The Psychology of Becoming a CCIE Pt 2

The continuation of the 1st part….

  • People love to be a jack of all trades, than to be a master of one

The CCIE is a highly specialized certification which validates and demonstrates an expert level knowledge of the operation of networking protocols, their configuration, their interaction with each other and their troubleshooting. It is said to take one anywhere from 6 to 18 months to stand a good chance at passing the lab. Most people would rather spend 3-4 months in getting the CCNA, another 6-8 months for the CCNP, some 4 months getting some Microsoft certs, 3 months on Linux…you get the drift.

The thought of spending a whole year just working on one certification seems odd and not worth the effort. It largely appears that an all-round jack of all trades is seen to be the king of the IT hill than the master of one!! Specialists cum masters are seen to be really not good enough…”So you don’t know Active Directory Group Policy but know the intricacies of BGP and QoS???”

That perception tends to make many shy away from gaining a specialist knowledge and mastery of one skill, at the expense of becoming a jack of all trades. This also contributes to the dearth of CCIE professionals in our part of the world.

  • The constraint of the $$$

Lastly and maybe the biggest factor, has to do with the Benjamins!! Those green bills you “gotta” cough up to book a $350 Written Exam, a $1,500 seat in the lab ($1,750 if it’s a mobile lab) , another $1,400 for a ticket on Emirates to the nearest permanent lab location in Dubai, pay for hotel accommodation, not to mention the hundreds or thousands one might have to invest in purchasing Video on Demand training, Lab Workbooks and rack rentals. Did i mention a home lab? Forget about having to shell out another $2,000 to $3,000 for that! As a non-starter, literally no one in these parts sells any decent “used” Cisco equipment that can be put together for a CCIE lab. Hello E-bay! Thank God for GNS3!! That has been the saviour of many a Cisco Certified Engineer in these parts!

The average network engineer makes in the range of $400 to $700 a month, out of which bills are paid, clothing is bought, food is put on the table,  cars are fueled up and maintained and also dole some out to take care of other social responsibilities. This demonstrates how the numbers just don’t add up sensibly resulting in the expense of going for the CCIE remaining a fleeting dream for many. The mere thought that one might even have to make more than one attempt at the lab to be successful is equally disheartening.

So what have i done so far to keep me on this journey?  For starters I have had to fight all of these psychological challenges and stereotypes to get my mind set on making those digits. I have challenged myself to BELIEVE and have the FAITH that i WILL become a CCIE one day despite the constraints. Believe me, it is such an important step to take and hurdle to cross to see it ahead of you and not just as a mere fleeting dream. I have convinced myself without a doubt that with the right attitude, the necessary focus, a persevering resolve it is attainable.

I have read blogs upon blogs of the success stories of many CCIE’s, scoured the Cisco Learning Network for every piece of info on the CCIE and settled it in my mind that it is possible. I have gathered videos, CBT’s, workbooks, sample lab guides and the whole gamut of CCIE Training material.

This means i have equal access to the same material that people have used to be successful in their quest for the CCIE. If i apply myself diligently as others have done there is no reason why i cannot be equally successful. It’s interesting how your passion brings resources your way as well. The number of “real-Life” CCIE’s i have had and continue to have a chance to interact with since i decided to go for it is simply amazing to say the least. I really don’t have an excuse now. Not to talk of social media…hail Twitter!!!

I created a professional interest handle (@ielabgh) for Cisco/CCIE/Networking only content and the results have been amazing. I can now ask Keith Barker, Scott Morris, Anthony Sequeira or The INE Brians a question and actually get responses with a simple mention. Keith helped me set up the ASA in GNS3 while studying for my CCNA Security. He gave me some pretty good pointers as areas of focus for the CCIE R/S Written Exam.

Recently,i got contacted by a rep from Cisco to take part in their Cisco Champions program and as a result my blog content is going to be up on Cisco’s website soon as a way of reaching out to the networking community. There have been many awesome opportunities to participate in live sessions with industry experts in IT and Networking from all over the world as a part of the program!! These opportunities are emerging my way just because i took the step and decided i would go in for the CCIE with an adamant determination to make the digits. The sky is the limit for me. I know i will definitely make it successfully.
Fortunately, i have a relatively well-paying job now and footing the bill for the lab is going to be less of a problem. I can book a seat in the mobile lab in Lagos, Nigeria, which is near Accra and costs only a few hundred dollars to reach by air. Additionally, i am relatively young, unmarried with no kids and apart from a few responsibilities in church don’t have much of a social life either. There are absolutely no justifiable reasons why the CCIE should not be a possibility at this stage in my life. With the announcement of the CCIE version 5.0 when i was readying myself to begin lab practice with a tentative initial attempt in June, i have revised my schedule to commence in January and given myself up to December to get my digits. So help me God! I know i will be posting my success story soon so do keep watching this blogspace.
Finally, to all those who have thought of the CCIE as a faraway impossibility, i challenge you to rethink your stance and begin to see the possibility. As our 2nd home-grown CCIE said in a comment to his blog post on his success at the lab exam…”If you want something so bad you must eat it, drink it,sleep it and walk it”…Your ultimate success is assured with a mindset like this. Cheers to all you hardworking networking guys,you are welcome to establish contact with me if you want to take on the challenge of going for the CCIE credentials as well. May the force be with you!!

This entry was posted in CCIE, Certification, Cisco, Networking. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Psychology of Becoming a CCIE Pt 2

  1. John says:

    Hi, very encouraging to find another Ghanian passionate about networking and CCIE. wish u all the best. just came across your blog and will be following you on your wonderful journey. Enjoy


  2. senatoredu says:

    just happened to stumble on this blog. i totally understand your psychological battle on this journey. it happens to all who are ‘stupid’ enough to chase the ccie.
    i recently passed the lab exam in dubai (lagos mobile lab is no longer on the cisco exam list) and i did a linkedin pulse post of my timeline and strategies to pass the exam, here it is if you are interested and if it could help:

    Cheers and hopefully your next blog post would be about your ccie number!


  3. Yes Chiedu, thanks for the support and the goodwill. I passed the lab on my 2nd attempt…Story loading…


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