Off to Raleigh, for my third (and hopefully final attempt)

No trouble ticket today, just nervous as hell and wanting to vent to the glorious internet. My lab @RTP is scheduled for the 8th, the Monday following this long weekend. I feel pretty good, but there’s always the unknown… which is killing me. The amount of time and stress that comes with pursuing the CCIE is more than I think anyone can prepare you for. When I started prepping almost two years ago, I knew that having my IE was part the dream I had for myself. I wanted to be among the top tier Engineers in the world, and I knew that going after my number was the best way to get there.

Not because having your CCIE makes you the best, but because the work you have to put into preparing, the road you travel does. Over the past two years I’ve taken my skill set to a level I thought wasn’t possible, hell the difference between my last attempt in February and now is noticeable to me. I know this is what I want to do, and I know that no matter how many times I fail… I’ll come back for more. That’s what really makes an IE an IE, being able to not only dedicate yourself to being the Engineer you can be but also being able to recover after defeat. To press on.

When you’re preparing for the lab there’s a lot of “opponents”. You face off against your won ignorance in the beginning, once your knowledge starts catching up to where you need it you start facing more personal demons. I know I sound over dramatic, but for me I found that I had (hopefully that remains past tense) terrible time management and accuracy.  The combination of the two lead to endless embarrassing mistakes, because there’s no such thing as partial credit on the IE. I spent these past few months leading up to my third attempt trying to isolate and exterminate these problems. Working on not only being fast, but working smart validation methods that help me check each section before moving on. That’s something else that comes with a lot of prep time. GRADE YOUR OWN LABS! At least a few of them, because when you’re running validation commands from your work book, you’re not just seeing how well you did on that given lab… you’re also gaining insight on how these beasts are graded. This is to your advantage, because you too should run the same validations.

So finally, I’m not an author lol. This post is terribly structured and likely full of grammatical errors. All I want to impart on my fellow geeks is that this path isn’t for everyone, but if it’s for you embrace it. You can spend a lot of time kicking yourself and feeling down when mock labs return poor scores, or when you fail the real lab. However I’d recommend that you don’t. Advice I hope I don’t have to follow July 8th, but true none the less. This lab is tough, likely one of the most difficult things you’ll have to overcome in your career. Failure is part of it, but failing a lab attempt is failing at getting your number. It’s nothing more than a mile stone in the long road to the top of the hill, and getting your digits. To all those after their number, best of luck, and with a bit of luck I’ll have happy news the evening of the 8th!

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