We have had many requests to share this forum post with the blog, so here it is. I also wanted to share a conversation Hadi had with Sales here at INE. I am so proud to be a part of INE! I have so much respect for my fellow instructors - and our incredible students!
Kady Dennis: Thank you for visiting Internetwork Expert. How may I help you today?
Hadi Esper: Hi Kady, I dont really have any questions to say.. I passed my CCIE R&S (25869) 2 days ago and wanted to say thank you to the sales team who have been very helpful and supportive of me over the last 1 year and 2 months.. i couldnt have made it without your excellent workbooks nor without ur amazing discounts
Hadi Esper: you can expect a CCIE success story (which i am writing now) :)
Kady Dennis: Hello Hadi, what can I say besides a huge congratulations!
Kady Dennis: What products do you think helped you the most?
Hadi Esper: thank you :)
Hadi Esper: hmmm.. the most..
Hadi Esper: definitely vol2
Hadi Esper: but ive used vol 1
Hadi Esper: vol 4
Hadi Esper: and the open ended questions
Hadi Esper: which are also invaluable
Hadi Esper: hey btw i still have 512 tokens
Hadi Esper: what should i do with them?
Hadi Esper: im thinking of donating them to someone the sales team at INE would choose
Hadi Esper: someone who is preparing and needs them
Hadi Esper: would that be okay ?
It is finally time for me to write my own success story. I cant believe how long it has been and how overwhelming it has been, I really hope you all find my story to be quite unique in some sense or the other.
So to give you a little background on myself. My name is Hadi Esper, I am Lebanese, and 23 years old. I have been studying for my CCIE ever since I touched my first CCNA book (2.5 years ago). I guess my journey is somehow accelerated, you’ll learn why in a few minutes.
I must start with one thing first. I have taken the time to write this post mostly because I feel like I owe it to the INE team and all other members of the INE forums, without your support, I could have never reached where I did. I must also confess, over the whole preparation period, I have been a “taker” and not a “giver”. I would say I was a taker from the forums because I never had time to log on and answer any else’s questions, I only logged on when I had trouble and needed help. So from now on, I promise to make my contribution to the forums as a thank you to everyone who helped me even when I was difficult or in-experienced sometimes. I have also been a huge “taker” from the sales team, whom I always asked for discounts and discounts.. well mostly because preparation was a little difficult for me financially. So you ask how I am going to give back? Hehehe.. well.. I still have 516 tokens in my account, and if the INE team is okay with it, I would be happy to donate them to someone who is currently preparing for the lab and is basically in my shoes (the past me). To be honest, I don’t know who or how to choose.. I was thinking of making some kind of competition, but I don’t want to make it difficult for anyone.. I just want to make someones life just a tiny bit easier.. so experts.. feel free to suggest a decision criteria ..
Alright, so now is the part where I explain how I prepared for my CCIE.. I started my preparation back when I was in university. I am a graduate of the electrical and computer engineering school (July 2008). I started my preparation around January 2008, that’s when I bought a very comprehensive book “CCNA study Guide” by todd lammle. Now one thing I want to stress to any candidate.. when you are preparing for the CCNA, your goal should not be to pass the CCNA exam.. your goal should be to gain CCIE level knowledge part of which happens to be CCNA, CCNP or whatever.. so what I am saying is, even if your studying a CCNA book, do it like your studying for the CCIE. I remember buying some useless router emulator for 150$ .. ow man do I regret that.. just get GNS3.. and start practicing everything you learn in your CCNA and CCNP books. When I took my CCNA exam .. which had some simulation questions, I was at a CCNP level in configuring routing protocols and therefore the CCNA exam simulations were a piece of cake.. and similarly with the CCNP, I had practiced routing switching, qos .. etc.. so much.. that I felt I was above the CCNP level before even taking the tests… why ? because you should be studying to get the CCIE not to pass a CCNA/CCNP test…
Alright so back to my timeline.. I prepared for my CCNA while I was still in university.. it was also a cool experience because I took a graduate level lab at that time where we would spend about 6 hours a week configuring cisco routers and a couple of linux servers.. after I graduated college in 20 days, I was recruited by Cisco as part of a graduate training program where I sat for official certified training (not INE at that time… but INe is the best.. more later..hehehe).. I took ICND-1 and 2.. I passed my CCNA exam.. I took BCMSN,BSCI,ONT,ISCW.. I passed all those tests as well… I passed the CCNA from the first try .. mostly because I was so well prepared since I read the todd lammle book page for page.. CCNP was a struggle .. especially that the courses were so crammed.. each certification was a 9 hour a day for 5 days course.. but during that whole CCNA/CCNP phase.. my life was all study.. I woke up at 8 everyday .. took my class from 9-5.. then stayed at the offices to study from 5pm to 11 or 12pm.. I did that for about 4 months straight.. and that’s how I got to be a CCNP by November 2008.
After my CCNP began the journey of my CCIE that’s when I discovered INE.. this is the material I used:
1- All 4 CCNP cisco press books
2- CCIE cisco press book
INE VOL 1,2,4 and open ended questions.
I started my first job with a Cisco gold partner in January 2009 as well.. my job is in pre-sales.. that’s basically like a Cisco SE .. mostly design consultancy.. so yes as you can tell.. I have never ever.. even up till today .. ever actually implemented a project on site!! All my actual implementation experience was either the few switches I bought off ebay.. or the racks I continuously rented from INE.
I did all the labs from INE vol2.. maybe except for 1.. and I have been doing that from January 2009 until January 24 2010. Ow I forgot to mention I first Lab failed attempt (November 23 2009) ugh I did so bad that day.. I was just shocked with the format of the test.. my layer 2 wasn’t even up until like 2 hours.. can you believe that!!!.. I definitely had a panic attack that day.. I was so nervous my hands were shaking for most of the lab..
Anyways I went on a little there.. So the last year was basically spending 1 day of the week doing a lab or half a lab.. and spending 2 days of my weekend from 9 am to 9 pm doing a lab.. It wasnt every week of the year.. otherwise I shouldn’t gotten the CCIE in half the time.. but definitely countless weekends.. especially the last 5 months from today.. I can swear on my life that I don’t remember what the sun looks like in the weekend.. man have a gained a lot of weight as well..!! anyways.. lets not embarrass me anymore.. I shall be at the gym after I write this !!
So my advice to CCIE candidates:
1-INE is the best training resource in terms of workbooks.. you should be comfortable with all labs even at level 9. I reached a point where I don’t even want to look at a level 5 or 6. Level nines always have this complex redistribution scenario.. I LOVE IT!!. hehehe
2- INE racks are the best out there.. well .. maybe I shouldn’t say this because I haven’t even tried any other racks.. but the truth is.. the support is so good here.. I didn’t even want to bother looking for something else.. the racks are always problem free.. and once you’ve worked with that control panel.. ow the control panel.. I fell in love with that tool..
3- when you are in the CCIE lab.. read every single line of instructions.. it is very very important that you are calm.. never make any assumptions on your own and follow everything every step of the way.. for example.. lets say the lab says that the following pre-configuration has been done for you:
1- a- IPv8 addresses
2- b- Layer 12 configuration
3- c- HSRP version 3.2
And then they tell you that there is a problem with the pre-configuration… don’t go looking for problems with anything else.. imagine that you configured a,b, and c.. now verify each one just like you did in VOL2 of INE.. now what I explained is just in principle.. but you should read every single line in the lab … the instructions they give you are guidelines to carry out the lab.. you must follow each and every one otherwise you will be forgetting to do something in the lab.. or adding additional configs that will make you loose points..
Okay I think ive written enough for now… I hope I didn’t bore anyone.. thank all so much for your support… big thanks goes to my boss at work who has been supportive with training ..
And the biggest thanks goes to my girlfriend for her continuous love, care, and support during all the time I was stressed tired or busy.. its time for me to make up for all the lost weekends now!!
Is the sky still blue during those weekends days btw?
All the Best to Everyone,
CCIE R&S # 25869