Attacking the CCIE in 2013. Need some strategy advice...

jimmyz80jimmyz80 Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
Greetings everyone. :) I just stumbled onto this forum a few weeks ago when I was tossing around the idea of starting on my CCIE, and so far the information has been super helpful. I'm very committed now to completing my CCIE this year, so I'm trying to start figuring out my strategy but need a bit of help making sure I'm headed in the right direction.

As far as my background, I've passed the CCNA twice over the years with no problem, and have worked hands-on with Cisco equipment since 1999. It's always been either lab work or maintaining small business networks with mostly static routing, so I don't have much experience with routing protocols or design. To be perfectly candid, I actually work for Cisco at the moment out here in RTP. So my office is right down the street from the testing center... A few of my friends at work are authors of some of the Cisco Press books -- something to aspire to I guess!

I'm a bit unsure how much prep work is required for the R&S written exam. I've seen some people list of dozens of books they've used, I've seen others mention that "CCIE Routing and Switching Certification Guide" from Cisco Press is adequate, and I've seen yet others mention the INE video bootcamp for R&S written. I'm definitely planning on using INE for my lab prep, so would it make sense to use their written bootcamp video? Will it be enough to help me pass? The Cisco Press book is by far the cheapest option, so that's always attractive too. Any input would be greatly appreciated. :)

For the lab I'm planning on picking up a set of INE workbooks, and building a home lab to use the workbooks with. I may have the option to attend their 10 day bootcamp as well, but that all depends on whether I can get my boss to give me the OK. Would the workbooks be sufficient, or would there be a significant benefit to also attending the bootcamp?

I've accumulated most of the equipment necessary to replicate the INE lab rack, but still need a few items. Currently I have:
6x 1841 (R1-6)
3x 2651XM (BB & FRS)
1x 2511 (Console server)
4x 3550-48

Still need:
2-4x 3560-48

So...the million dollar question is, do my plans seem adequate for preparing? Not enough? Overboard? Thanks!!!


  • reaper81reaper81 Member Posts: 631
    Hi and welcome to the forum!

    I would say you can use two different approaches to pass the written. The method I used was to prepare very well for the written by reading books. I read the following books:

    Interconnections: Bridges, Routers, Switches, and Internetworking Protocols
    TCP/IP Illustrated, Vol. 1: The Protocols
    Internetworking with TCP/IP Vol.1: Principles, Protocols, and Architecture (4th Edition)
    CCIE Routing and Switching Certification Guide (4th Edition)
    Routing TCP/IP, Volume 1 (2nd Edition)
    Routing TCP/IP, Volume II (CCIE Professional Development)
    Developing IP Multicast Networks, Volume I

    The CCIE is a lot about reading, both for the written and lab. I also used Boson to practice for the written. I spent about 6 months to build a strong foundation and then took the written. I have described it on my blog Becoming a CCIE – the path and cost associated to my number « Daniels networking blog

    The second method is to take the written as preparation for the lab. Start studying for the lab immediately and by studying for the lab you will build the skills needed to pass the written as well. The people that use this method usually take the written a couple of months before the lab.

    Something you should be aware of is that there is a rumored version change that might be announced at Cisco Live this summer. This could mean that the IOS version will be bumped to 15 (likely) so if you buy switches now I would make sure they can run IOS 15. These are just rumors but v4 has been around for a while so sooner or later there should be an update. Likely the blueprint won't change that much though.

    Good luck with your studies!
    Daniel Dib
    CCIE #37149
  • nerdydadnerdydad Member Posts: 261
    I noticed you do not have your CCNP, I don't want to slow you in getting your CCIE, but it is a natural transition from NP to IE. When I studied for my CCNP, I attended a Cisco Networking Academy, but supplemented the material from school with many many other books (free Safari Books account :)), so I was essentially studying for my CCIE as I was studying for my CCNP. I bring this up because you said you don't have much experience with routing protocols. The other advantage is the self confidence and motivation you gain as you pass the "smaller" tests along the way. If someone was a solid NP with years experience, then the cert guide may be enough to get them through the written. As for the lab section, I'm going to let those that have passed it give that advice. My plan is to just lab, lab, lab, and supplement that with more reading, with a little more labbing in there for good measure.
  • SteveO86SteveO86 Member Posts: 1,423
    Reaper's advice is pretty solid there. I also did a lot of reading prepping for the Written. My CCIE reading list! « CCIE or Null!

    Supposibly they will announce v5 of the CCIE at Live in Orlando this year. Rumor mill also says v4 will only be available for 2013, 2014 will start v5 only.
    My Networking blog
    Latest blog post: Let's review EIGRP Named Mode
    Currently Studying: CCNP: Wireless - IUWMS
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