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4.15.2015

The CCIE Journey Continues: Strike Two









Failed my second attempt at the CCIE R&S last week in RTP.

I felt good going in and preformed very well in config but I just missed the mark in troubleshooting. Overall, I am proud of the ground I made up between attempts.


So what did I do right after the first attempt?


Speed 


Speed was my biggest weaknesses in my first first lab attempt, both in config and troubleshooting. Once I got home after failure one, I built up several mock config labs based on the test I was presented. I drilled on these labs weekly. This helped me build a strategy and shave time off the config section.

It worked! I actually finished the config section this time with 1.5 hours left.

Weak Areas

When troubleshooting at this level you must know each technology like the back of your hand. If you're not understanding why something is giving a specific result, that means you dont know the technology well enough. 

That was my case with both MPLS and BGP in attempt one. I love those technologies but Im just not exposed to them enough to be second nature and it showed. 

I spent a solid 10 days on MPLS and BGP between attempts. This help tremendously in config as I was able to blow through these sections with ease. I still struggled with these areas in troubleshooting.

So what did I not do right?


Weak Areas

Same as the first attempt, MPLS and BGP were my stumbling blocks in troubleshooting. Several tickets in my first attempt caught me off guard so I labbed them up and focused on where they could break and why. I felt good going in but I still stumbled on them. 

Its one thing to be able to configure a technology but being able to troubleshoot it broken is where you earn this certification!

Strategy

I let my troubleshooting strategy slip this time around. In attempt 1 I set a rule, each ticket gets 8 minutes. If I dont know the solution by then move on. If I do, then another 4 minutes to solve. After that move on no matter what. I did not follow this on my second attempt.

Most tickets I solved pretty quickly but I spent way too much time on the harder tickets. One ticket specifically I should have abandoned 10-15 minutes before I did so I could focus on the two outstanding. But I didnt and it cost me.

Next time this wont happen.

So what now?

Once I saw the results and how close they where, I wanted to schedule my next attempt 30 days out like I did number two. But with the new retake policy I have to wait 90 days. 

Im backing off for a few weeks and getting my work and home life in order. Then I will start back up with my studies and hopefully test around the 90 day mark.

After two attempts, I am focused on what I need to accomplish and I will make damn sure I walk away with my digits. 

As many have said, this is a grueling journey and its not something to be taken lightly. I have pushed myself beyond my limits and endured more than I could have imagined. It has not been easy, and it has hurt, but it has also shown me how far I can push myself. 

Im excited for what I have accomplished but I am even more excited to know I still have more growth to go in this journey. 

Its time to finish this chapter.