Monday, July 16, 2007

Daily Update

I didn't do a whole lot today. I wiped the configs on all of my equipment and loaded the IE lab 4 base configs. There was very little studying completed over the weekend as well. I was having some work done on my house and studying would have been nearly impossible with all of the noise.

So, I thought this would be a great chance to explain a little about what the CCIE means to me. In a nutshell, the CCIE is the most demanding IT certification. It requires not only the passage of a computerized exam, but also one must pay Cisco a visit to demonstrate his or her knowledge. In this eight hour lab, Cisco requires you to set up an extraordinarily complex network that would probably never be seen in the real world. They throw the book at you and give you very little time. On top of that, each attempt costs over $1000 and the average person to pass--and many never do pass--takes three attempts.

The typical estimate is that an individual who is already a professional network engineer takes about 2000 more hours of studying to pass the CCIE. This does not mean a year of work. This means 2000 hours of weekends and time after work spent dedicated directly toward CCIE material. Unless perhaps your job description precisely matches the CCIE blueprint. Since mine does not, it means a lot of time studying.

I've achieved a number of computer certifications over the years. The MCSE took me about a year to complete back in 1998. The CCNA, MCDBA, and CCNP were also completed with little effort--perhaps a month of studying for each exam. But, I have been working toward the CCIE off and on since about 2004. The first year was spent just reading every related book I could get my hands on. I needed to learn topics such as IPv6, Multicast, BGP, OSPF, and others much, much deeper than what was required to slide through the CCNP exams.

Last December I was in the fortunate position where I had a little extra money to spend and InternetworkExpert was throwing in a PS3 to boot, so I couldn't pass up the deal. Since I purchased the end-to-end training package, I have been, for perhaps the first time, consistently dedicated to the CCIE. I'm not nearly as afraid of many of the topics as I used to be, but I still have a lot to learn. I'm optimistic I can take a stab at the CCIE lab this year, if I can stay focused.

And that brings me to why I started this blog. I figure if I imagine others out there are reading my progress, I'll have to be accountable to somebody. I know this can be done. It really isn't brain surgery. It's just a matter of coming to terms with the large volume of information that's out there. I'm determined to pass the CCIE this year. Perhaps another time I'll explain why.

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