Posted by: Richard @ | July 8, 2008

Week 25 and Week 26 Summary

Weeks 25 + 26 à “Time to come-up for some air!”

Week’s Study Time:

Study Hours = 16 inc.
Lab Hours = 0

Total study time so far:
Total Study Hours = 307  inc.
Total Lab Hours = 20.5

What I have studied during the last 2 weeks:

Recent test scores:
Numerous Boson ExSim tests….

Wow, I’ve got a lot on at the moment!  CCIE studies, working my notice, and PCI DSS have taken over our (as in my family’s) lives completely!  I tried my best to keep-up the momentum I gained from the evenings a couple of weeks ago but it just ‘hasn’t happened’
à I’ve been regularly almost drifting into a sleep whilst converting my notes into questions each evening à I’m just hoping that it’s still all going-in at some level J
I’ve not been fortunate enough to start winding down my activities at work, it’s ended-up being the complete opposite!  Anybody who has come across “PCI” will know exactly why I’m struggling with studies and posting to this blog at the moment (?)
à everything we need to do to meet PCI standards has to be done post-12am, a 6am journey home is a real possibility…. dull headaches …. lax studying…. not enough sleep….
I bet I’m in for a real shock when I reach lab prep! (I need my sleep)

One task I had been given by my manager this last week was to prepare a lab for engineers applying for my current job; the idea being that we gauge a candidate’s competency of all things Cisco.  I can’t disclose the details of the lab right now (for obvious reasons), but I intent to upload it sometime in the near future – maybe it will save somebody some time in the future – it’s not extremely difficult, more a test of the basics:
– “Physical Tasks”
– “Device Management/Administration Tasks”
– “Switching/Layer 2 Tasks”
– “Node and Layer 3 Tasks”
– “Security Tasks”
– Bonus Tasks
I tried to picture myself in my own lab a year ago, and what I would have expected of ‘me’

As you may have gathered from what you have read so far my studies aren’t coming-along as well as I hoped they would, I‘m currently trawling through my OSPF notes and the number of questions I am adding to my ‘CCIE Quickfire’ workbook is verging on ridiculous!  The workbook worked nicely for “Spanning Tree Protocol” and “VLANs and VTP” but routing protocols have so many facts/nuances to learn the list of questions is almost limitless – it seems impossible to know it all inside-out à I’m just hoping the amount of time I’m putting into the workbook now will be worth it when I’ve used it as a learning-tool a few times.

I’ve spotted one or two excellent articles around the ‘blogosphere’ during the last couple of weeks, here are a few of them:

1) Have you ever wondered how you can stop those annoying “Are you sure” prompts popping-up when working on Cisco kit? à see How to stop the verification of file commands @ Blindhog
2) The first of two fantastic posts @
à OSPF Area Types
3) And the second
à A huge collection of Wireshark Packet Captures
4) What was the old CCIE exam really like
à find out here

Hopefully, I’ll have some ‘useful’ technical content for you in the near future instead of my weekly rambling


  1. Good luck with the work/life balance.

    I’ve been following Dorian Cougias (he’s on the PCI Standards Council) and he’s presenting a webinar which will apparently discuss the challenges of effectively managing PCI compliance and how to manage PCI as an easily maintainable operational process: Thought you might be interested.

    Thanks for the link to Arden Packeer

  2. Hi David,

    Thanks for the info, I’ll take a look at it myself and also forward the link to the poor poor lady leading the whole project here.

    Thanks again


  3. You truly have no chance at this cert. 2 kids and a wife, and you don’t seem dedicated at all. Maybe you should just be content as a CCNA or CCNP, and leave the real work to us CCIE’s.

  4. Hi Richard,

    First off I think your blog is a great idea and source of information for everyone out there aiming for the CCIE, it gives people an idea of just how hard it can be when trying to balance real life with studying for these exams.

    Don’t be put off by the arrogance of a few individuals, it just shows that it can go to someone’s head when they reach the top!
    If these people were to come out of the darkened room that they probably spend most of their time in away from the real world they would notice that a lot of the authors of the books they study from also apologise to their wives or families for having spent so much time away from them when carrying out the work or studying, so having a family is know downfall when studying, the difference is they’ve chosen to write about their experience after they’ve finished and you are writing about yours during it.

    Everybody is different so you may find that you enjoy spending time with your family and studying on the odd occasion or setting a specific time in the evening to read after the kids have gone to bed, but there are others that have to dedicate their lives to studying for an exam.

    I would have thought more of someone who knows how difficult it is to go for and obtain this certification, they should be urging you to go further not putting you down because they read a few lines on a blog…..

    I’ve been following your progress since you’ve started and wish you the best of luck for the future!

  5. Hi Howard,

    Thank you very much for the comment regarding my blog, it’s nice to know it’s seen as being a useful place-to-go (although, I really need to produce more posts! – they have dried-up recently). I approved the comment you’re referring to because I have to accept/show any negative comments along with the positives ones. To be honest though, I think it is a bit of a silly comment (a bit personal – seems to be based on a few lines) to leave on a blog and I would hope whoever left it was purely ‘in a bad mood at the time’, I will continue to be transparent/truthful about what I’m experiencing, but believe me, I am commited to this (as is Leanne) :-0

    I’ve not managed to study much over the last 3 weeks but when I re-start I intend to do 2 hours a night again. Cisco are supporting me with time allocation during the working day so hopefully I should get through this ‘endurance test’.

    I’m at San Jose at the moment, I’m mentioning it because I’ve been to Cisco’s campus –> simply incredible! (it’s huge!)

    Thanks again


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