1 week until Cisco Live 2015

Well, I figure that now is as good of a time as any to finally post something on my blog page, considering we’re a week out from Cisco Live 2015. This is my favorite time of year, the energy and fun of the event are palpable, and this year should be no different. It’ll also be my first year as a NetVet, so I’m looking forward to that. I know, the little extra tag at the bottom of my badge is nice, until I see the guys with 7 CCIE’s and a CCDE walking around with badges that drag almost to the floor (I’m looking at you Brian Dennis).

This year, I’m going to try something different, which is to actually socialize with the people who I have talked to and followed on Twitter. Last year was my first real year of using twitter, and by the time CLUS came around in San Francisco, I hadn’t really made any connections on there. My introverted mind likes to tell me that it’s much easier to live inside of a bubble than to talk to strangers. Unless they have candy. Or bacon.

As sort of an introduction to myself, for the 1 or two of you who might take the time to peruse this posting, here’s a little bit about myself. I am a married guy from Sioux Falls, SD. Maybe you’ve flown over it on trips between the coasts, but it’s a great city and I’ve lived here my whole life. My wife, Talina, and I have three cats and last year added a dog to the family. We’re hopeful to be adding another addition through adoption in the next year or so, but we’re just starting that process so it’ll be a fun ride. I’ve worked for a cable service provider here since 2000 in many different roles. I started on phone tech support back in the old @Home days. If you remember Excite@Home, you know what I mean. I’ve moved up and worked in our NOC and have been a network engineer for the past 5 years.

I enjoy the SP environment, I get to play with a lot of big toys, but I’m hoping to expand my horizons every year. SDN is something that interests me a lot, as does DC and Collaboration technologies. I’ll be taking my CCIE R&S written again next Monday at Live, as I passed it back in 2013 but didn’t take the lab within 18 months so I need to re-take it. This time, however, I’m hoping to take the lab by early next year.

Well, that’s my little bio. I think my favorite part of Cisco Live is the fact that I don’t have to have any preconceived notion that I know more about anything than anyone else, simply because, I don’t. I know what I enjoy and what I do and love to learn, which is probably why I like going to these so much. I look forward to seeing lots of people that I haven’t met other than through the twitterverse next week.


And now comes the hard part…

Well, just passed my CCIE R&S written with a 916/1000.  I felt good about the test, it didn’t take very long to finish so I felt like I either was going to get everything wrong or that I knew the material.  Luckily it appears that my studying actually paid off.  Now comes the hard part, studying for the lab.  This fact will only be compounded by Cisco announcing version 5 a couple days ago.  But I’m excited and looking forward to the challenge, as I know this is something I want.

T-minus 44 hours til the written exam

Well, my focus coming up to the written has been to take as many of the Boson practice exams as possible.  I feel quite confident at this point, I’m scoring in the 85-90% range on every test.  Part of me fears, though, that this is just because I’m learning what the correct answer is, rather than understanding the concept completely.  L3 is by far my strength for the written, I’m confident in my EIGRP, OSPF and BGP when it comes to the fundamentals that will be tested on the written.  QoS is by far my weakest subject.  Every time I’m asked to know the difference between LLQ, CBWFQ, WRED, RED and every other acronym that I’ve come to loathe at this point, I feel a shrinking in my confidence.  This will definitely be an area that I want to turn around when I begin my CCIE lab studies. 

I’m doing ok with multicast, I understand the basic concepts and have done some PIM-SSM at work, but this is another area that I really want to get a good grasp on when I move into my lab studies.  Then again, I’m getting ahead of myself as usual since I haven’t even passed the written (YET!).  My plan after passing is to immediately start studying for the lab.  Too many times I have passed a test and decided that I needed some down time.  I don’t want that luxury this time, especially with the rumblings about v5 being released soon enough.

The beginning

Well, I’ve decided to enter the blogosphere (I hate that word) and dedicate time to chronicling my journey towards my CCIE.  I currently have my written exam scheduled for this Thursday afternoon, and I’m feeling pretty good after taking the Boson CCIE written bootcamp a couple weeks ago.  I know my weakest point right now is QoS by far, but I think I have enough strengths to get through everything else and pass the written.  But that is only the beginning of the story, the entrance to what will undoubtedly be one of the most difficult things I’ve done before.