My 2013 INE CCIE Scholarship Application

I submitted this last year and thought it would make for some good reading 🙂

Dear Sir,

Kindly accept this as my application for the 2013 INE CCIE Scholarship;

I am someone who has always loved challenges growing up. I hold dear the opportunity to work on projects that will stretch my thinking and learning capabilities technically. The CCIE has proven to be a certification that is difficult to attain and yet rewarding when acquired. It demonstrates a strong commitment and investment to building a career in networking and life-long learning which is my ultimate aim. There is currently only one CCIE in my country Ghana, however I think more Ghanaians must be encouraged to aspire for the CCIE than being content with a CCNA or a CCNP. The challenges associated with acquiring the CCIE, my passion to become a CCIE and the desire to challenge and coach young people into IT has further reinforced my desire to achieve the CCIE by applying for the INE scholarship. In some few years, my desire is to work in a Cisco TAC Team or Advanced Network Services Team as a Network Consulting Engineer.

The ability to offer validated quality solutions and support is the main strength I hope to bring to the field as a CCIE.I am confident that the CCIE will deliver to me an expert level knowledge and understanding of routing and switching, sharpen and refine my network design, implementation, troubleshooting and assessment skills. I would consciously exhibit quality on any project I consult on or implement to affirm the expertise that comes with being a CCIE. Furthermore, the passion to impart knowledge would be aided by the CCIE in according me the credentials to create platforms to offer support to upcoming engineers. A continual desire to advance knowledge in other tracks such as Service Provider, Security and Datacenter Technologies in the light of advances being made in networking would make me well-rounded to deliver cutting edge solutions in my work.

My interest in networking arose in 2006 while I studied Electrical Engineering in the University and worked part-time in an internet café on campus. I attended a seminar themed “Opportunities in Network Engineering and Cisco Technologies” organized by a group of Teaching Assistants in the Engineering Faculty who were setting up a NOC for the University. The seminar and a final year course in Computer Networking increased my interest in Networking. I came to appreciate IP addressing, the OSI model and routing protocols in-depth which improved my work in the internet café significantly.

Subsequent to this, I had the opportunity to participate in a 4-day networking boot camp organized on campus by some networking professionals from the industry. This galvanized my decision to pursue the CCNA because i had my first hands on lab experience with Cisco 1700 routers and 2950 Switches. At this point, I was convinced I wanted to build a career in networking. Following my graduation, I borrowed some money to register for the CCNA exam and spent the next 60 days riding my bike from home to the library with two laptops; one running GNS3 and the other Packet Tracer. I read, did labs and watched training videos in preparation for the CCNA exam. I passed in October 2009 and begun work with a small ISP in December 2009 where i had the opportunity to work with live Cisco hardware. I built my knowledge quickly in IP Routing, Security, VPNs, MPLS, Quality of Service and other areas beyond the scope of the CCNA.I worked on Cisco gear such as 3740, 7206VXR,7609 routers and 2900,2950,2960 & 3750 switches.

The Group Technical Manager recognized my interest and encouraged me to pursue the CCIP track. I left the ISP after two years and joined a financial institution with about 50 remote sites where i currently manage the LAN /WAN Cisco equipment. I have gained more experience in network design, management, security, high availability and redundant architectures. This has pushed me to acquire the CCIE which will offer me the opportunity to work in larger and more complex environments. I have completed the CCIP during this period and acquired the CCNA Security as well. My CCIE RS Written Exam is scheduled for the middle of July 2013 and I hope to be ready for the lab by December 2013. The INE Scholarship would be an immense boost towards this first attempt.

Most of the challenges I have faced have been with access to resources for training. Cisco training courses are very expensive and scarce. For a majority of the exams I have written I borrowed some money for my registration. Again, if you do not work with one of the large ISPs or Telco’s it is very difficult to access or purchase Cisco equipment for personal studies due to the high cost involved. Furthermore due to the absence of CCIE training institutions in Ghana, one has to pay thousands of dollars to travel outside to access CCIE training, however despite these challenges I have acquired the certifications I currently hold due to commitment and dedication to self-study with my scarce resources.

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to apply for the INE scholarship program and for your consideration of this application. I look forward to joining you in the bootcamp!

Regards.

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