There was some silence in this blog as I was on a final stage of my CCIE lab exam preparation. Okay, now I am CCIE Routing & Switching!
It took me about 8 months to prepare. Hours and days of reading, watching and labbing.
Want to share some of my thoughts on all this.
You don’t know what you’ll face on the exam. As the routing and switching lab went virtual Cisco is constantly changing things, adding new twists to it, so the best choice is to master what you certainly will need.
So before going to the lab I tried to make sure that I
- know the “core” technologies (L2/L3, MPLS/VRF, DMVPN etc.) really well. Just as Einstein said “be able to explain it to your grandmother”
- can do the “core” level configurations really quickly without using any terminal hints, just by memory
- know typical problems you may face with core technologies, which commands to use to find and verify them without spending much time guessing. Know the common reasons why OSPF neighborship fails, why BGP routes are not present in routing table etc.
- know and master shortened versions of all the commands: no to show bgp vpnv4 unicast all summary, yes to sh bg vpnv4 uni all sum
- know the terminal keyboard shortcuts/hotkeys. An official Cisco doc on it can be found here. Also there is a cheatsheet version published in Etherealmind
- know all master all the CLI filtering keys (include, exclude, section). Of with their shortened versions (i, e, s). Forget about browsing through unfiltered command outputs
- mastered fast typing
My idea was that this will make bigger part of configuration and troubleshooting I’ll have to do on my lab exam more like routine and liberate some of my time and brain resources to thoroughly think on issues I’ll certainly have and correct mistakes I’ll inevitably make.
Of course there is always a good and bad luck on every exam, but by proper training you are diminishing space for bad luck. Relaxing and sleeping well before exam also helps a lot.
And at last my answers to two common philosophical questions on obtaining CCIE status:
Q: How much does it have to do with a real life?
A: Not that much for me. I would say it has about 20% overlap with my job.
Q: Does studying for CCIE make you a better engineer?
A: Certainly yes. Just make sure you look as deep as you can into things while studying.