I am so thrilled to
announce that I finally got my CCIE digits. ; )
Technically I am the
35196th CCIE, assuming Cisco is not skipping numbers.
Below is an overview
of my Journey and I hope it helps some of you and inspires others. ; )
- For the written exam, I
studied mostly using General Networking Books, Cisco press books,
researching, a significant amount of basic to intermediate hands on
practice for all topics, and some advanced hands-on practice on core
topics. I used Microsoft OneNote for note taking.
- After passing the Written on
August 1, 2011, I immediately started on the INE workbooks. I am provided
by my company a bunch of 1841s and 3560s, so I cabled it to the INE
topology. At first, I didn't have any study strategy so I just jumped in
and labbed workbook 1 linearly (One topic at a time). I finished all the
core topics of vol.1 and noticed that I am forgetting some of the things I
labbed earlier. I realized that I needed a study plan, so I digged into
the INE blog and saw the Study plan proposed by Petr Lapukhov. For the
rest of my study, I then patterned it using his proposed study plan and it
worked for me. I enjoyed doing the vol.2 and 3 and saw myself improving at
a very fast rate in terms of speed, mastery of topics, and attention to
detail. I continuously revise and improve my notes on OneNote as I go deep
in each topic. Everything I learn, I document and write on my OneNote.
- On February 2012 I scheduled
my first attempt for April 2012. I did mock labs 1, 2, and 3 to be able to
get the feel of time pressure and test my strategy. I scored 74, 75, 80
respectively which gave my "just enough" confidence for my first
- I was not prepared for
troubleshooting. I didn't have a proper verification strategy and mindset.
I also had a hard time adjusting to the GUI, my screen was disorganized. I
worried about too many things like "logging console". I wasted
time making a list of devices preconfigured with "no logging
console" or "logging console informational". After each
ticket I make sure to revert the devices back to their preconfiguration. I
got this wrong idea from other instructors and candidates. Which I
shouldn't have believed. So to all first timers out there, I want to
assure you that it's OKAY to do whatever EXTRA Configuration you want to
add as long as you don't break any rule and it doesn't prevent any feature
required to make other task/tickets work. Just read all the Guidelines and
Task rules properly. This applies for both TSHOOT and CONFIG.
- For config section, I
finished all tasks except for 4 incomplete tasks. There was one topic that
I skipped during my study and 2 tasks came out on my exam for that topic.
The other 2 tasks I didn't complete were advanced services topic, I lacked
mastery and depth of knowledge on these topics.
- I got my failed result after
an hour of finishing my exam. My expected score in Tshoot is correct, but
my Config score was a bit below my expectation. After some reflection, I
realized that I made small mistakes on some topics and made wrong
assumptions on some.
- I talked to fellow
candidates, revised and practiced my exam strategy. I did extensive
research on some topics and read the DOCCD patiently.
- I continued doing vol.2 labs,
at the same time taking my time to improve my verification skills and
- I scheduled my 2nd attempt
for July 31, 2012.
Day of my 2nd
- Arrived at the CCIE location
and waited for the proctor together with several candidates in different
- Felt more confident and
relaxed compared to my first attempt.
- CCIE proctor came. The
proctor was different from my first attempt.
- The proctor asked for our
passports/IDs. The security candidate left his passport at his Hotel and
the proctor said that he needs to get it and he will not be given any time
- I logged in to the
application window and resized the window to about half the length of the
monitor and centered it on the big screen.
- Before starting anything, I
quickly read the Troubleshooting guidelines around 1-2minutes.
- I open a Notepad window and
put two quick configurations on it:
- First one is copy
and pasted upon opening any console window:
- First one is copy
- Second one is pasted to all
concerned devices after solving ticket.
- Second one is pasted to all
- I clicked the "All
tickets" menu, then placed the window to the right of the screen.
- I read ticket 1 thoroughly
and based on the mini-diagram provided (the mini-diagram highlights which
devices should we FOCUS ON for troubleshooting), I open the console window
of the concerned devices and place the Putty windows to the left of the
screen, in a cascaded manner.
- After solving each ticket, I
close all opened Putty windows then read the next ticket. For the next
ticket, I open the necessary Putty windows and again arrange them in a
cascaded manner on the left of the screen.
- If it's a 3 pts ticket, I
skip it and proceed to next ticket. If it's a 2-pt ticket but explicitly
says that "There are two separate faults for this ticket that you
need to resolve", I skip it.
- Around "01:20
time-remaining", I finished up to Ticket 10 and looked at my list and
I had skipped 3 tickets. All of the tickets that I finished were 2 pts
worth and mostly, if not all, single-fault tickets.
- I then returned to and
carefully read each of the "more difficult tickets". These
tickets had 2-3 faults.
- On the last ticket I solved,
the mini-diagram highlights 6 concerned devices. It's a 3-pt ticket. The
first fault was on one of the 6 concerned devices. But the big WTF in this
ticket is that 2 other faults were present on 2 routers not belonging to
the 6 highlighted devices. Lesson is that, you should not limit your
troubleshooting to the highlighted devices. Do not assume, check
- I got the proper output for
the last ticket around "00:45 time-remaining" mark.
- I reread the troubleshooting
guideline and verified if I violated anything. Then I verified each of the
tickets carefully until "00:30 time-remaining" mark.
- Lastly, I got curious and
issued "show version": The IOU routers were using 12.4(15)T9 IOS
on Sparc SOLARIS. The IOU catalyst switches were using 12.2 XXX IOS
(labeled "experimental") on Sparc SOLARIS.
- My advice, verification
strategy is very important. You can't just go on and do "show
run" on every device and expect to find faults. First analyze the
network baseline for the ticket, check control plane, check everything
from source to destination, check data plane. Know where to start and what
sequence of verification you are gonna perform, divide and conquer.
Practice a structured troubleshooting. Lastly, DO NOT skip reading the
- I did same thing and
organized my screen just like troubleshooting section.
- I Started on reading the
Configuration Guidelines. I wrote down DOs and DONTs based on the
guideline. After that I skimmed through all the tasks and marked
dependencies. I made a checklist of all the tasks so that I can easily
monitor each task and jump from one task to another related task without
confusion. This also allows me to monitor my speed, mark tasks that I
haven't completed fully, and make notes on tasks that I will verify with
- I finished the configuration
with 1 hour to go. I used ALL the time remaining to verify all tasks and
tune some of my configuration. I also asked proctor for clarification on
the tasks that I have marked.
- Finished the lab with 2-3
tasks that I weren't 100% sure of and just went on with my instincts.
- Lab uses 3825, 1841, and
catalyst switches are 3560. 12.4(15)T9 for ISRs and 12.2(44)SE for
- My advice is to be careful in
doing the configuration section. READ ALL the guidelines!! Have a strategy
and find the right speed. Do not be very fast or you will overlook and
misinterpret little details. Read every word and every phrase with care,
make sure you are not misinterpreting tasks. If some parts of the tasks
are vague/odd, skip that requirement and mark the task
"incomplete" and comeback to it later after you finish
everything else. Do not get caught or you will waste time. Do the configuration
on notepad as much as possible especially for the Core tasks (routing
& switching tasks), you will be more accurate this way.
- I went straight to the hotel
after finishing the Lab. I expected to get the result immediately like my
first attempt. I am refreshing (pressing F5) my email like crazy, waiting
for the result. After getting tired and hungry, I went out to eat dinner
and came back to check again. Still nothing, so I decided to write down
some of the memorable portions of the lab and reflect upon it. I fell
asleep waiting for results and woke up around 4am but still nothing.
- Took a shower at 6am and went
straight to the Airport. I was very numb and many things coming into my
mind, but still very positive. Before my boarding time, I checked my email
and there it was the email from [email protected] Clicked the link and my
Heart pounded like crazy fast. I can't breathe and think straight, I was
typing my CCO password wrong. After logging in, the screen went white and
thought the result will appear already. It was a suspense moment. I still
had to enter your candidate and written exam details. I entered all
details and there it was I saw a "FAIL" (didn't realize it was
my first attempt) and my brain just stopped at that moment, after a couple
of seconds I saw a "PASS" above that. My world stopped and
didn't know what to do, I can't focus my brain. Then everything slowly
registered into me, slowly I was able to breathe. Wheeew. d=
This is one of the
greatest feelings I've ever felt. I want to thank the Lord and all my loved
ones for supporting me in this wonderful Journey. My gf was very supportive, my
family, my countless friends, all of you were my inspiration.
INE thank you! You
live by your name "experts at making you an expert". If not for your
top-notch materials, I don't know what level would I be in right now.
Thank you as well to
other fellow candidates and IEOC members. I learned a lot from you. I wish all
the best to everyone. ; )