About me

Hello, and welcome to the first post of my CCIE blog J

My name is Richard Bannister, I am twenty three, and live in Lancashire (England).  I live with my beautiful and very supportive wife Leanne-Ashley and we are parents to two children; a four year old girl named Carys (yes we were young…), and a one year old girl named Bryony.

I have been working in the Cisco ‘arena’ for three and a half years, this followed a two year first-line IT support Modern Apprenticeship with Blackpool Council during which I studied for the CCNA exam and passed it shortly after being promoted to a network technician.  I quickly established myself within Blackpool Council who kindly supported me during my CCNP studies over the next two years; I passed the last of fours exams in January 2007.  A year has now passed and I have moved to a senior post within Findel PLC.  Blackpool Council and I parted on good terms and I have to mention that my old colleagues at Blackpool Council were great role models during my journey from a sixteen year old boy to the present day.  I’m settling in at Findel PLC and again I have great people around me and I have decided now is the time to go for CCIE status.

I have written articles in the past for the ConfigureTerminal.com newsletter and that is where the relationship with ConfigureTerminal has stemmed from.

My main motives are personal, I didn’t feel like I was fully stretched during the CCNP learning track and I didn’t get a great deal of satisfaction when I acquired it – it was a bit of an anti-climax to be honest.  The CCIE represents the pinnacle of the industry I work in and something that I know will push me to the limits.  I have other motives which will be obvious to most people reading this; I have two dependants and I would love to give them the best I can and if I push myself over the short term (whilst they are still young) I believe it can benefit us all in the long term.  I am very lucky to have Leanne-Ashley backing me, she was sent from the heavens.

When approaching the CCIE I decided that I would keep the lab and written exams quite separate, from previous experience of Cisco exams I believe the written exams do require knowledge from ‘real-life’ but it’s mainly about knowing the theory.  I have created a study plan for the written exam and the lab exam study plan will basically be a continuation of it, the lab exam is all about turning the theory into practice and will involve a lot of hands-on study time.  I was lucky enough to discover what I believe is my best learning method during the CCNA and CCNP learning experiences and that involves reading through the subject material and making notes of important information and ‘I didn’t know that’ items, and then the key step is to do-it!  I also type up my written notes into electronic format and that really helps lodge concepts in my head.  It’s probably not anything different but it works for me.



UPDATE Jan 2009:

I thought it was about time I updated this page as a lot has changed since I originally wrote this.  I don’t want to overwrite where I started so here’s what has happened over the last year or so…

– I passed the 350-001 CCIE R&S Written Exam on 18 November 2008 and I have now stepped-up my lab efforts after lowering them over Christmas and New Year

– I am now working @ Cisco as a Systems Engineer in the NW of England; I was approached during mid-2008 and I simply couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work @ Cisco.  A great big thank you from me to my ex-colleagues at Findel, and to my very welcoming new colleagues at Cisco.

– I’m helping the guys @ ConfigureTerminal with the development of the CCIECommandMemorizer as part of my study efforts

– We’ve all had a birthday

– I have some new study resources available at Cisco that should really help J


What’s not changed?

– We’ve still got 2 children which is definitely enough!!  I’m outnumbered 3:1 and it shows J


  1. Richard,

    Good to see you have not lost your appetite for learning and are still able to keep a balance with your family life. May be you can give me a few tips when our next baby arrives in March, all being well.

    All the best to you and your family.

  2. Good luck with the punishing schedule Richard. It is as they say “Hammertime!”

  3. Nice blog. What is the “command memorizer” you refer to?

  4. Hi Darby,

    Firstly, thank you for your comment.

    The CommandMemorizer is software created by David Bombal of ConfigureTerminal.com that takes you through a number of CCIE level configuration scenarios and tells you whether you have entered the correct command sequence or not, if you can’t remember a command (or sequence) an option exists to unveil the correct command(s).

    It really is first class software and very reasonably priced. If you would like some more information please use the contact me page and I will forward the request onto David Bombal @ ConfigureTerminal.com.


  5. […] My CCIE Quest – Supported by http://www.configureterminal.com/and Findel PLC Richard Bannister is a 23 year old CCIE candidate from Lancashire, England.  Richard is currently studying for the CCIE Routing and Switching written exam.  You can check […]

  6. I hope you get there.

  7. Congrats!
    Nice to learn that you joined Cisco already!
    I’m sure you’ll have all the toys in the world.
    Hope to keep seeing you posting more about your adventure and new found toys!



  8. Thanks Carl,

    The first time I heard the phrase “It’s like drinking from a fire hydrant” was when I joined Cisco, it was used to describe what it’s like to be a new hire @ Cisco – I know exactly what everybody means now! – SO much information is thrown at you and everything is at a million miles per-hour, I’ve also been away from home a lot during my first 6/7 weeks and I’m struggling to find time to do anything unrelated to my new role – e.g. I’m typing this from a hotel in London at 11:55pm….. Don’t get me wrong though – it’s great to be working for Cisco! 🙂
    I hope to get settled properly over the next month and then start posting about both my CCIE studies again and also what’s going on at Cisco (inc. new found toys).

    Thanks again and good luck with your own studies 🙂


  9. Good luck Richard – fancy finding you here!!!

    My tips for a successful lab? Keep calm and don’t panic!!!! There WILL be something you know nowt about. Trick is to rememebr that when you complete step 5, make sure you don’t break step 3 – which you did an hour ago – in doing so!! Sounds simple but so many people get this wrong. They might say “set up the links so that the highest bandwidth link is blocking at L2”. OK – simple enough…. Then in step five you need to change the root bridge. THat *may* change the work you did earlier!!!!

    Its all about keeping on top of your game. Not that difficult really – even I passed it first time so I am sure you guys will!!!

    Good luck, Steve #11330

  10. Hi Richard,
    Its been a few years since I saw you on site at Blackpool – but always knew you would go far as you were always surrounded with Cisco books!!

    We went back on site a few weeks ago to upgrade the Infobox units and Lawrence told us how you were doing – they seem very impressed and proud of you..

    – Still remember your tale of Funky the Monkey… Lawrence could not really follow up with that as he only had a pet earwig….

    Take care mate – May see you around at Logicalis sometime..

    Mark Cole.

  11. wife!

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