The Journey to CCIE Certification, a Private Story

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This visitor put up was authored by Cisco Designated VIP Christian Kellerer. 

In case you’re an aspiring CCIE, you understand that attaining this prestigious certification requires laborious work, self-discipline, and persistence. My identify is Chris Kellerer, and as a Cisco Studying Community VIP, I’ve efficiently climbed the Cisco certification mountain from backside to prime. I hope that my story gives helpful perception and inspiration that will help you attain your personal CCIE certification objectives.  

From apprentice to discovering Cisco certifications 

My networking journey started once I completed my apprenticeship in 2011, however I used to be nonetheless uncertain of my long-term profession path at that time. Then, in 2017, I discovered myself working alongside a CCIE-certified contractor on a fancy networking undertaking.  

He patiently taught me superior networking applied sciences corresponding to NX-OS, ASA, FirePOWER, ISE, and PRIME. After sharing his personal CCIE Lab expertise, it was the recommendation he gave subsequent that began my certification journey.  

“In case you actually wish to turn into licensed, you want the eagerness for it and should do it step-by-step. Begin on the backside. First, get your CCNA, after which in the event you’re nonetheless , do the CCNP. Lastly, in the event you actually wish to dig deep, get the CCIE.”  

That’s what began me down the trail to certification. 

Tackling the primary hurdles: CCNA and CCNP 

Utilizing Cisco whitepapers and official E-learning programs, I started my CCNA Routing & Switching research (now merely known as the CCNA) in early 2018. I accomplished it in simply six months. After passing the exams, I instantly dove proper into the CCNP Routing & Switching (now CCNP Enterprise) certification, finishing it by March 2019.  

I discovered TSHOOT to be essentially the most satisfying examination, and on reflection, it felt like a teeny-tiny child model of the CCIE lab examination. Whereas passing the exams boosted my confidence, I used to be nonetheless unsure about my profession course.  

Cisco Reside and the redesigned CCIE Certification Program 

My journey was not with out its roadblocks. Regardless of my early success with CCNA and CCNP, it was at this level that I discovered myself caught and unsure about my profession path. Not solely was the CCIE blueprint intimidating, nevertheless it additionally felt considerably outdated from a know-how viewpoint.  

I ended finding out for a number of months. Nonetheless, that every one modified when Cisco Reside 2019 introduced the readability and motivation I wanted to proceed. That 12 months, Cisco introduced the approaching of a redesigned certification program, together with the successor to the CCIE Routing & Switching: The newly named CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure (CCIE EI) monitor.  

The up to date blueprint included conventional networking whereas additionally introducing fashionable subjects like SDx and programming/automation. That’s the second I turned decided to take the subsequent step and earn my CCIE.  

The CCIE lab examination: First, second, and third makes an attempt 

My first try on the CCIE Lab in October 2020 was a nerve-wracking expertise. Although I felt ready for some features, I felt underprepared for others.  

I discovered myself fighting the duties, going by means of them in an unordered sequence—to not point out the massive variety of duties was intimidating. The redesigned CCIE program added to the problem, because the new lab surroundings was nonetheless in its early phases. Disillusioned in my efficiency, I acquired the information that I had failed each modules. The failure hit me laborious, and with the lab’s uncertainty because of the pandemic, I ended finding out for a number of months.  

After I restarted my research in January 2021, I used to be extra decided than ever. This time, I developed a “easy” 7-step technique for the CCIE lab examination itself: 

  1. Learn the fabric.
  2. Learn the fabric once more.
  3. Reply the query.
  4. Learn the fabric once more.
  5. Test the reply.
  6. Learn the fabric once more.
  7. Recheck the reply. 

My second try in July 2021 went higher than the primary, however as I approached the two.5-hour mark within the DOO module, I panicked. I noticed I had made some errors and executed some illogical issues which precipitated me to expire of time and solely end 2/3 of the duties.  

After the second lab, I once more knew I had failed nevertheless it was due to easy errors and overconfidence. However once I acquired my scores the subsequent morning, I noticed my preparation had massively elevated my scores this time round: I handed the DESIGN module, however nonetheless failed the DOO module.  

For my third try in September 2021, I booked the examination simply seven days after the second attempt.  

The additional preparation paid off. The DESIGN module went nicely, and I felt assured approaching the DOO module. Regardless of getting caught at one level, I pushed by means of.  

On the very finish, with solely 25 minutes on the clock and virtually not one of the duties having been reviewed, I made a daring determination. I made a decision to save lots of the working configuration to the startup configuration for each gadget, ensuring they have been all in privileged EXEC mode, and used the remaining time to do no less than a bit little bit of configuration verification. With solely 10 seconds to spare, I hit the Finish Examination button.  

After my finest try but, I acquired the information by 5 p.m. that very same day. I had handed the examination and earned my CCIE EI certification! The journey had been lengthy and hard, however the setbacks solely made the win extra satisfying.  

Life after CCIE: Embracing new alternatives and private objectives 

Changing into a CCIE requires laborious work, self-discipline, and persistence. It wasn’t with out its challenges, to not point out the substantial funding of time, vitality, and price. With my CCIE in hand and newfound free time, I’ve rediscovered my previous hobbies and passions of taking part in piano… and at last getting again to my non-public life. I’m excited to find the place my studying journey will take me subsequent. I’ll all the time be grateful to the CCIE contractor who launched me to the world of Cisco certification.   

In case you’re concerned about pursuing a CCIE certification your self, I invite you to learn CCIE Research Supplies, Prices, and Preparation Suggestions. There you will discover my examine suggestions, value breakdowns, and different helpful suggestions that I gathered alongside my very own CCIE certification journey. I additionally made my lab notes accessible to everybody at Whether or not you’re simply beginning out or nicely into your research, I hope you discover these assets useful in your pursuit of this difficult certification. Better of luck! 

Hear Christian Kellerer inform the story of how he turned CCIE #65551 on the Cisco Studying Community Podcast.

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 Learn subsequent: “What It Takes to Turn out to be a CCIE” by Yusuf Bhaiji, Director of Cisco Certifications. Learn weblog.


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