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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.

Trouble Finding Good Network Engineers

This is going to be a rant so I just want to apologize beforehand. I want to express my concern with the current state of network engineering applicants. I have had the displeasure in trying to find a few more guys to fill our team of network engineers. At first I thought, “Oh this will be fun!” But wow I was wrong. The applicants we have had so far has really made me realize that there is a serious problem in our industry. That problem being PAPER NETWORK ENGINEERS! If you have read my blog at all your know that I am a huge supporter in getting certified. But c’mon some of these guys we interviewed are CCNPs and can’t even answer simple subnetting questions! WTF! Oh its gets even better when we have someone that claims to be a CCIE candidate. Jesus Christ I just facepalm every time. The questions we ask are not even difficult. Were not looking for a superstar, just someone that loves networking and also can back up what they write on their resume. Simple VTP questions stump some of these guys. VTP the protocol we all learn about in CCNA stumps CCNPs….somethings gotta give.

Either we have been very unlucky or we are just getting braindump’d network engineers.  This is why most companies only take referral candidates. All these people that can’t back up their certs ruin the job market for the rest of us when we apply without a referral. My company goes through a lot of network engineer applicants since we are always looking for talent. We get FLOODED with resumes daily. It’s not wonder that most of the people we actually hire are people that were referred to us. One word of advice to the people applying for network engineering positions. BE HONEST. Really that’s it, be honest on your resume and don’t claim to know something that you’ve worked with once. Don’t be the CCIE candidate that we interviewed who claimed to know Nexus yet couldn’t explain VPCs or VDCs. Literally these applicants give me a headache, it’s so hard to keep my cool and not burst out at them and say “STOP BRAINDUMPING AND LEARN YOUR SHIT!!!” lol

/end rant

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.

Log 1: The CCIE Journey Begins

Week: 1-2

Hours: 0-23.5

So some of you may be thinking “How could you already have two weeks of studying for the CCIE under your belt if you only just finished CCNP yesterday?”. Good question. My Tshoot studies encompassed starting my CCIE studies. For the past two weeks I have gone through Narbik’s CCIE Foundation Volume 1 and am currently about halfway done Volume 2. 

So far the workbooks have been mostly a review but it is nice to finally start labbing routing topics again. Currently I am working on the BGP labs which is already teaching me a ton that wasn’t covered in the Route exam. The current breakdown of the Narbik Foundation Volumes goes like this.

Volume 1:

  • 3560 Switching
  • Frame-Relay (I skipped this since it won’t be in CCIEv5)
  • RIPv2

Volume 2:

  • OSPF
  • BGP
  • Redistribution
  • IPv6
  • QoS

My plan from the start was to skip over topics completely that will not be in the CCIE v5. This includes:

  • Flexlinks
  • ISL
  • Layer 2 Protocol Tunneling
  • Frame-Relay
  • WCCP
  • IOS Firewall
  • RITE
  • RMON
  • RGMP
  • RSVP QoS

After completing Volume 2 this week my plan is to go through the INE Written Bootcamp videos and start reading TCP/IP Vol 1 & 2

I am now CCNP!

Oh man does it feel good! My 1-year CCNP journey finally comes to an end! All in all Tshoot was a breeze and the only reason I held off on taking it for so long was because of my new job.

Next up for me is to start studying CCIE topics. With v5 right around the corner I figured this is the best time to start studying. I am not giving myself a time frame to pass but I do hope to at least make an attempt in the next two years. This journey is sure to be long and very stressful but I feel that pass or fail it will make me a better network engineer. So join me in my journey to CCIE! I’m sure it will be a bumpy ride.

And for those that are curious what I used to prepare for Tshoot. I started on Narbik’s CCIE Foundation Labs.

Sorry for keeping this so short but I am taking no breaks! I am actually in the middle of doing BGP Narbik labs :). So far these Narbik labs have been great, I highly recommend them.


The CCIE and Me

As you can tell from my last post I have decided that it is best for me to begin my CCIE training as soon as I complete CCNP.  The reason behind this decision is because in my current role I am surronded by BGP, QoS, Multicast, EIGRP, and MPLS. As we all know most of these topics are only touched on if even mentioned in the CCNP. Multicast is such a big technology in my current environment that I feel I need to bring myself up to speed on it. Hopefully this will make the studies a little easier since I am around it everyday. I am in no rush to pass my CCIE by a certain date but my goal is to complete it in two years.

With the CCIEv5 around the corner and training on those topics being limited I have decided to start studying the v4 material. Honestly most of the topics still remain the same so it really does not make a difference. I know the CCIEv5 OCG from Cisco Press is set to release in May of 2014 so I will be sure to pick that up. Here is the current training material I have to work from:

  • Routing TCP/IP Volume I and II
  • INE CCIE Video Series
  • INE Workbooks Volume I and II
  • Narbik Foundations Workbook Volume I and II
  • Narbik Advanced R&S Workbook Volume I and II

So as you can see I have a pretty decent amount of training material to go through to build a good foundation for myself. My current plan is to go through Narbik’s Foundation Workbooks and read Routing TCP/IP where necessary. After that I plan to go through the INE videos and finish up reading the Routing TCP/IP volumes. Once that is completed I am going to need to pick up three more books: MPLS Fundamentals, Cisco QoS, and Developing IP Multicast Networks. I will then go through Narbik’s Advanced R&S Workbooks while also reading through my new books. Once that is completed it will be time to move onto the INE workbooks!

Of course this is all just a plan I came up with in my head and nothing is set in stone yet. I still have other material that I need to purchase such as:

  • INE Workbooks Volume III-IV
  • Narbik Advanced Bootcamp Workbook
  • Books Books Books!
  • Other material that comes out for the CCIEv5

I am going to make another post where I can consolidate all this training material so I can better keep track of it for myself. But for now this is what I got! I am ready for this journey and I am super excited. This training alone will make me a better overall engineer and that excites me to no end. I  am in this for the long haul and nothing is going to stop me!

My CCNP Tshoot Approach

So many people have told me that I should not wait very long to take the Tshoot exam. Personally my plan isn’t to take “long”, I just want to brush up on all the Route material since I haven’t looked at it in much lately.  I have begun reading the Tshoot FLG and am already feeling bored of it. The book itself is great, its just the content is repetitive and I feel that I know most of it already. So what I have been doing is just going through the summaries of each chapter along with watching the corresponding CBTnugget. If I am confused about anything then I just look it up in the FLG book. I think at this pace I should be taking the Tshoot exam within a few weeks.

CCNP Switch Passed!

I took the test this past Saturday 11/23 and passed with about a 900. Give or take a few points. Sorry I wasn’t able to update my blog sooner but I have been really busy getting things together for my new job. I start the new gig this Monday so I am kinda nervous. The environment is a lot bigger and I will be working with a lot more engineers. So I really don’t know what to expect. As for the Tshoot exam I plan to take it in about a month or two. I really want to brush up on the Route topics as well as go over some of the Tshoot study material I have. I know some people say you should just sit the exam right away, but honestly I really don’t feel comfortable doing that. I have all this training material for Tshoot including CBTnuggets, INE, and The Bryant Advantage I really would hate to not skim through it all. I began studying on Sunday and so far it all seems pretty easy but we will see as I get farther into it. I don’t expect this exam to be too difficult.

New GNS3 1.0 Early Release

If you havn’t heard by now you should probably crawl out from under the rock you’re hiding. GNS3 1.0 is coming! And today marks their kickoff crowdhoster campaign. Basically GNS3 is offering package deals to get an early release to their software. For as low $5 you can have access to the new GNS3 software a year early! Personally I went with the Premium Package since GNS3 has provided me so much help ever since I began studying Cisco. So check out the link below and contribute to the software that we all know and love! GNS3 FIGHTING!!! 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