CCIE + Family + Kids

aragoen_celtdraaragoen_celtdra Posts: 246Member
So someone had made a comment about several current CCIE aspirants that are juggling family, kids and the pursuit (if I'm not mistaken I think it might have been Vinbuck). So by show of hands (reply) :) how many of you, with kids, are currently/actively studying for CCIE? And if you don't mind share with us your family situation and how are you dealing with juggling everything. Or you don't even have to have kids. Share anyway. ;)

As for me, I have a wife with 3 young boys (ages 1, 4, 7). And they are very active boys. So as much as my wife understands how much this quest is important for me and our family, we agree that family is most important. However, at times it is frustrating when you're just getting in a zone while studying and you have to step back out the zone to break up a fight, or clean some spillage, or bath time.

I do find that it has made me better at scheduling my time. So I made an agreement with my wife that the following would be strictly reserved as my time for study

M-F
5:00A -7:00A (while everyone is still asleep)
6:00P - 7:00P (while at work)
8:00p - 11:00P (after the kids sleep)

Saturday
4:00AM - 8:00AM
and whatever free time opens (e.g. when they're taking a nap)

Sunday
Family time but negotiable if time opens up ;)

So all you CCIEs-to-be and CCIEs-be out there, we welcome your thoughts.
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Comments

  • doverdover Posts: 184Member
    Aragoen_Celtrdra,

    I've been kicking around the same thoughts about pursuing the CCIE:Security for the last 6 months. If you haven't read it already see if you can pickup a copy of this book:
    Your CCIE Lab Success Strategy: The Non-Technical Guidebook

    It is written by two, 2x CCIE's and it puts things in pretty good perspective. I wouldn't let the book, or their thoughts/opinions discourage you; if you REALLY want to make it happen...you WILL find a way.

    If your family understands what it will take - in terms of time and attention - and they support it, do it!
  • silver145silver145 Posts: 265Member
    Typical they dont sell a digital version -_- hate waiting for delivery!
  • vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
    I think I did mention something about several of us with families working towards the CCIE...

    As for me, I am married with two small boys (3 years old and 7 months). I haven't outlined a rigid study schedule yet - I'm working on getting my INE all-access pass this week (have to wait for the training $$$) or next and i'm going to set out a schedule. Until I start down the INE path, I am following a similar schedule that I used during my CCNP studies (which I put well over 500 hours of lab/study time into).

    M-F

    - Arrive at work between 6 and 6:30 AM (at least three days a week) to get some lab time in the mornings
    - Lab/Read for an hour at least 4 nights a week

    Sat/Sun

    - Get up early and lab for 2-4 hours depending on the rugrat situation icon_smile.gif
    - Get at least 2 hours of reading in to supplement the Labs

    This worked fairly well for me during my NP studies and I got used to labbing and concentrating amidst the chaos of little boys. Once I look at INEs workbooks and training materials, I will work up a long term study plan (I think INE even has some pre-planned you can utilize) and start tracking my time against it.
    Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Well I feel like I have less of an excuse now. I work shifts of 12 hours. 2 days, 2 nights, 4 days off. On my days off, my wife is happy to let me study 8 hours a day as long as I do stuff with her on those evenings - deal. Most nights are quiet so that's >24 hours. The two 12 hour day shifts - I don't do much after those.....
  • aragoen_celtdraaragoen_celtdra Posts: 246Member
    dover wrote: »
    Aragoen_Celtrdra,
    If you haven't read it already see if you can pickup a copy of this book:
    Your CCIE Lab Success Strategy: The Non-Technical Guidebook

    I bought the book last year when one of the authors, Dean Bahizad came to our company to give us a week-long training on IOS-XR. I pick it up from time to time for encouragement. Very easy read too.

    And best of luck with CCIE Sec. I think you should go for it.
    CCIE Wr: In Progress...
    Hours CCIE Wr Prep: 309:03:52
    Follow my study progress at Route My World!
    My CCIE Thread
  • aragoen_celtdraaragoen_celtdra Posts: 246Member
    vinbuck wrote: »
    I think I did mention something about several of us with families working towards the CCIE...

    As for me, I am married with two small boys (3 years old and 7 months). I haven't outlined a rigid study schedule yet - I'm working on getting my INE all-access pass this week (have to wait for the training $$$) or next and i'm going to set out a schedule. Until I start down the INE path, I am following a similar schedule that I used during my CCNP studies (which I put well over 500 hours of lab/study time into).

    This worked fairly well for me during my NP studies and I got used to labbing and concentrating amidst the chaos of little boys. Once I look at INEs workbooks and training materials, I will work up a long term study plan (I think INE even has some pre-planned you can utilize) and start tracking my time against it.
    Yup, a good study schedule is a must. I too had a pretty structured schedule when I did CCNP. The difference then is, I only had one child at the time. Hopefully my new study schedule works out well, and I hope it sets the tone for when I start hitting the labs. I'm pretty sure I will have to re-structure my schedule so I can shift more hours into one or two single and longer session as opposed to shorter sessions spread out throughout the day.
    CCIE Wr: In Progress...
    Hours CCIE Wr Prep: 309:03:52
    Follow my study progress at Route My World!
    My CCIE Thread
  • aragoen_celtdraaragoen_celtdra Posts: 246Member
    gorebrush wrote: »
    Well I feel like I have less of an excuse now. I work shifts of 12 hours. 2 days, 2 nights, 4 days off. On my days off, my wife is happy to let me study 8 hours a day as long as I do stuff with her on those evenings - deal. Most nights are quiet so that's >24 hours. The two 12 hour day shifts - I don't do much after those.....

    HAha.. I used to work graveyard at a NOC and had all the time in the world. And yet I wasted so much opportunity not making good use of my time. Do you have a set schedule for when and what you study on specific days. I'm currently working on a schedule to pre-assign when and how much time I will devote on specific topics on the blueprint.
    CCIE Wr: In Progress...
    Hours CCIE Wr Prep: 309:03:52
    Follow my study progress at Route My World!
    My CCIE Thread
  • 64:61:6e64:61:6e Posts: 63Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    ...and had all the time in the world. And yet I wasted so much opportunity not making good use of my time...

    That was me at a previous employer; only difference was that I worked 7am-4pm. I would go into work and get what needed to be done and would then surf the Internet. At one point I got into studying for the CCNP and was able to pass the SWITCH exam. Then I got lazy and took a year to get back on track and finish up the ROUTE and TSHOOT. If I used my time I would have been a lot closer to my goal.

    For my home life, I have 3 kids. My daughter is 2 then I have 2 boys ages 7 and 8 (almost 9). It's tough to find the time but I do my best. I get up at 5am and have until about 7 before they get up and come downstairs. I also have 3 dogs and they actually take quite a bit of time away as well. Well, the older one does anyways (12 year old)...the other two just suck up my concentration when they start barking for no reason [/end of rant].
    I'm able to work from home so avoid the travel time now. I used to be behind the wheel 3 hours a day just to get to/from work. That got old real fast. I also work for an integrator and they let me study while on the clock as long as projects don't slip and customers remain happy.

    I also purchased the book "Your CCIE Lab Success Strategy - The Non-Technical Guide Book" as well. It's a quick read and has some good tips in there. Some of it is common sense but some is worth picking up the book for.

    So basically, my schedule looks something like this:
    M-F:
    5am-7am - study
    8am-4pm - work (study what I can squeeze in)
    4pm-9pm- family time
    9pm - 11pm - study - I stop when I feel like I'm not absorbing any additional information.

    Sat-Sun:
    5am-7am - study
    7am - 9pm - family time / whatever time I can squeeze in during the day
    9pm - 11pm - study - I stop when I feel like I'm not absorbing any additional information.

    I will also take a break one or two days per week based on my work schedule. I think today will be considered a break day since I didn't actually get to get any study time in.
    CCIE-DC Written - Q1 2015
    CCIE-DC Lab - Q3/Q4 2015

  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    No set schedule as such - just use my night shifts to study as much as possible (as long as it is quiet) and 8 hours a pop on my days off. As for scheduling set hours for each topic - Not sure if that would work for me. I'm just going through the topic and taking notes at the moment and that takes as long as it takes...
  • reaper81reaper81 Posts: 631Member
    Hey buddy!

    I started my journey in the summer of 2010. My son was 2 years old then. Studying for the written wasn't that difficult. I have a 40 minute commute one way so every day I would spend 80 minutes reading. It adds up pretty quick. So commutes aren't all bad if you travel by train of course.

    When I started studying for the lab we made an agreement on which days I would study. It was something like sunday, monday, tuesday and thursday. I would start studying after my son fell asleep which would be around 20 PM. From there I would usually study 3 or 4 hours. Like you have learned sometimes you need to sacrifice a bit of sleep.

    I didn't study in the weekends except for sunday evening so it can still be done if you are efficient during the weekdays.

    I wanted to pass the lab before my baby daughter was born. But I couldn't make it. I finally passed the lab in October when she was almost 6 months old.

    When I started out I wanted to do entire Vol2 lab in one go. But in the beginning you are very slow and I learned later that it's not really necessary. You can do the Vol2 labs in Vol1 style by doing tasks as you go. You don't have to complete it all in one go.

    The most important thing for CCIE is to know the blueprint inside out. You don't have to do lots of Vol2 labs although I would recommend doing some mock labs to getting used to time management and how the grading works.

    It can definitely be done with kids, it just takes a bit longer and some more planning.

    Good luck!
    Daniel Dib
    CCIE #37149
  • Mrock4Mrock4 Posts: 2,360Banned
    I have been on the CCIE train on and off for about 4 years. When I started I had one daughter (4 at the time). Now that same daughter is 8, and I have twin 3 year olds.

    Just my $.02, it's VERY hard and can cause issues setting "hard" study times. I have done it, and still try do to it- but sometimes you have to add some flex time in there. For example, if it sounds like WW3 out in the living room while I'm studying, I'll go out and keep the peace- and help the wife out. Sure, I don't have to, and she didn't ask for it, but it can create resentment when you are 'hiding' away studying while your significant other is weathering the storm.

    My wife has been fantastic, but I guess my point is, remember during the process to step away now and then. Sure it means you're letting your schedule slide..but in the end family IS more important. Plus, what is a 20 minute break from studying once a day? If you study 5x a week, you're losing 100 minutes/week. 400 minutes/month (or 6 hours). 72 hours in a year. I'm all about getting the maximum study time in possible, but let's face it, to make up 72 hours when in full study mode we're talking maybe an extra month of studying.

    Rant over- I think you have a good plan in place, so my comments are not directed at you OP, just the general CCIE candidate crowd (those reading this, as those who have posted seem to also have a plan that works for them).

    As a side note, I am notorious for opening up my laptop during the evening when my wife and I are watching TV together. She'll be playing a game on her iPad, and I fire up GNS3 and lab some mini-scenarios :) - just a thought!
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Mrock4 wrote: »
    As a side note, I am notorious for opening up my laptop during the evening when my wife and I are watching TV together. She'll be playing a game on her iPad, and I fire up GNS3 and lab some mini-scenarios :) - just a thought!


    This... is genius.
  • aragoen_celtdraaragoen_celtdra Posts: 246Member
    reaper81 wrote: »

    I didn't study in the weekends except for sunday evening so it can still be done if you are efficient during the weekdays.

    I wanted to pass the lab before my baby daughter was born. But I couldn't make it. I finally passed the lab in October when she was almost 6 months old.
    Good luck!

    I've forgotten what your schedule was like. I didn't realize that you had 3 days of study break a week, and yet still successfully passed. I see others study 6-8 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. I would like to be able to do that but difficult with my current family dynamics. It's good to know that a carefully planned schedule and commitment to that schedule is proven (by you) to yield successful result.
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  • aragoen_celtdraaragoen_celtdra Posts: 246Member
    Mrock4 wrote: »
    As a side note, I am notorious for opening up my laptop during the evening when my wife and I are watching TV together. She'll be playing a game on her iPad, and I fire up GNS3 and lab some mini-scenarios - just a thought!
    gorebrush wrote: »
    This... is genius.

    You mean to tell me you haven't given up TV at this point in your studies?!? :p
    CCIE Wr: In Progress...
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    Follow my study progress at Route My World!
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  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    That would imply that I watched TV in the first place ;)

    I don't watch it when I'm alone, I only do so with my wife.
  • aragoen_celtdraaragoen_celtdra Posts: 246Member
    gorebrush wrote: »
    That would imply that I watched TV in the first place ;)

    I don't watch it when I'm alone, I only do so with my wife.
    LOL! Does she make you watch with her too? My wife doesn't even care if I'm watching whatever is on as long as I'm sitting there next to her, "watching together". :D
    CCIE Wr: In Progress...
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  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    LOL! Does she make you watch with her too? My wife doesn't even care if I'm watching whatever is on as long as I'm sitting there next to her, "watching together". :D

    No, I can sit there and play with my phone or 3DS or something instead. I don't have to watch intently (luckily). Though I get plenty of time to study, some time watching mindless TV is always useful to switch off too.
  • Mrock4Mrock4 Posts: 2,360Banned
    At this point in my studies I have been lucky to be able to study during the day (as long as nothing is going on with work). I do 99% of my work on the road, so when I'm home I have ample time to study during the day..leaving me 7 evenings a week available for family time, so when you hear me say I studied 8 hours, that means I finished at 5pm and got the evening free to do whatever I want, which is really not a bad deal!

    My plan from the start was 4 nights a week of study for 8-12 months, then ramp it up to 6-7 days a week for the last 60 days.
  • blueberriesblueberries Posts: 138Banned
    I'm not suggesting anything, but babies sleep mighty good with a bit of scotch in their formula. Just kidding. I have a little one and when she is off to bed, daddy is labbing.
    “There is no greater fame for a man than that which he wins with his footwork or the skill of his hands.”
    The Odyssey
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