Best type of Network Engineer job to be able to study for the CCIE on the clock

vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
The title says it all. I'm curious what type of positions are better suited to be able to put in serious hours on company time? Which ones aren't? I would think picking up a job working for Cisco would be a fast track to CCIE - maybe a year or less if you bring solid routing and switching skills with you?

What say you?
Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
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  • vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
    ColbyG wrote: »
    Sounds like a unicorn.

    I take it you don't get study time at work icon_smile.gif I think it's a legit and fair question. There are going to be certain jobs that don't lend themselves well to studying at work whereas others might. I am in a Service Provider shop and work roughly 50 hours a week not including on-call work so I woudn't classify that environment as the most ideal. I've also seen it mentioned that working for a VAR is a tough sell as they want you out billing hours and not sitting at your desk. On the flip side, every Tom, Dick and Harry at Cisco TAC seems to have a CCIE plastered to their signature, so I've got to assume that's a more ideal enviroment.
    Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
  • ptilsenptilsen Posts: 2,835Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    vinbuck wrote: »
    I take it you don't get study time at work icon_smile.gif I think it's a legit and fair question. There are going to be certain jobs that don't lend themselves well to studying at work whereas others might. I am in a Service Provider shop and work roughly 50 hours a week not including on-call work so I woudn't classify that environment as the most ideal. I've also seen it mentioned that working for a VAR is a tough sell as they want you out billing hours and not sitting at your desk. On the flip side, every Tom, Dick and Harry at Cisco TAC seems to have a CCIE plastered to their signature, so I've got to assume that's a more ideal enviroment.
    I worked as a sysadmin for a small-ish business. I mean, it was twelve sites spread across three states, but it was only ~150 nodes and ~80 computer-using employees. When things broke, I was busy. The rest of the time I could do whatever. In hindsight, I was foolish not to knock out my entire MCSE or MCITP:EA while I was there.

    Now, I work for an MSP and yeah... it's 50+ hours a week and hard to find time and motivation to study at all (I always seem to have one, but not the other), much less on the job. On the other hand, at least my work is somewhat relevant to my certifications.

    Having typed all that, I realize now that this really of little help. You are unlikely to find a position with that much downtime that actually involves working with R&S to the extent you'll need for the rest of CCNP, much less CCIE. I mean, downtime can be study time, but IMO you really want a job that gives you practical, hands-on with the tech for which you're studying in addition to downtime or reasonable hours and stress levels that permit studying.
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  • TesseracTTesseracT Posts: 167Member
    From my perspective you have 3 options:
    • Work for Cisco and hit the stupidly expensive 360 program
    • Work for a NOC during unusual (read night) hours so it's quiet
    • Work for a sole company that pay for your crap and you have time to study (me fortunately icon_lol.gif)
    Only thing else I can add is to stay away from a MSP - As said earlier, if you're not billing hours then you're costing them
  • vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
    TesseracT wrote: »
    From my perspective you have 3 options:
    • Work for Cisco and hit the stupidly expensive 360 program
    • Work for a NOC during unusual (read night) hours so it's quiet
    • Work for a sole company that pay for your crap and you have time to study (me fortunately icon_lol.gif)

    Only thing else I can add is to stay away from a MSP - As said earlier, if you're not billing hours then you're costing them

    Are you saying that if you go work for Cisco that you have to pay to use the 360 content?
    Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg Posts: 2,472Member
    MSP? NOC?

    I work for a company, but they won't pay for educational advancement - or lend me spares (at work) to use

    :P
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  • TurgonTurgon Posts: 6,313Banned
    vinbuck wrote: »
    The title says it all. I'm curious what type of positions are better suited to be able to put in serious hours on company time? Which ones aren't? I would think picking up a job working for Cisco would be a fast track to CCIE - maybe a year or less if you bring solid routing and switching skills with you?

    What say you?

    If you work for Cisco there is plenty of support to get the CCIE and internal resources the rest of us dont have. Advanced Services is the place to be. But if you dont make it inside 2 years it will seriously hurt your career prospects there..I mean you really should be passing it with everything working for Cisco means you have going for you..

    If you work for a partner that wants Gold, they may give you the time on the works dollar to prepare for it. But in the West this is less so today than 10 years ago. It's just so much easier to hire a number from someone in India or China to get the status to Gold.

    Work for NOC on graveyard shift and you will have time.

    Work in a busy operations environment and you will not have time. I know I dont.
  • jamesp1983jamesp1983 Posts: 2,475Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    TesseracT wrote: »
    From my perspective you have 3 options:
    • Work for Cisco and hit the stupidly expensive 360 program
    • Work for a NOC during unusual (read night) hours so it's quiet
    • Work for a sole company that pay for your crap and you have time to study (me fortunately icon_lol.gif)
    Only thing else I can add is to stay away from a MSP - As said earlier, if you're not billing hours then you're costing them

    I am in the same boat for the most part, but we have so many projects going on right now that there isn't a ton of study time available. I know my nights and weekends are going to be dedicated to studying now.
    "Check both the destination and return path when a route fails." "Switches create a network. Routers connect networks."
  • TurgonTurgon Posts: 6,313Banned
    jamesp1983 wrote: »
    I am in the same boat for the most part, but we have so many projects going on right now that there isn't a ton of study time available. I know my nights and weekends are going to be dedicated to studying now.

    So long as you dont get pulled into problems at work!

    The CCIE was never designed to be an obtainable certification for people suffering demands on their time in the field. It was designed for Cisco employees and resellers.
  • jamesp1983jamesp1983 Posts: 2,475Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Turgon wrote: »
    So long as you dont get pulled into problems at work!

    The CCIE was never designed to be an obtainable certification for people suffering demands on their time in the field. It was designed for Cisco employees and resellers.

    you speak the truth. I was working until around midnight last night for some ISP troubleshooting/circuit activations.
    "Check both the destination and return path when a route fails." "Switches create a network. Routers connect networks."
  • TurgonTurgon Posts: 6,313Banned
    jamesp1983 wrote: »
    you speak the truth. I was working until around midnight last night for some ISP troubleshooting/circuit activations.

    You will be. Some people working at Cisco have a lot of time on their hands. For those of us working in the field, technology is something to be endured. It takes up a lot of our time and nobody at Cisco or at a partner at the end of a phone to bail us out. They would run away anyway ;)
  • thadizzythadizzy Posts: 72Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I just worked along with one AS consultant and asked regarding this since he had a vision of becomming CCIE Wireless like me..
    He said they do have access to lab equipment for all tracks but they only get 5h/month official studytime.
    I don't know if that is the same all over Cisco Advanced Services though but it was the case for him (located in Dubai).

    So it seems like you still need to put a massive effort of your sparetime to get it done with despite working there.
    Turgon wrote: »
    If you work for Cisco there is plenty of support to get the CCIE and internal resources the rest of us dont have. Advanced Services is the place to be. But if you dont make it inside 2 years it will seriously hurt your career prospects there..I mean you really should be passing it with everything working for Cisco means you have going for you..

    If you work for a partner that wants Gold, they may give you the time on the works dollar to prepare for it. But in the West this is less so today than 10 years ago. It's just so much easier to hire a number from someone in India or China to get the status to Gold.

    Work for NOC on graveyard shift and you will have time.

    Work in a busy operations environment and you will not have time. I know I dont.
  • chmodchmod Posts: 360Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    If you work for CISCO tac in a core department, you will be taking care of cases all the time and you will have a lot of cases on queue plus follow ups, backlog, research, escalation if you are a seconf level engineer you will be working on escalation and you will be busy all the time.

    The advantage is the study material you will ahve access to and the access to the labs but that will be in your spare time
  • nicklauscombsnicklauscombs Posts: 885Member
    Turgon wrote: »
    Work for NOC on graveyard shift and you will have time.

    this right here.
    WIP: IPS exam
  • shodownshodown Posts: 2,271Member
    Turgon wrote: »
    You will be. Some people working at Cisco have a lot of time on their hands. For those of us working in the field, technology is something to be endured. It takes up a lot of our time and nobody at Cisco or at a partner at the end of a phone to bail us out. They would run away anyway ;)


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  • Mrock4Mrock4 Posts: 2,360Banned
    What job allows for CCIE study on the clock? Definitely not mine..
  • jamesp1983jamesp1983 Posts: 2,475Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Mrock4 wrote: »
    What job allows for CCIE study on the clock? Definitely not mine..

    My boss actually encourages it and carves out time for me at the end of the day. I'm a lead engineer so he makes the other engineers take on a lot of the other work.
    "Check both the destination and return path when a route fails." "Switches create a network. Routers connect networks."
  • Mrock4Mrock4 Posts: 2,360Banned
    jamesp1983 wrote: »
    My boss actually encourages it and carves out time for me at the end of the day. I'm a lead engineer so he makes the other engineers take on a lot of the other work.

    I'm a lead too- but I generally work through lunch to be able to get enough work done so I can go home on time. Got several migrations going on at once, not enough people, and the usual fires to put out. Plus, my boss doesn't really have input as to what my people do- that's up to me, and I couldn't tell them to take my work so I can better myself ya know. IF I have any free time- which is rare- I'm usually training the junior guys up.

    It's all good though. I've got a solid study plan, so as long as I stick to it I'll get there.
  • TesseracTTesseracT Posts: 167Member
    vinbuck wrote: »
    Are you saying that if you go work for Cisco that you have to pay to use the 360 content?

    nope, as far as I know you get it free. It costs us the big bucks
  • SteveO86SteveO86 Posts: 1,423Member
    I'm working for an MSP now, boy are you guys telling the truth.. I'm getting in at least 60 hours a week. Although I'm thinking my day to day experiences should be particularly useful.
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  • vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
    SteveO86 wrote: »
    I'm working for an MSP now, boy are you guys telling the truth.. I'm getting in at least 60 hours a week. Although I'm thinking my day to day experiences should be particularly useful.

    That's kinda how I feel, luckily I get constant exposure to a good portion of the CCIE blueprint in one way or another working for a Service Provider. We get to work on just about every Layer 1/2 technology in the book. Couple that with supporting IP Voice, IP Multicast video, huge volumes of data and a massive BGP/MPLS core that runs on OSPF and you've got an awesome training ground to prep. I am a huge fan of working in an SP environment - it really forces you to bring your A game.

    The part that sucks is running operations 24/7 365 days a year. Even with an on call rotation, I'm constantly dragging my butt out of bed at oh-dark-thirty for something or another. That plus maintenance windows and normal day to day ops takes its toll on your studying.

    It's taken me quite a while to work through the CCNP because I have had to put in almost all the hours off the clock...not sure if I want to do that when I make a run at the CCIE.
    Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    I generally get in about 3 to 4 hours of study time a night at work. My maintenance windows are from 3 to 4 hours long. I spend one hour prepping for it. Assuming nothing else breaks in the meantime (break/fix is one of our responsibilities), I can do pretty much whatever I want. If I finish my maints early, then I have that much more study time.
  • jamesp1983jamesp1983 Posts: 2,475Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Mrock4 wrote: »
    I'm a lead too- but I generally work through lunch to be able to get enough work done so I can go home on time. Got several migrations going on at once, not enough people, and the usual fires to put out. Plus, my boss doesn't really have input as to what my people do- that's up to me, and I couldn't tell them to take my work so I can better myself ya know. IF I have any free time- which is rare- I'm usually training the junior guys up.

    It's all good though. I've got a solid study plan, so as long as I stick to it I'll get there.

    You're doing well. You've helped me out a lot. I've read a lot of your posts multiple times. I don't always get the study time at work, but I usually get a little bit of time here or there. I only have one guy under me and I give him all of my notes as well as try to teach him about a subject as various topics present themselves. He's at about a CCNA level and has his own business (non-IT) so he doesn't really spend that much time studying.
    "Check both the destination and return path when a route fails." "Switches create a network. Routers connect networks."
  • mikearamamikearama Posts: 749Member
    My last couple gigs have been in relatively small shops... both at Toyota Canada and Honda Canada. When stuff breaks, it's hectic. Otherwise, we do what we can to look busy. For me, that's been landing both my NP and SP, on the clock.

    I'm now at ScotiaBank, and though it's busier, there's still time to study.

    Best advice I can give... have a private and candid conversation with your manager. Acknowledge that you don't get a lot of spare time (make sure you say that, even if you do! Otherwise they may think you're dispensable), but that when you have some time on your hands, you know he/she would prefer that you study your cisco stuff, rather than surf the web. Whenever I put it like this to a manager, I have always gotten the nod to crack a book, or, now, watch an INE video.

    Getting 5 hours to rent a rack is a different story... I'd love to have that kind of freedom. Fortunately, there's always been gear floating around to practice command entry on... even if not to the extent that an INE scenerio makes possible.
    There are only 10 kinds of people... those who understand binary, and those that don't.

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  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    mikearama wrote: »
    Best advice I can give... have a private and candid conversation with your manager. Acknowledge that you don't get a lot of spare time (make sure you say that, even if you do! Otherwise they may think you're dispensable), but that when you have some time on your hands, you know he/she would prefer that you study your cisco stuff, rather than surf the web. Whenever I put it like this to a manager, I have always gotten the nod to crack a book, or, now, watch an INE video.

    I'm lucky in that I haven't had to have this conversation with my manager. He's delighted that my freetime is spent reading, watching INE videos, or practicing hands on, instead of wandering around the building chatting with others, watching random crap on youtube, or taking a nap.
  • shodownshodown Posts: 2,271Member
    I'm lucky in that I haven't had to have this conversation with my manager. He's delighted that my freetime is spent reading, watching INE videos, or practicing hands on, instead of wandering around the building chatting with others, watching random crap on youtube, or taking a nap.


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  • Mrock4Mrock4 Posts: 2,360Banned
    jamesp1983 wrote: »
    You're doing well. You've helped me out a lot. I've read a lot of your posts multiple times. I don't always get the study time at work, but I usually get a little bit of time here or there. I only have one guy under me and I give him all of my notes as well as try to teach him about a subject as various topics present themselves. He's at about a CCNA level and has his own business (non-IT) so he doesn't really spend that much time studying.

    Thanks man. I'm a huge proponent of using other peoples' experience to benefit yourself, so I enjoy showing junior guys what I know. Plus it keeps you sharp (as you probably know) having to teach someone else something. You don't want to give them bad info.

    Someday I may have time to study at work, and I will definitely take advantage of it.
  • sieffsieff Posts: 276Member
    Either working at Cisco or Cisco VAR.
    "The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept were toiling upward in the night." from the poem: The Ladder of St. Augustine, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • SteveO86SteveO86 Posts: 1,423Member
    vinbuck wrote: »
    That's kinda how I feel, luckily I get constant exposure to a good portion of the CCIE blueprint in one way or another working for a Service Provider. We get to work on just about every Layer 1/2 technology in the book. Couple that with supporting IP Voice, IP Multicast video, huge volumes of data and a massive BGP/MPLS core that runs on OSPF and you've got an awesome training ground to prep. I am a huge fan of working in an SP environment - it really forces you to bring your A game.

    The part that sucks is running operations 24/7 365 days a year. Even with an on call rotation, I'm constantly dragging my butt out of bed at oh-dark-thirty for something or another. That plus maintenance windows and normal day to day ops takes its toll on your studying.

    It's taken me quite a while to work through the CCNP because I have had to put in almost all the hours off the clock...not sure if I want to do that when I make a run at the CCIE.

    The cool thing about an MSP is I usually find myself 5-10 networks a day, all completely different, and then the design calls on how to integrate a new service with a customer's network... Granted I haven't actually had a weekend off in over a month

    Yea, studying is a bit tough I only get an hour maybe 2 of studying each night as it is right for my CCDP, compared to the 3-4 hours a day I use to get.
    My Networking blog
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  • aldousaldous Posts: 105Member
    Turgon wrote: »
    If you work for Cisco there is plenty of support to get the CCIE and internal resources the rest of us dont have. Advanced Services is the place to be. But if you dont make it inside 2 years it will seriously hurt your career prospects there..I mean you really should be passing it with everything working for Cisco means you have going for you..

    If you work for a partner that wants Gold, they may give you the time on the works dollar to prepare for it. But in the West this is less so today than 10 years ago. It's just so much easier to hire a number from someone in India or China to get the status to Gold.

    Work for NOC on graveyard shift and you will have time.

    Work in a busy operations environment and you will not have time. I know I dont.

    i work in Cisco AS and although i personally get quite a bit (full 360 course online course) that is because i came in through a grad program. if your a normal hire you don't get 360 handed to you. i also had to buy my rack from ebay etc. The main thing within Cisco is there are a lot of people who have been there and done it so understand what your going through for example my manager who is not in a technical role is a CCIE from when he was technical. i'd imagine its quite rare to get this outside of Cisco and it means they will cut you some slack to do some study (but not all of it, i get up 5-6am to get in study hours before work and am usually in bed by 10 pm )
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