Just an update- I passed in San Jose on May 1st! CCIE # 35355. Here’s my story:
I thank God. This has been a dream of mine for 6 years, and he solely helped me attain this! I don’t want to start a religion roll as we are all from different parts of the word and have different religious backgrounds. However, give God a year of your faith and belief and see if things don’t change!
Secondly, my wife and family for dealing with me. It’s been a constant 2 years of knowing that I need to get home and lab. I thank those that have helped me on the forums, and especially Narbik. He gave me a personal relationship through my training, and even hung out with us until the wee morning hours during bootcamps to chat with us about anything and everything. He really does care and it shows in his work. Finally, I thank my employer. Without their support, I would have had to quit my job to get this accomplished in 2 years.Materials used:
Global Knowledge CIERS1 bootcamp
CCBootcamp MPLS for CCIE candidates (taken at Cisco LIVE)
CCBootcamp ALM bootcamp
Narbik CIERS1 (attended twice) bootcamp, Advanced workbook, bootcamp 4.0 workbook
I was using 2800/3800/3560’s hardware cabled for each vendor.
Products that didn’t work:
CCBootcamp workbooks- I attended a CCB in September 2011. The instructor (Rahim) was great and very knowledgeable. I attended a bootcamp, but quickly cancelled on day 2 due to the workbooks alone. There were so many typos, that even the instructor had to work through the workbooks to find that it mentions the wrong routers as part of the restrictions. This made me start to doubt myself- not a good way to learn! I’m sure the owner will come after me again for this posting, however, he did not follow up on his promise to rectify the situation (by receiving a beta version of the new workbooks) and I’m advising students away from your products as I said I would. I have a few more examples of the bad business practices, but I will spare you those details. WORST WORKBOOKS EVER!
– April 30, 2010- Passed CCIE R&S Written
– July 2010- Passed CCIE Security written (Free test at Cisco LIVE)
– July 2010-Dec. 2011
I was averaging 15 hours a week of rack time over 4-5 days a week.
– May 2011
Passed the CCIE written R&S (my December lab attempt would be beyond my 18 month deadline)
– June 2011
I attended Narbik’s CIERS1 bootcamp. WHOA. That’s a lot to take in, but amazing training. The man is a walking IOS dictionary and can rattle off 7 levels deep of IOS commands. I learned his theory (not verbatim) that if you need a sh run or to use a “?”, you aren’t ready for the lab. I carried this with me throughout my studies after that. Narbik taught me to look at the requirement or question, think about what technology is at hand, and if it’s a global, or interface command before starting in on a solution. Great advice!
– Nov, 2011
I attended Narbik’s CIERS1 bootcamp for the second time. I was better prepared and did much better on my assessment labs. I felt close to ready, but Narbik informed me that I wasn’t ready. Yet, I still had to make my attempt at the Lab to qualify for the Lab Safe program.
– Dec. 13, 2011
My first attempt at the CCIE R&S lab. I got a 50% (avg) on the config section, and an 18% on troubleshooting. I didn’t expect to pass, but I was forced (so to speak) to take the lab by the end of the year to qualify for the “Lab Safe” program (free second attempt).– Dec. 15- 2011
Kicked my labbing into high gear, and focused on the technologies I didn’t know well. These were mainly IP Services.
– Dec. 20, 2011-March 20, 2012
Stepped up my lab times to 25 hours a week. My method was this- Run through IPX VOL1 for the technologies I saw that I didn’t know well. This was about 12 topics. Run through IPX VOL3 Mock labs very slowly. In fact, I sometimes took 16-20 hours for a Mock lab because I was looking them up on the DOCCD, and playing with different options to actually break the solution and finding a second solution as an alternative. This was a key building block for me. I want through Narbik’s Adv. workbooks and Bootcamp 4.0 workbooks. I especially liked Narbik’s workbooks for the reason for the solution. If I didn’t know something in-depth, Narbik’s workbooks were my direct solution. All of the vendors workbooks were still weak in IP Services, especially EEM an OER. I know that Narbik, and I’m sure the other vendors will as well, have updates to their workbooks as this has been mentioned time and time again. I believe Brain with INE has committed to releasing something soon.
– March 20-April 30, 2012
Kicked my labbing into high gear. My job allowed me to work from home, so I was averaging 30 hours a week (7 days a week) without any days off from labbing. Those last 5 weeks were rough! I was staying up late at night, drinking Monster energy drinks, and chasing them with Red Bull energy drinks! Up until midnight/1am, and getting up at 6am, taking my girls to school, going to the gym, and then heading back to the house to lab/work. The last week before my lab, I actually took a week of vacation and turned off my email and didn’t answer my work phone except at breaks.
– May 1, 2012
Passed CCIE R&S Lab in San Jose! Although they say to stop labbing and relax your mind, I don’t work like that. I labbed until midnight the night before the lab in my hotel, and labbed for an hour that morning. This is partially because my mind was conditioned to do that (lab late), and I wanted my mind alert and fingers ready that morning for the lab. I didn’t feel it was proper to show up and not have the mentality for the wording of the lab. *NOTE* You could have cut the tension with a knife in the waiting area prior to the lab at Cisco’s San Jose’s office. I couldn’t help but crack jokes! Probably my way of dealing with nervous situations. Also, it took 10 hours for my email that I passed! AHHHHH! Why was it that when I failed I knew in 2 hours? Needless to say, I got zero sleep that night!*My tips to success*
When you lab up, take your time to learn a technology. When you learn it, go to a different vendor and work their technology based labs. Go through them, fix it, and break it. Get fancy with it and find another way to do it (because there is always another way and you might get a restriction that will throw you for a loop).
Preferred vendors (there is no single vendor), and why-
Narbik-Workbooks are in different degrees of difficulty, they build upon each other, and have a VERY detailed explanation to learn from. After paying for his bootcamp and attending, you can re-take the bootcamps if seats are available for free. With the amount of information delivered, I highly recommend taking it at least twice!
IPExpert- VERY hard, right out of the box! But, their BLS has video’s that help understand how, but not why. It’s up to you to learn the technology prior to working their labs. The VOD is a “death by slideshow” that didn’t help me at all. I did thoroughly enjoy their video on demand. I have a lengthy drive to work each day, and these came in handy to some extent. But, once I found myself solid on a technology, and I was done with Narbik’s workbooks, this is where I went. This is for the advanced student that feels they are ready, but in my opinion, not a learning tool.
INE- Their all access pass is great, and offers you discounted rates on their CCIE workbooks. Their video’s are REALLY good. For a lot of candidates, INE is a good choice as their hardware is 1800/2600 model routers and less of a financial impact.
Cisco 360- I don’t care for the workbooks, but their assessment labs are good to get a feel of the lab interface, and gives you an idea via a score of where you are. If you can score high on these labs, you will do good on the labs. But, I saw technologies on the lab that I did not get tested on within the Assessment labs.
I hope this helps you. Now, onto CCIE Security! Re-cabling my racks now for IPExpert and Narbik’s layouts. ;)