solving your own mis-configuration. try to figure out 69 . During these thirty days you should attempt to finish at least five to six full eight-hour labs. By the end of this period. try to figure out the answer yourself before looking at the solution. If you have already spent twenty to thirty minutes call up your study partner and see if you can resolve the issues together. then look it up on the Internet. video games. Day 101 to Day 150 (50 Days) The great push This is the time when you start doing complete full eight-hour practice labs. Take your lunch to work. you should be connecting the dots. By the end of this time you should not only feel more confident in all of the technologies. Catch up on your sleep and prepare yourself mentally. If you still can't resolve the issue. Initially. Do all of the short labs that are focused on a specific technology. 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. All of this will add to your knowledge. Initially. etc. You should be able to see how technologies fall into place and how they can be manipulated to accomplish the requirements in the question. It is okay if you find yourself falling asleep at this point. This time should be spent going over the complete Video on Demand.

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

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

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

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

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

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