We had some requests to blog this success story as well.
Here is his awesome story:
Finally... I passed the CCIE Security exam. 3rd time's a charm ;) What a journey this has been. I have been dreaming about CCIE since 2001, but began serious study in June 2007. A year later, I passed the written and finally yesterday (3/9) on my 3rd try I passed the lab.
My first attempt was v2 and I just barely failed and I wasn't able to schedule another attempt before the v3 change so I put study on hold for a couple months, then began to learn the v3 things, which was really more than I was expecting. I of course at that time wanted to be done and pass, but, deep down I was ok with it because I really enjoy learning these technologies and the v3 change forced me to master them, which is a very good thing for the real world because I use these technologies daily now at work. Almost a year later I attempted again and thought for sure I passed, but ended up failing both OEQ and the lab! I was totally shocked on the lab part because I was able to complete all the tasks, however, functionality is only half the battle, technicalities is the other half and I learned that lesson the hard way. I knew this all along, but, with the stresses of the lab on full force I was more concerned with functionality. "Its working! Next task!" No good.. So, my motto for the 3rd attempt was to stay calm, and read into the task looking for these technicalities. Measure twice cut once attitude. I finished with 2 hours left, ran through the lab 2 more times, rebooting the rack, all was well so I left. Leaving the lab, I was more concerned with OEQ rather than the configuration portion, very similar to my 2nd attempt. I seem to instantly know the answer to 2 of the 4, and am forced to make educated guesses on the other 2. I don't know if this is just me, or if other people are having this experience, but it is quite a feeling to have $1400 on the line and your pass/fail coming down to "did I get at least 3 right???" Boy am I glad this is over hehe, for now.
I have an amazing family and awesome friends, all who supported me as I went through this process. My wife and kids especially felt the pain. As I spent my 20+ hours a week in my office on top of my normal work schedule I missed alot of nights and weekends with them, all worth it, but without their support there is no way I could have done this. I look forward to being a full-time Dad and Husband again!
I will definitely be coming back to INE when I am ready to start preparation for R/S, and eventually CCDE (years off). The INE material is by far the best and I look forward to learning more! Special thanks to Keith Barker who has been my instructor and mentor throughout this journey. You are the best Keith!