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Journey to a 21 Year Old CCIE

August 20, 2009 5 comments

Hey All !

Just Received my Report, I cannot tell you how happy I am. I have been dreaming of becoming a CCIE since I was 15. Now at 21 I have finally passed the CCIE R&S Lab Exam.

My Journey Started when I got my old 386 computer. I was quite young at that time but I as really fascinated by the little machine. In few years it was upgraded to Windows 95. I used to corrupt and fix everything on my own. In Grade Seven during school holidays I joined a local institute nearby my home for Web and Graphics Designing. My Teacher was preparing for MCSE and I used to ask him about what it was all about and then I finally decided to join the Networking field.

So at the age of 15 I passed the CCNA Exam, it was really difficult one for me at that time. Just after clearing I went ahead and joined CCNP Training. I passed BSCI and BCMSN and had to stop because my high school studies were being affected. After completing school I got job at a Cisco Premier Partner. I still work here as a Network Engineer working  on R&S and Security Projects. Back in December 2007, I completed CCNP along with few other certifications from Cisco and Juniper.

Immediately I Started my preparations for CCIE. I passed the Written Exam but it took a lot of time around 8 months during which I was working on a major project. So I finally decided that it was now time to get my hands dirty. I scheduled the Lab but after every week I had to extend it because of Job load and other responsibilities.

A turning point in my preparations was when I received the Scholarship from Internetwork Expert. I really jumped out of my seat when I received the email saying I have been selected as the Sole International Recipient. Since then there was no stopping and I booked the seat at Aug 18 2009.

During the last month I had enormous distractions but I focused on my strategy. The Exam day has finally arrived and I was very afraid of the 4 Stupid questions that can cost you $1400.

So we started of with the Core Knowledge. The first one was really easy but the rest were confusing and I spent the whole 30 mins. I sticked to the first thoughts as many CCIEs told me that overthinking can cause you to fail.

Lab Portion was not as difficult as I was expecting, my time management was not good I spent too much time on 2 Tasks, one of them was very easy but my mind was not the working at its best. After 40 mins of thinking and trying different solutions I got one task done but I moved forward and left the other. I had complete reachability before proctor called for Lunch. After Lunch time I completed other tasks verified reachability. On whole I left two tasks and instead of working on them I re-checked every thing and found a couple of mistakes which could have cost me. After the Exam I knew I had great chance of passing the Lab, the only thing that was troubling me was the Core Knowledge Questions.

Thanks to ALLAH in helping me achieving this journey and many others who have helped me including my employer, manger, colleagues and my family.

As far as my Exam Strategy is concerned I used CCIE 2.0 Program by Internetwork Expert. Advance Technologies Class, Open Lecture Series and Volume I Workbook were the main products. I focused on individual technologies and did very few Full Scale Labs and never completed even a single of them because of various issues , power outages being the main cause. I would highly recommend the CCIE 2.0 Program to candidates and specially the Volume I Workbook and the Open Lecture Series. Both of them are my favorites and I still plan to use the OLS, it a great tool. For those who dont know about it its just an ongoing version of Advance Technologies Class. Each week Brain Mcgahan conducts two 1 hour each class and cover various technologies on the CCIE Blueprint. I would love to see it released for CCIE Security as well.

Thank you Internetworkexpert , you guys have been a crucial part of my success specially Kady and Brain and I look forward to choose you for the Next Track which I have yet to decide , per my job role CCIE Security looks the best and I have heard that the new exam is very difficult and only 1 guy has passed since the Blueprint changed so I would love to tackle this beast. CCIE Service Provider also looks very promising and for the next 2-3 years because of IPv6 and MPLS its worth will increase.

Thank you all

Muhammad Zeeshan Sanaullah
CCIE # 25196

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