As we cruise out of the summer and into the fall/winter holiday season, I’ll be kicking off my latest series of BLOGs as I get ready for the CCIE Lab exam.
As some of you may know, back in July, I completed the CCIE written exam. In my BLOG series, “Learn My Technique…”, I outlined all the books that I read and the study preparation that I followed in pursuit of this certification. I also posted my exam score which I am VERY proud of. Although I almost aced the exam, I reason for me posting my score was not to brag about it (because I know what is ahead of me with the Lab exam). I posted it as a way to document my own journey and to motivate those wanting to prepare for it AND to show that I’m not just some guy online acting like I know Cisco technology. With hard work, a focused study plan, and consistent studying, this thing called the CCIE is very obtainable. If you haven’t already read my BLOGs, please do so. The feedback that I received has been really positive and helpful for those who’ve read them thus far.
Stage two of this journey is underway. Since passing the CCIE Written exam, I took a break from studying. It felt good to not have to read for hours a day and practice. I picked up another hobby along the way! I’m preparing to BLOG on this new hobby as well :)…don’t miss it! I actually considered sitting for the CISSP but I just got really lazy and just didn’t want to study anymore. Breaks from studying are good. Relax and find some fun that doesn’t strain your brain as much…you don’t want to burn yourself out.
Here we are months later and my followers are now wondering when will I sit for the CCIE Lab exam. I have a month in mind but nothing set in stone. This is out of the norm for me. In the past, I would always schedule the exam, and then I would begin studying. I’ll be doing a few things differently this time because of the nature of this exam. Simply put, this exam cost $1400! The exam cost along with the additional cost of study material can total around $4000-$5000 dollars. Spending that kind of money on an exam is no joke. Plus, word on the street is that less than 5% pass on the first try. If the statistics said 0% pass on the first try, then maybe I’d go ahead and save at least $2800. Since there are a small percentage of people who have actually passed in on the first try, that’s what I’m shooting for. I want to be in that 5% range. Either way, I will pass it. Many have done it already…why can’t I be one of them?
Here’s my plan of attack…CiscoNinjaNC style:
1. Self Assessment – Without breaking the piggy bank, I will invest some money in some self assessment software/material to get a clear picture of where I am at technically. There’s a bunch of stuff out there that I am currently evaluating. I’ll post my findings in future BLOGs.
2. Core Knowledge – Depending upon the outcome of the self assessments, I will prepare my core knowledge training based upon the results. Core knowledge training will consist of a combination of studying theory and hands on.
3. Hand On Practice – I have several ways to gain hands on. I have some of my own hardware (nothing of any worth). Just really old routers that I can use to run IOS. Also, remember GNS3? I will surely use this to build networks and practice. I also plan to use virtual labs and other study material. This is still under evaluation as to which I will go for (i.e. INE, CCBootCamp, Cisco360, etc.). During this time is when I will decide my exact exam date. My closest testing center is Raleigh, NC (RTP) so I already know where I will be taking it. (although going to Australia to take might be nice)
4. Practice Labs – As I approach the exam day, I will take a series of full blown practice labs. Remember, this is an 8 hour lab. Cisco stresses that being able to quickly troubleshoot and configure devices is the key. Being a fast typist is not what they are talking about.
This plan is nothing out of the ordinary. It’s a basic common sense approach. As of this writing, I have a tentative month in mind…March 2011. March 2010 is when I decided to start this journey…so why not finish this off where I began a year later. Stay tuned.