During my CCIE journey I have used many online resources from paid to free, the list below shows my top 10 ccie related websites that I used on a regular basis to to get information and study material. These range from Cisco to training providers and personal blogs. All which provided benefits to my study.
The number 1 resource for any CCIE track. You could pass any CCIE exam purely with the material on this website. It contains all the exam information, the blueprints and of course the configuration guides. The Learning network is amazing and the forums contain a wealth of knowledge sharing. The list could stop here as all the information you need is available from this website, however a lot of people like to read others opinions and viewpoints which is why I have 8 more websites for you to check out.
Most CCIE candidates will use a training provider and the one I chose personally was INE this was based on a few decisions but mainly because I really liked their training materials and in particular the Advanced Technology Class videos. They have a very active forum and blog where there were regular postings from many candidates and for me when the version changed from v4 to V5 INE were quick to respond and update their training materials and due to the investment protection programme, I got all the updates for free. When I was studying at full speed I would visit this website on a daily basis. I would like to personally thank Brian Dennis and Brian McGahan for their input into the training materials as without them I would not be where I am today.
The decision on which training vendor to go with is very personal and I know some candidates that purchased material from both vendors. I chose to stick to one vendor. You have all the options and if you have not yet decided on which vendor to go with I would recommend spending a lot of time with each one to see which style you like the best, as over the course of the next few months / years you will be listening to their voices a lot!
The list now moves onto personal blogs and one that I did read a lot was packetlife.net by Jeremy Stretch. Many times when searching for a topic packetlife came up in my search and as always Jeremy provided a very straight talking post on a particular topic. One post that really helped me get my head around MPLS was this one. When learning any technology it always helped me to get multiple perspectives on the subject and sometimes it was just having something explained in a little different way that just made it click.
If you are studying for any Cisco exam and in particular CCIE Routing & Switching you will find GNS3 an invaluable tool to use for setting up small topologies. GNS3vault is an amazing free resource setup up by René Molenaar which has 100’s of free labs covering CCNA, CCNP and CCIE related material. If you want to learn a technology just sign up to the site and then try out the labs. Each one talks you through a simple topology and a scenario and most of them also have a video explanation at the end.
Authored by Dual CCIE Ruhann Du Plessis the Routing-Bits Handbook was Ruhann’s study notes when he took the CCIE in Routing & Switching, he has also authored a SP version as well. The R&S version covers Version 4 and as far as I am aware has not been updated to cover the V5 material. It is a text document just covering all the technologies. Available from www.routing-bits.com this is the only other material apart from the INE workbooks and videos that I purchased. I kept the pdf on my ipad and when I had ten minutes just read through a few pages. As well as that his blog does contain some very good articles for another perspective on different technologies.
Simply titled Darrens Blog – this blog takes you through his journey to become a dual CCIE in R&S and SP and also some information on the JNCIE – during my early studies I would always look out for Darrens next post as he was ahead of me in my studies so everything he published was always great content which stretched my understanding more – he now works for Google.
Another great blog from Daniel titled Daniels Networking Blog. He was also ahead of me in my journey so as with Darrens blog I was always keeping an eye on Daniels blog to see what he was posting and there was always something to keep me interested and constantly learning. Daniel is CCIE# 37149 passing a short time before Darren – there is a lot of great content on this site and as with Darren he continues to post great content on a regular basis.
2 non-technical websites, but both products I used every day during my CCIE journey
These last 2 are not technical websites in any way and I must point out I am not being sponsored to put these here. The following two items of tech have really helped me through my CCIE journey, firstly my Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones. Being able to study anywhere is a great thing but background noise is a huge distraction. Early on in my studies after becoming very frustrated with my current headphones I looked into the best noise cancelling headphones you can buy. The Bose QC15s where the model I chose and believe me they are not cheap, but they are worth every penny. I can put them on and watch a video, listen to music and basically switch off the world which greatly helped me grab extra study time on the train, on a plane and even just waiting in the dentist. Through my entire CCIE journey I can say that I must have worn these headphones pretty much every day.
If you have trouble focussing on your studies get a pair of these and trust me you won’t regret it.
Hunched over your laptop during the day is bad enough but when you have to study all evening and the weekends as well your neck and shoulders start to complain. I was looking for a solution to this problem and I had all my study material on my laptop so didn’t want to move back to a desktop or be bothered with multiple screens. This is where I discovered the Roost Stand this is a foldable portable laptop stand that you can take with you anywhere. It elevates your laptop screen to a more comfortable height which eases the strain on your neck and shoulders caused by looking down at your screen. You will need to use an external mouse and keyboard but it is such neat solution and fits right into your rucksack.
The version I purchased was an initial run on kickstarter and has completely sold out but they have now re-designed and are about to release version 2 – this is currently available for pre-order from www.therooststand.com
So there you have it 9 websites you need to visit if want to become a CCIE.
I hope this has provided you some information that you didn’t previously know and please share this post on all the normal channels. If you want to become a CCIE you also need a lab – check out my post here on “How to build a CCIE Lab with CSR1000v routers”