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Back Again! What I’ve Been Up To

Hello All! Long time no talk. I’ve been super busy as usual with work and studies that I rarely have a chance to post. So just an update on what I’ve been doing. I decided to go back to my CCIE studies instead of the CCDA/DP route. The reason for this is that the CCDA/DP stuff is very repetitive for me and quite honestly it is all stuff I am familiar with already. I do plan on going back and passing those exams at some point. However there are bigger fish to fry first! The CCIE. For the past 4 months I have been averaging roughly 20 hours a weeks of study time. I have a very strict schedule to adhere to this and most weeks I do go over 20 hours. I try not to rush the material and not push for the infamous “40 hour study week”. My thought on the 40 hours is that there is only so much your brain can retain that at some point you forget what you di an hour ago. For instance it’s Friday and you forget what you did on Monday. I think the 20 hour week is a happy medium of study. I usually try and do 4 hours Monday through Thursday and hit close to 8 hours on the Sunday.

As far as materials go work has provided me with the new INEv5 Advanced Technology Videos. These videos are soooo much better then INE’s v4 videos. Honestly I feel like that was the reason I stopped my CCIE training for a month about ~6 months ago. With the new ATC videos I feel engaged the entire time and Brian does a much better job explaining the topics. I have also been going through  the INEv5 workbook, which is also a great resource.  I should be finishing up with the ATC videos and v5 workbook this week, and then I will be reading the new CCIE v5 Official Cert Guide. I am so pumped to read this book! Written by Narbik you know this is gonna rock! I have already read the chapter on OSPF and thought it was a great overview. However it did not go in as much detail as it could have, but still a good read. I think the OCG is more geared towards the written exam which I hope to take within the next 6 months.

So what’s next for Networking-Link? Well I really want to start posting more! So I decided that I am going to start posting in my notes for each CCIEv5 Topic. I had started this a long time ago with my Multicast Overview. However that post was never completed. I plan to carve out an hour every Sunday, starting in about a week, and post a technical overview about the CCIE topic I covered.

And for those interested I am about ~300 hours into my studies. This does not count the ~200 hours from before I took a break from studying.

Thanks for reading!

Where I currently stand

Been a while…I figured I’d post how everything has been going for me and where I stand in my studies. Last time I posted I said I was pursuing my CCDA/CCDP, which is currently still in the progress. By the way I am not happy that Cisco raised their exam prices to $250 :( . In the grand scheme of thing it will be worth in though. However all my attention is not set on CCDA/DP. I am also going through a bunch of the below topics which relate to my current job.

  • General Networking
  • BGP
  • Multicast
  • Network management and monitoring
  • Redistribution
  • NAT
  • Route Filtering

For these topics I am going through the corresponding Routing TCP/IP chapters, INE ATC Videos, and also some lab work. Luckily a lot of these topics are also in the CCDP so it kinda goes hand in hand.

Work has also been going very well. I have been super busy. Also I will be starting a Nexus implementation project soon which will be tons of fun. Data Center tech really interests me, so much so that I hope to maybe even go for my CCIE DC one day….ohhh wishful thinking :)

Till next time!


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!

In addition to the CCIE…

So in addition to studying for the CCIE I have been working on getting stronger in both Linux and Python. Why you may ask? Well if you are currently in the networking field I am sure you have heard much talk about SDN and automation of network tasks. Hell, even look at current job postings. I would say most of them will say they want someone that has some sort of programming experience as well as being strong in Linux. Personally I have taken Linux courses in college as well as some programming classes. However to be honest, I really dreaded both. It wasn’t until I graduated that I found my passion for learning and bettering myself.

So recently I picked up Python. It seems to be the fastest growing language out there as well as having a huge community around it. It’s also a plus that Python is a high level language so it isn’t to hard to learn. If your asking what I am using to learn Python, I will post a link to another blog post of mine at the end of this post. So far Python has been going well for me. Some problems that I have been working on feel very challenging, even though they really aren’t. So there is definitely a learning curve for me. Hopefully within a couple months my skills in Python will grow substantially.

Along with learning Python I have also built my self a linux server that will allow me to access the command line at any time. So far linux has actually been lots of fun, makes me with I paid more attention in school :/.  For linux I am just going through the Linux Command Line Introduction book. Which so far has been really good.

So how am I managing learning all of this while also managing a full time job and CCIE training?  Well it been really really tough. Both the Python/Linux training comes second to CCIE. I always make sure I get all my CCIE stuff done for the day before moving on to one of them. I have been trying to organize my schedule in such a way where I study for CCIE 2.5 hours a day and then study Python/Linux for 1.5.  So far it has been working well for me and it is definitely nice to get my mind focused on something different then Cisco.


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. 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