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A short little detour

So I decided the other day that I am going to halt my CCIE studies for a few months and push for the CCDA and CCDP. Both these certs were on my list to get so I figured this would probably be the best time to go for them since most of the CCIEv5 material has yet to be released. I really like the blueprint of the CCDP so I am excited about going through it. I am hoping that I can finish up both these certifications in 6-8 months total. Which at that point all the big training companies will have released their CCIEv5 study material.

I will actually be pursuing my CCDP first since the CCDA blueprint looks boring to death!

Log 10: Narbik Volume I Done!

Week: 15-18

Hours: 166.25

Week 15 was filled completely with finishing up all the Advanced Technologies INE videos on BGP. The videos were very well put together but there were definitely many times where I felt overwhelmed. I am sure I will be going through this section of videos again :/

Week 16 I started up on the Narbik BGP labs. These labs once again are amazing. They really reinforce everything I watch in the videos and make it a lot more clearer. It also helps that Narbik also writes out key facts throughout the workbook. BGP was the last section in the first Narbik workbook.

Week 17 was the start of a completely new topic for me…MPLS. Once again going through the INE videos on the subject. MPLS is definitely something I am going to have to put in major lab time in since it is so new to me. It really is an awesome technology though. I feel like I got a very good understanding of how MPLS works during this week.

Week 18, bring on the MPLS labs from Narbik Volume II! The first MPLS lab alone took me nearly 4.5 hours! I was able to finish about 3 of the MPLS labs up this week and hope to finish up the rest during week 19.

Log 9: Back in Action!

Week: 13-14

Hours: 129.75

You thought I had quit didn’t you! Shame on you, shame on you! :)

I had my week break and feel refreshed and good as ever. Week 13 & 14 were filled with finishing up everything OSPF as well as Redistribution. Currently I am in week 15 going through BGP. I actually am really really enjoying it! I think it may be my favorite topic so far.

I really would like to step up my weekly study hours but it has truly become a challenge. I find it very difficult to break more then 13 hours on a weekly basis. My current schedule goes something like this:

Monday through Thursday:
- Work: 9am – 6pm (sometimes later/earlier depending on network changes at work)
- 7pm-8pm: Run, Eat, Shower
- 8pm-11pm: Study (I usually get between 2-3 hours in)

Friday and Saturday:
- I usually hang out with friends/family/gf. Go out to bars and such. My weeks are usually really busy and stressful with work so I feel like I need this time to kick back and relax. I know I should be studying but it’s very difficult :/

- Study for usually 3hours (I try to at least)

All in all I feel I am making decent progress. Yeah I may not be in the “hardcore CCIE mode” but I am definitely becoming a stronger engineer each and everyday.

Log 8: Everyone needs to take a break sometimes

Week: 10-12

Hours: 113.50

Weeks 10 and 11 were fairly productive. I was able to get through all the EIGRP Advanced Technology Videos as well as finished up all the associated Narbik Labs. Week 11 was spent starting on the OSPF videos as well as some labs. I would say I am about halfway through the video series and labs. However here I am in week 12 and I have officially hit a wall. I have decided to force myself not to study for the entire week. It has honestly been almost 3 years of non stop studying for me. Ever since I began my journey to pass the A+ during my senior year in college. Ever since then I have never gone a week without studying. It honestly feels so strange to not go home and immediately pick up the books. I have so much more free time that I never knew existed! I guess that is something to look forward too when I pass my CCIE one day :)

So yeah week 12 is going to be all about relaxing. I feel that it will do me some good both mentally and physically.

Log 7: Finding my motivation

Week: 8-9

Hours: 98.25

Weeks 8 and 9 were tough to get through, I am not gonna lie. The material I was going through was on the boring side so everyday was really a struggle. My motivation is at an all time low as well. I only studied for a total of 4.50 hours in week 9! I have never studied that little in the past 2.5 years! The CCIE is like no other journey I have faced before. Every exam I have ever went for was typically very clear cut and the topics were written out clearly. However with the CCIE, the abundance of topics can be quite overwhelming.  I’m trying my hardest to remain on track, but I am very worried I am starting to feel burned out. Work has been extremely busy, which in my opinion is a great thing since I am doing R&S stuff every day.

In Week 10 I will be going through the INE Adv. Tech EIGRP videos as well as going through the Narbik EIGRP Labs from the Advanced R&S Volume I workbook.

Log 6: Layer 2 Tech. Done

Week: 7

Hours: 84.25

I definitely did not get in as much studying as I would have wanted this week. I blame it on the fact that I took Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off to go up to the mountains. Like I said I am taking this slow and am not in the “hardcore” studying mode. Especially since workbooks/books/videos have yet to be released for the new CCIEv5 exam. This week I finished up the Layer 2 technologies which includes both working through the labs as well as going through the INE Advanced Technology videos. Towards the end of the week I started up PBR related topics which I have yet to begin to lab. Week 8 should be filled with mostly going through these labs and hopefully starting on Layer 3 topics.

Also please check out this post I made which included a bunch of CCIE Study Material which I compiled.

Log 5: Let the labs begin

Week: 6

Hours: 74.50

This week I started on Narbiks Advanced R&S Workbook I as well as the Advanced Technologies Video series from INE. I am trying to line up the two of them so I get the most information I can from each topic. I am currently working through the Layer 2  labs and videos. I am hoping that I am able to finish them up in week 7. I didn’t realize how long some of these labs are! One lab took me close to 3 hours! This is definitely a change from what I am used to from my CCNA/NP studies. Most of the stuff however still seems like a review from the Switch exam.

Keeping this post short and sweet.

Log 4: …..Read, Read, Read

Week: 5

Hours: 61.25

Did I mention I am still reading? Week 5 is still all about going through TCP/IP Volume I. Again the book is a really good read and the Case Studies are really helpful. I wish more books would take that approach to teaching/writing. I am currently on Chapter 10: IS-IS. This is the first time I have ever learned anything about IS-IS so it is definitely a learning curve. I know that IS-IS has been brought back into the CCIEv5 Written exam so I think a general overview on the chapter will help me out. I am not sure yet if I am going to read the whole chapter. The reason I say this is because the IS-IS chapter is just about the longest chapters in the book. And since this topic is only on the written portion of the exam, I feel that I don’t need to be super fluent in it. So we will see what happens with that.

I really want to get back into labbing so I decided once I am done with Volume I I am going to start on Narbik labs that correspond to Volume I. This includes RIP, EIGRP, OSPF, Redistrubution, and some others that I am sure I’m missing. After that I’ll start on Volume II and do the same process. If I get stumped on anything Ill either read up on it or watch the corresponding INE Advanced Technologies video.

On another note, my new job has been going great. Everyday I am working/configuring something new which is great experience. However the hours can be really long and at times stressful. In my opinion though this is good and it is teaching me skills that will take me a long way. My current environment consists of mostly Cisco, Arista, and some Juniper gear. I must say that I am really impressed by the Arista switch line. I really think they are going to be the next big thing in Networking. If you have never heard of Arista Networks, I highly recommend you check it out.


P.S. If you have an Arista device in your network try typing the command “show donkys”. You’re Welcome :)

Log 3: Read, Read, Read

Week: 4

Hours: 45.75

Week 4 was filled with finishing up the rest of the INE Written Bootcamp videos and then starting on Routing TCP/IP Volume I. As I mentioned in my last log I really was not impressed with the INE Written video series. I would not recommend it. However I do recommend Routing TCP/IP! I am not a huge fan of reading, however this book is actually written very well. I’ll be honest I was very intimidated about starting it because I thought it was going to be very dull and boring. So far though it has been the complete opposite. Most of the chapters are written in “Case Studies” which basically is a scenario and then it walks you through how the routers would act in such a scenario. I am really enjoying it so I decided I am going to read both Volumes cover to cover, only skipping topics not covered in CCIEv5.

Some have asked what I have been using to do labs. My main lab resource at this time has been GNS3. I have always sworn by my physical lab, however with CCIEv5 being announced to run in a virtual environment I figured it would not be very smart of me to purchase an entire v4 lab. For some labs I have been using my 3560s since they cannot be simulated in GNS3. Surprisingly though I have not ran into any issues using GNS3 through the  Narbik Foundation Workbooks. Hopefully Cisco VIRL will be released soon and I can get my hands on that.

Log 2: Building a CCIE Foundation

Week: 3

Hours: 36.5

Week 3 was dedicated to finishing Volume 2 of the Narbik Foundation series, which I completed on Wednesday night. All in all the Foundation workbooks from NArbik were a great refresher on all the CCNP topics as well as added topics that are found in the CCIE. The workbooks really held my hand through the labs and gave great detailed explanations on all the commands. I was very impressed by them and you can tell Narbik put a lot of effort into them. I give them two thumbs up! I can’t wait to start on the Narbik Advanced R&S workbooks.

The rest of Week 3 was focused on going through the INE Written Bootcamp. Personally I think the Written Bootcamp is lacking in sooooo many areas. Not only are there a handful of videos but they are also very short. I’m sorry but you can not have only one video on BGP and have it be 50 minutes. I guess that’s why they push the Advanced Technologies video series as well. I have about 5 more videos to go so they will be finished in Week 4.

I still need to read through Routing TCP/IP Vol 1 and 2 so my plan is also to start on that come Week 4. Any free time during work I am also going through Cisco Docs as well as RFCs. One cool feature I found on the Cisco website is the Q and A section of the different technologies. I highly recommend checking it out. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to