My 2018 Goal: CCIE R&S

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I first completed my CCNA certification back in August of 2007. After that I started working on certifications pretty heavily, because I wanted to learn as much as I could about networking. I used the certifications as both motivation to learn and a measurable goal of my knowledge. Over the next few years I obtained a number of Cisco’s associate-level certifications, and by April of 2011 I had finally obtained the CCNP.

Later in 2011 I had changed jobs to a company where certifications were not valued as much. Instead, they urged me to return to school and obtain a college degree. This obviously took up enough of my free time that I really couldn’t spend as much time on studying certifications as I wanted to. In 2014 when I needed to re-certify my CCNP, I was just barely able to squeeze together enough time to study for the CCDP ARCH exam. This allowed me to re-certify what I already had, plus gain an additional certification.

Fast forward to early 2017 – I needed to re-certify again. I spent a bit of time trying to figure out what new tests I could study for. If I was going to re-certify then I would rather spend that time learning something new than just re-take a test for something I’ve already done. Unfortunately, I was nearing the end of my college degree program, and I just couldn’t find the time to dedicate to a new certification – so I ended up re-taking the CCNP TSHOOT exam to re-certify.

After I finished the degree program, I opted to finally take a break for a bit. Even just two months later, and I was already considering what to do next in terms of certification studies. I wanted to look at Juniper’s certification line, since I’m more heavily involved in their equipment now – but I also wanted to look at what’s next in terms of Cisco certifications.

Well, I’ve finally made up my mind, and purchased my first set of books to begin studying for the CCIE R&S. I’ve been itching for the past few months to start working on something, but I wasn’t really having much luck¬† making a final decision. However, I was talking recently with our new manager at work about the potential of going to Cisco Live in 2018. This is something I’ve inquired about multiple times before and had no luck in getting approval to go. Since we have a new manager, the answer has changed to a “Sure, why not?”. Since I found out that Cisco Live offers free certification testing (and the CCIE tests are quite expensive), I decided to use that as my motivation to begin studying.

So here goes nothing! My current goal date is June 10th of 2018. By that date I want to be 100% confident in my ability to take and pass the CCIE R&S written exam. I half had the notion of trying to shoot for being prepared for the lab by then, but eight months might be a little too tight of a timeline – at least given what I’ve read from other people’s experiences. So I’ll shoot for the written test by then, with the intent of scheduling the lab soon after.

My current plan is to read through the CCIE R&S Official Cert Library¬†first, then use that as a gauge to see what I know I’ll need a refresh on some of the content from that. I also know that IS-IS is included in the CCIE, which is something that was removed from the CCNP right before I started studying for it. However, it was actually still part of the CCNA content when I took that – so I have a very basic level of understanding. Outside of that – most of my current and recent jobs have focused heavily on switching technologies and less on routing. I’ve been working quite substantially with BGP, but not much with internal routing protocols – so that’s another point where I’ll likely spend additional time.

I know I definitely have a lot to learn, and it’s going to be a long several months of study. Obtaining the CCIE certification has been one of my goals since nearly the beginning of my networking career. I’m really excited by actually getting the chance to work towards that goal. I’m sure I’ll be writing a bit here and there as I go through my studies, so look forward to that!

If you have any insight you wish to share, please leave a comment below.

Wish me luck!