“Labbing” where to begin?

10 days have past since I started ”Labbing” – oh what a joy.

If you know a little about the CCIE Security Track you are aware of the Blueprint change in February 2017 from “version 4” to “version 5”.

The change removes old technologies like EZ VPN and Legacy IPS and adds stuff like Firepower and new hard-/software revisions with new functions and features.

Cisco have never been found of providing Official CCIE Security training material (though at Cisco Live 2017 Berlin telling that a Cisco 360 program will arrive — but when??)

This leaves us with “Grey Market” training like i.e. INE and Micronics Training which both still are in the development process from their current version 4 to version 5 material.

Another approach is to look at the Official Exam Topics and start reading/labbing configuration guides for each topic.

Personally I have bought the INE CCIE Security v4 Workbook (which is automatically renewed to version 5 when this is ready) and started with the Technology Workbook which helps you learn each technology one by one.

Though the Technology Workbook is version 4, many of the topics are still relevant for version 5 and should have lots of hours/days/weeks in it — I hope the Version 5 book will be ready in August/September or else I need to start doing Configuration Guide type of training.

At some point I will be finished with all the Exam Topics / Technologies (I hope around October/November) and will be ready to start the more “hardcore” stuff… Da Da Daaa.. 8 hour Mock Labs (Real like exam size Labs)

Did I miss anything or can you provide other training methods – please leave your comments below.


Study planning

Most people tell that a golden rule for CCIE LAB practice is 1.000 hours

For me personally I need to have things structured, or else I start drifting off and doing stuff not related.

Also I want things done yesterday, so I have set my self a goal of one (1) year.

If I do not pass within 2-3 attempts, then it is perfectly OK and I have built up a skill level nobody can take away from me.

Okay okay okay, I will get to it now – my study planning.

I want to prioritize my wife and daughter, so no studies on weekdays before 19:00 (bed time for our daughter). Also I want a weekly movie night with my wife, so we have a life together after the exam.

  • Monday to Thursday: 2-4 hours per day
  • Friday: Movie night
  • Saturday and Sunday: 8 hours per day

This adds up to around 1.500 hours over a year, so there should be time to birthday parties, Christmas and New Years.. But there will be invitations I need to turn down.

I loooove beers and champagne, but the hangovers the days after I cannot afford in my studying, so the amount of golden drops will be limited the year to come.


It all starts here

One year ago I finally, after too many years, started on my CCNP Security.

With more than 10 years of Cisco network/security experience and 2 month full time study, I got the CCNP Security JPEG in the fall of 2016.

A couple of months went by and I thought; “hey, why not try the Written, just for the fun of it”.

First attempt I failed by around 20 points, by the second attempt a few weeks later I passed. (just with enough points)

I said to my self; “hey, you did it – don’t ever go for the LAB exam”

Now, 5 month later, I have spent the last month building my home lab, bought INE workbooks and what not.. I am so mentally ready for this journey.. Wuhuu..

From today I have around 1 year before I must do my first LAB attempt. (18 month from passing written)

I am 33 years old, have a lovely understanding and supportive wife (Lene) and a beautiful baby girl (Esther) at the age of 18 months.

We live in Vejen, Denmark and I work at a Cisco Gold Partner as Systems Engineer and Team Manager for the best team ever.