Hi ,

Two days ago , I received this question from someone who has reached my profile through LinkedIn. I decided to advise him by mail with some ideas about my own situation and experiences.

Now let’s come back with this reflexion  and share some ideas with you and for anyone who wants to achieve the CCIE Voice certification.

  • Firstly, don’t forget that this certification as well the CCNA , CCNPs are individual certifications meaning that it is up to you to reach them, nobody can work for you. So your motivation will be the key element to reach it and it is not only your motivation but also the motivation of people living with you , family and friends as you will be very busy during all your trip to study for it.
  • Motivation to study , motivation to learn , motivation to work lately ,motivation to share  are only some few elements to what I think and you must consider at least.

  • Secondly,  once you have defined your goal , commit yourself with your family a plan to reach your objective as the time that you spent to study , to practise is very important. Before to obtain your certificate , I can assure as all other CCIE that I know that they have passed a lot of hours behind they study guide or their racks to configure some stuffs. And try to obey this planning as every little hour is important. So write down all hours done for your studies in an excell sheet to see your progression
  • Thirdly, consider every line of the Lab Exam Topics as your bible . I mean you should now that every point in that list can be tested and so need from you that you know what it is and how to play with it because reaching your goal depends on your ability to deploy quickly what they are asking you. To help you to compulse this list and understand all points , SRNDs will be your friends as you will find into it a lot of informations.
  • Fourthly, consider that you are not alone and you have a lot of other people trying to reach the same objective as you. So don’t be shy to make contact through Skype, Twitter , Yahoo , LinkedIn , … as the discussion that you can have with others can ease some points where you have difficulty. Also belonging to a study group will permit you to confront all your point of view and see if you are right in your vision ( SRND are not all time easy to understand and you know probably already it but a word in a sentence can change the meaning of it) because  don’t forget that nobody is perfect and CCIEs are also doing mistakes because we are human beings !!!! Try to share your practise with your group as there is not only one way to do one task, there are several ways to achieve it so you need to know the difference amongst them.
  • Consider that fact: Belonging to a group is important because sometime you will be the student and some other times , you will be the teacher and the more than you can teach , the more you are doing progress on your path ( there is always a beginning).

  • Fifthly, “Google is your friend” , don’t hesitate to make research on the web as there are plenty of blogs with good stuffs. Again it is up to you to filter the information that you need into them , also it permits you as said before to make contacts with others people. Also this will help you when you will face in front of a problem and find your solution. The IE level is also the ability to prove that you can identify your problem quickly , make some research and implement an action plan to correct your issue ( after as last resort , you still can open a TAC case but don’t forget that identify easily the problem and taking all logs and alternative that you have tried will obviously help you and the TAC engineer to find a fix for your problem).
  • In the same idea, subscribe to all CCIE training vendors blogs and forum as you can find already a lot of useful information ( like OSL , ccbootcamp , INE forum , IPX Blog , INE Blog, …  to name just a few).

  • Sixth, as Matthew Berry has told it , don’t hesitate to blog yourself and share with other people what you are doing , what you are learning. Your blog will be a great tool for you and others to find information during your trip , if you want to preserve some stuff then implement a kind of multi level in your blog ( MLA if you want lol). The essential is that this material will be accessible from anywhere ( home , work office , customer side , …) and with all the search lookup in your site you can find easily the point that you want . And also you will be sure that you will not loose a sheet somewhere 🙂
  • Seventh, Be ready to fail your lab and retake it . What I mean is that CCIE exam are not easy exam and even if you are sure of you , you can easily fail it without knowing exactly where you lost points. Your strength in that case will be to consider all your possible mistakes and take back the horse again to reach your objective. You haven’t been the only one who has failed before and not the last.
  • Remember what I told you in the first point , this is also here where your motivation must stand up and be positive to continue your path. I know that it is not easy but it is also the price to pay to have it ( when you earn it , you forget all your failures). So don’t wait too much before two attempts as everything you have in mind is fresh and so it is easier to maintain your knowledge and as said just before analyzing why you have failed can be a good exercice for you.

    Also consider that passing multiple time is not free and represents a cost. So be conscient of this investment before entering to your trip . Consider also the investment of building a home lab or renting rack solutions to IPX , INE for example.

  • Eight , Take contact with CCIE training vendors as they can sell you training or rack session to practise for your lab, I recommend to contact a sales guy as you can benefit from interesting offers (a special thank to Mike Down from IPX) because even if you try to build you homelab ,maybe you won’t have all elements in your own rack. Vendors respects the topology of the lab and then you can work on every aspect of the lab.

Ok this it for now and don’t forget what I stated in the beginning of this post that these are my individual thoughts and so are not the only Truth, they are just my 2cents 🙂 .

It is up to you to find your way to become a CCIE because there is no secret , work , work , work and motivation , motivation , motivation are very important along your trip !!!!