I know that we live in a globalized world, full of virtual friends linked via social sites – and honestly that is great. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many people all over the world now that our world is indeed so much ‘smaller’ because of technology. I love it. I do. However, when I actually get to really meet those people, in person, face to face, I can’t help but feel something of a bit more connected to them. Shaking someone’s hand, actually seeing their face, still means something I think. I think this is why all of us in the networking community really enjoy coming together annually at Cisco Live – Networkers. We get to put faces with names, and see old faces that we have connected with in years past.

It’s one of the reasons I still very much like teaching live classes, and I believe why students still like attending them. You not only get a captive audience with the student/instructor for a solid two weeks, but you also get to see and hear and talk to someone in person. You get to hear their story. What makes them … them. What drives them. You get to actually know them. I also think that meeting in person is something intentional, and that if you had the inkling of maybe putting off your studies for a night after work, that if you were a part of a study group that actually met in person, you’d be less likely to cancel – maybe feel a bit more committed or obligated to show up.

So to that end, I would like to find out if there is anyone living in the Los Angeles / Orange County / San Diego area that would be interested in a CCIE study group one night per week. I propose Mondays, but I am open to any night Monday-Thursday, really. This would be a group where anyone studying for their CCIE in any track could come together and study for a few hours each week. Obviously, we’d break apart and each study in our own sub-groups dedicated to the track we are trying to attain. When we first meetup, we would devise an agenda for the coming months, and focus on those topics when we meet each week. And as is usual, the stronger in a given topic domain help out the weaker, and we all grow. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and we all have something to gain from each other.

I would like to find out who all might be interested in meeting in this area, and actually in any area for that matter. While I can’t host the group in every city, I’d still be interested if there are more than just one person studying for a given cert in each city. I would venture to guess that there are. :)

For the LA/OC area, I would be more than happy to host, and provide all the coffee and a snacks each week. As I said above, we could have multiple people come together even if studying for different tracks. I would be quite happy to participate in the Data Center, Voice and Security groups primarily. Respond either in the comments below or by known unicasting me some email if you are interested, or even if you would be interested in hosting a group in another city.

About Mark Snow, CCIE #14073:

Mark Snow has been actively working with data and traditional telephony as a Network Consulting Engineer since 1995, and has been working with Cisco Call Manager and voice-over technology since 1998. Mark has been actively teaching and developing content for the CCIE Voice track since 2005, and the Security track since 2007. Mark's story with both data and voice technology started out quite young, as he began learning around the age of five from his father who was a patented inventor and a research scientist at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Mark started out on Unix System V and basic analog telephony, and went on from there to large data networking projects with technologies such as Banyan Vines, IPX and of course IP, and large phone systems such as Nortel 61c, Tadiran Coral, Avaya Definity and of course Cisco Unified Communications Manager in both enterprise and 911 PSAP environments across the US and internationally. Mark is also an accomplished pilot and punched his ticket in 2001. When Mark isn't learning, labing, consulting or teaching, he can be found either piloting or possibly jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, hanging off a rock somewhere or else skiing out west. He also might just be enjoying a quiet day at the beach with his wife and two wonderful young kids, Ryleigh and Judah.

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80 Responses to “CCIE Study Groups in LA or Other Cities?”

  1. Reilly Chase says:

    I’m studying for CCIE Voice and I live in Oceanside, CA but frequent the Van Nuys area. I’d definitely be interested in a study group. I follow you on twitter – @VoIPChase

  2. Calin C. says:

    Mark, this is a very nice initiative. I honestly envy you people living in U.S. :)

    Unfortunately, I’m far away, in Europe, so I cannot join. I’ll spread the info and link on social networks, maybe there is somebody interested.

    I’m quite curious how this will develop. May I ask you to post a follow up to this story, maybe with some words how everything worked out?

  3. tahir says:

    I live in Redmond, WA area (for now), currently staring on multiple tracks DC and SP, i would be interested in group studies here in my area, if anyone is interested.

  4. Uyi says:

    I am interested Mark. Would prefer weekends though so I don’t have to deal with the commute to LA. I am in San Diego and I’m interested in Security or R&S track

  5. Lloyd Butler says:

    Hi Mark,

    That sounds awesome!!! Unfortunately, I am in Chicago. I am preparing for my R&S Lab, right now, and currently have been trying to get a group together. Right now, a friend of mine and I get together, every Sunday at a local Panera, near my home in the South Suburbs, but we would really like to grow the group. Any assistance would be much appreciated! :-)

    Best Regards,


    • Panera is great place because of the large(r) table sizes and free wifi. Free for 30 mins, then you spoof your MAC address ;-) .
      Anyone in Chicago want to join them?

      • Tom Kacprzynski says:

        I’ve been trying to get a study group in Chicago for a while, although I’m done with my CCIE wouldn’t mind meeting up. I might have few other people that are interested. Let me know.


        • JT says:

          Hi Tom,
          Please keep me posted, I would like to join or start a group for CCIE-Wireless in Chicago, or join R&S group to review routing.

  6. Lloyd Butler says:

    That is a great idea!!! LOL!!! The good thing at the one out in Frankfort, IL, is they are a little more relaxed with the 30 minute option, and they have an area, for those studying that has a closed door with many tables so it is good for studying. But I have to keep that MAC Spoofing in mind when I am Dowtown as they are sticklers for that!! Hahahahahaha! ;-)

  7. Roger Perkin says:

    I live in the UK but would be happy to organise a meetup near Southampton if anyone is interested?


  8. zeus says:

    I live in San Diego and drive to Orange county once a week if needed. I am interested in CCDE and CCIE Data Center.

  9. LLe says:

    I am in OC, CA (live near Anaheim and have an office in Irvine). I cleared R&S nearly 4 years ago and currently pursuing DC. Even though I got through R&S mostly on my own, I’d like to change that up a bit with DC.
    I got quite a bit of reading to do in the mean time while waiting for rack rental to become available (hint hint INE) to practice.

  10. Chetan Morajkar says:


    Hey this is a great idea. Actually i am not doing any Cisco course but I have some idea about it.

    Best Of Luck


  11. timaz says:

    i wish i could be there.. unfortunately i’m so far away from there… but it will be great (at least for me) if you decide to do it virtually; so someone like me can participate freely and remotely on determined hours of week to ask questions and share the knowledge. tnx Mark ;)

  12. Troy Williams says:


    Great idea, I am currently a R&S IE preparing for DC Written. I am in San Antonio TX. I would be interested in hosting.

  13. Thanks for all the responses here and via email. I will unicast those in my area and we’ll get something setup. For those in other areas, I’ll run point and be sure to hand out willing host’s contact info as requested in that area. Thanks everyone.

  14. Malick Ndiaye says:

    Hello Mark,

    Very good initiative. I just restarted the CCIE Meetup Group that was started by Rob Deweese. I would be more than willing to host the group in Paris and its surrounding areas.
    I am in the same line of sight as Mark, I am all about meeting face to face.
    For those who are interested, you can reach us at http://www.meetup.com/ccie-meetup/

  15. Greg says:

    Hey Mark,

    How long will the study groups be for? I’m a bit undecided on the IE track I want to follow I really want to go CCIE Voice but I also want to complete my CCIE R&S just not sure what to go for first. Any recommendations?

  16. Steen says:

    Hi Mark,
    I live in Seal Beach, and would like to part of a study group, mostly for R&S, but would like to hang on for the Voice as well.

  17. Jason says:

    Anyone in the Cleveland, Ohio area who is interested in meeting up to study? I am currently working on CCIE DC.

  18. Ismaila Adeleke Kareem says:

    Hello,Networkers, i have my CCNP since 2009 and since then i have preparing for my CCIE R&S Lab. I like to be part of this study group live expecially during Cisco Live events, but i would say i don’t normally know how to go about it and other mordalities required from Nigeria. I would really appreciate if anybody can help or advise in this regards.

  19. kenyonej says:

    What about Houston? I’ve been dying to have a study group here and would love to spread the word. I’m studying for R&S right now.

  20. Chris says:

    Houston, Tx ..DC or Voice. I’m a RS IE

    • kenyonej says:

      Hi Chris,

      Would you like to spread the word with me some how? Or you and I could meet up somewhere here and see where to go with this. Even attending DC or Voice groups would be beneficiary to me. Just fellowship period as there isn’t any groups here in this huge city!

  21. Blake says:

    We’re actually trying to set one up similar to the above in Franklin, TN.

    I’m working on my R&S lab, although the other current members are ~CCNP level. I’m trying to start it for my own practice etc so don’t let the CCNP level people turn you off to it.

  22. Humphrey Cheung says:

    I’m in the Los Angeles/OC area and would be interested in attending. I work in Rosemead and would be happy hosting the group. We have an insane number of training rooms with projectors, white-boards, outlets and wifi.

  23. Sidi Ouedraogo says:


    This is an awesome idea.I study in solo and have been trying to have networkers in my area ( Boston) connect.I will be glad to join one these groups.My IE DC is scheduled for May.I am also planning to move to LA.

    Please advise

  24. Jeff S says:

    I am interested. I live in south Orange County.

  25. mikull says:

    anyone intersted in studying for CCIE SEC v4 from Melbourne, AU? :)

  26. Kenneth says:

    I’m in Los Angeles and also interested. Please add me to your email list, Mark. Thanks.

  27. Dan Jones says:

    Cisco user groups sometimes organize study groups. It might be worth checking if an active one is nearby. Even if they don’t offer one it might give you a place to meet others who want to organize study groups on their own.

    I know the Dallas/Ft Worth one has had CCIE study groups in the past (http://www.cisco-users.org/study_groups.htm). They also have a link to a list of other CUGs in the US but sadly it looks like the CUG population is on the wane.

  28. Eric says:

    I live in the Long Beach area and I am studying for the CCIE R/S. I would join a study group. The only issue I see is LA is so big, that you almost have to break it down by regions/territory. All in all keep me posted.

  29. Jose says:

    I’m in Los Angeles and interested in Security track.

  30. Kareem A. Jones says:

    I live in Brooklyn, NY and I am studying for CCIE DC. Would love to participate in a study group in my area if anyone is interested….

  31. dan says:

    anybody in Frankfurt .DE?

  32. Jonathan says:

    I am in. North Orange County Area.

    Great idea, Mark.

  33. Steve says:

    Studying for the CCIE SP in Montreal. Would also be willing to assist CCIE R&S students.

  34. Khalid Abdullah says:

    Great idea! I will be interested to join. I am pursuing the R/S. I live in Anaheim Hills.

  35. Than Doan says:

    I’m studying for CCIE R/S. I work in LA but live in Orange. Please add me to the list.

  36. Derrick Cook says:

    I am definitely interested as well. I am in Los Angeles but work in the OC. I am available any evening. Please add me to the list for CCIE R/S.

  37. Bruce Chen says:

    Hi Mark,

    I am in the Los Angeles area too. Interested in CCIE R&S group too. Please add me to the list.


  38. Dan says:


    I’m in the LA area too. Interested in the CCIE R&S group and have already failed the lab exam twice.

    Please add me if possible.



  39. Travis Niedens says:

    I live in the IE – just east of OC / LA. I would be interested in a CCIE DC or Security group

  40. Denny says:

    Hi Mark, I’m near downtown LA and interested in R&S. Please add me to your list. Thank you!

  41. Ilee says:

    Mark, I live in east LA / orange country area. I am interested in CCIE Security and data center. Please add me to your list . Thanks

  42. Tim says:

    Hey Mark – I live in Rancho Cucamonga and am interested in a Voice or R/S group. Thank you!


  43. Stevaker says:

    I am in SD but would drive to OC if required.

  44. Steen says:

    Is there any know R&S or maybe voice study groups in Vancouver ?

  45. Dan says:


    I’m a CCIE Voice candidate. Please add me to the list.


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