For those who haven’t heard yet, I passed my CCIE Lab on June 14th. Now I can officially put CCIE #18233 after my name.
Anyone who has been down the same path understands how long of a road this is.
I started down this path in the spring of 1999 as the 432nd student ever in Cisco’s Networking Academy (which I promptly dropped out of to move to the bay area). I grew my networking skills all the way to passing my CCIE Written in 2001. I attempted my Route Switch lab in 2002, however I got called away to war for a year. Being away from it all for a year really cramped my style technically. In that time many of my certs expired, and I lost much of the momentum I had built of the past half decade.
Since I got back to the real world I had focused on work to the detriment of my certifications. I really did some great things, however I really neglected my resume.
In July of 2006 I had worked 2038 hours that year (for those not mathematically inclined, that is a full work year, in 1/2 a year) . At that point I decided it was time to stop neglecting my certifications. At that point I dedicated 8 hours each saturday, along with two nights a week to studies. By December of that year I had Certified on a few of the technologies that I had tons of experience in.
I managed to get my RHCE, Cisco Storage Support and Design Specialist, update my old IP Telephony specialist certifications to CCVP, get my Netapp Certified Administrator, and pass my CCIE Written for storage networking all by the end of the year. This spring I finished my Netapp Certified Expert and scheduled my Storage lab for early summer.
Anyone who knows me well knows how closely I track my time. That time tracking extends to my training. I tracked my training (reading, lab practice, testing, etc) just like any other part of my professional life. I spent around 150 hours studying for my Design, Support specialist certs, along with reading the recommended books of the CCIE reading list, and around 300 hours preparing for my lab exam. That is 300 hours configuring every possible combination and permutation of technology that could be setup, and then refining my speed in configuring those technologies until i got to the point where speed as well as brains would be an advantage in the lab.
So now that I have my CCIE, whats next? Well, oddly enough.. I am thinking of getting my second CCIE cert. In my office I will be the Jr guy by only having a single CCIE (on of our guys has all five). I also need to take my VMware certified professional cert, and probably get my HP Master Accredited Storage Engineer. I guess I am just a glutton for punishment.