What is CCIE? The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) is accepted worldwide as the most prestigious networking certification in the industry.
This blog will detail my progress towards the passing the CCIE Lab Exam in Routing & Switching.
UPDATE: I passed the lab in August 2015 – www.rogerperkin.co.uk/ccie/passed-the-ccie-lab-exam-in-routing-and-switching-v5
My name is Roger Perkin I am a Cisco Network Engineer working in Hampshire UK – I have been working with Cisco now for about 9 years and have achieved CCNP & CCSP, I passed the written exam last year and decided that now is the time to finally pass the lab exam. For my CCIE Training I am using INE, I have all their products and am very happy with the material. For study notes I thought it best to setup this site. As if I need to look anything up I can just google it!
CCIE Routing and Switching
I like many others will be taking the Routing and Switching track first. This is mainly due to the broad range of technologies it will teach me and also the abundance of training materials and access to lab equipment. Unlike the Data Center track which is currently very new and you certainly can’t run an entire topology on gns3!
I setup this blog in 2012 and my target to pass the lab exam is October 2013. I am solely using INE’s products and have everything they have got. I have already been on one of their bootcamps and am currently putting in about 3 hours per day – which as I get close will have to increase! If you are looking for some Lab Exam tips and study resources I will be making regular posts on my progress.
For the latest up to date information always refer to the Cisco website: There is also a great deal of info on wikipedia here
There are currently 9 Lab exam testing centres. Information taken from www.cisco.com corect at 13/2/2012
There are currently 8 different CCIE tracks. Routing & Switching, Data Center, Security, Service Provider, Service Provider operations, Wireless, Storage and Voice.
The Routing and Switching track remains the most popular, mainly due to the amount of training material available for it. However there is daily becoming more and more information available on the other tracks making them more accessible.
Once I have finished the R&S and I have had a small break I think I will be looking to doing either the Security or Voice Lab.
The journey to the ultimate Cisco Certification is a long one, most candidates say they put in around 1000 hours on the command line and hours and hours of reading. This is not an exam you can pass by swatting up on a few practice questions. This is a real world exam testing your configuration and troubleshooting skills on Cisco hardware. Once you have completed it you will put yourself among an elite group of only about 30,000 engineers worldwide.
There are no prerequisites to this Cisco Certification. Cisco recommend you have at least 3 years hands on experience with Cisco hardware and have an in depth understanding of routing protocols, switches, routers and security devices.
To become CCIE Certified, you must first pass the written exam. After you pass the written exam, you qualify to schedule and take the one-day lab exam. on-site at one of the ten Cisco CCIE lab locations. The hands-on lab exam tests Cisco equipment command knowledge and network troubleshooting skills.
I would suggest that you do not attemp the CCIE without first obtaining some other Cisco Certifications.
CCNA, CCNP, CCSP etc
These qualifications will give you a good grounding in networking theory and concepts and make your journey to the Lab exam a lot easier.
As first stated in this post there are no Prerequisites to this exam, but this does not mean to say you should just jump in at the deep end, prepare well and remember this is a marathon not a sprint!
This is something you need to consider, you could go it alone and just revise from the doc cd and put in endless hours at the command line, but at some point you are going to require some formal training. Most engineers will purchase a training product that consists of workbooks, videos and practice labs. This will give you some structure to your learning and ensuure you cover all the exam topics fully. When you are close to the lab I would highly recommend attending a CCIE Bootcamp. I attended INE’s 10 day bootcamp run by Brian Dennis and it was the best 10 days training I have had ever!
One of the reasons engineers want to pass the CCIE Lab exam is an increase in salary. This should not be your primary focus to pass the exam! Your primary focus should be to make you a better engineer and to be an expert on the technologies. Once have passed the exam one of the outcomes is that you will want to move on to a better job at a higher level which will inevitably incur a higher salary. A typical starting salary can vary around the world but on average you should expect to earn between $70,000-$100,000
If you want to pass the Lab you are going to have to read, there is no way around it, and I have heard many people say they don’t like reading. It is a fact there is an awful lot of material to cover and the best way to learn it is by reading it. The main resource in your studies and the lab exam is the doc cd, you need to be reading this every day. Here is my Top 10 list of Books for Routing and Switching
Brief History of Cisco
One of the biggest names in computer networking technology is Cisco Systems, Inc. Based in San Jose, California. Cisco designs, manufactures and sells computer networking equipment, employs upwards of 60,000 people around the globe, and had revenues that topped $43 Billion in 2011. Their devices are used daily by millions of businesses and individuals and their name is a household one thanks to their successful ‘Human Network’ advertising campaign.
Cisco Systems was founded by Sandy Lerner and Len Bosack, a married couple who also worked together at Stanford University. Their first product was a multi-protocol software program. Theirs was the first company to sell commercially successful routers supporting multiple network protocols and Cisco was one of the first to capitalize on the emerging service provider market. Recently Cisco has become a major provider of Voice over IP (VoIP) to enterprises and is moving into the home user market through its acquisitions of Scientific Atlanta and Linksys.
Cisco Systems inaugurated their Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert program in September of 1993. It was meant to identify individuals within their customer and partner organizations who could effectively diagnose and resolve the problems inherent in large and complex internetworks. The program recognizes and rewards the `best-in-class’ engineers who possess the technical knowledge and expert skills to troubleshoot internetworks. Further it was meant to create a special relationship between these experts and Cisco’s support team.
CCIE is the highest level of certification that Cisco provides and the testing, which consists of a written exam and a ‘hands-on’ lab exam, is among the toughest in the industry. In fact, fewer than 2% of engineers who hold any cisco certifications go on to pass the Lab Exam.
The Written exam consists of 100 questions that must be answered in under 2 hours. When the written part is passed the student then has 18 months to take the Lab portion of the Exam.
The Lab Exam is where most people have their problems. It is an eight hour hands-on exam designed to show that the candidate not only knows Internetworking theory, but can also demonstrate advanced hands on mastery. Most do not pass on the first try; however they have up to 3 years to pass a second time before they are then required to take the written test again. In fact a candidate may take the Lab Exam as many times as possible, spread out 30 days apart, in that 3 year time period. The biggest problem for some is the cost, which is currently (as of Feb 2012) $1500.00 per attempt and is offered only at ten Cisco lab exam locations worldwide. You can easily see how this would add up quickly with multiple attempts.
One of the reasons engineers study for this exam is the promise of a better job, it gives you some job security as having this certification is certainly a door opener, however it is not the magical key to riches that some believe it is. You will still have to prove yourself as being a good engineer, the journey to passing this exam will make you a better engineer and that in itself will improve your job prospects. The certification is just an extra on top.
I found a great way to keep all my thoughts and study notes together was to create this ccie blog. I can easily google something if I want to look it up and I get directed back to my site and can be remineded of what I did. It is also helpful for other candidates and I get regular emails from other ccie candidates offering advice and asking questions.
The first CCIE
Terrance Slattery was the very first person to pass the Exam in Cisco’s history. Mr. Slattery was a Cisco consultant in 1993 when he heard about the new exam and inquired to Brad Wright about participating. Mr. White was the program manager at the time and helped Mr. Slattery to arrange for the testing. Within 2 weeks he not only took and passed the written potion of the exam but also attended a Cisco troubleshooting class and then passed the hands on test over a 2 day period. For his herculean effort he was awarded #1026.
In an interview in 2009 Mr. Slattery was asked the question: What types of training do you use or recommend to someone just getting started on a certification?
His answer was that “No single source of training is sufficient for everyone. I recommend that you research the various programs and find a style that works for you. Join some of the online forums and study groups. Learn from other people. There are also a lot of good Blogs where people who are studying are sharing what they have learned. A benefit of working with others is that the relationships that you develop will become beneficial later in your career”.
Considering the source I would take his advice to heart. Good luck to all who are endeavoring to take and pass this most arduous of exams. The rewards are well worth the struggle.
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