CCIE#36159 – Lab Day Experience

Thursday July 27th was was quite a day for me, full of ups and downs at RTP  Cisco building  number 3.  I arrived 10 minutes before 7 AM.  Slowly other candidates arrived.  Everyone was returning at least for the second time including me.  Since the last time I attempted the lab in January, Cisco moved their testing room to a smaller room on the left side of the building.  I had the same proctor as before, David Blair.

After David’s lab instructions, test started with the troubleshooting section. It seems like it took me almost 40 minutes to get the first few tickets. Once I started and went through each ticket at least once, they start falling pretty easily. The exception were the few stubborn ones. As my two hours was approaching the end, I still had a 3 point ticket to solve. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that ticket and was under the impression that I failed the whole lab. It’s pretty devastating to continue with the lab when you think you already failed. The worst part was that I encountered a task with this specific feature few weeks ago and decided not to spend too much time on it thinking that “oh that won’t be on the test for sure”, famous words said by many candidates before me (blueprint is a blueprint you have to know everything on it).  I went on with the configuration part, thinking that it will be a great practice for the next time. I think that this actually helped me a lot as I wasn’t so stressed about the configuration section and was able to configure majority of the features.

At the end of the lab I told the proctor that I think I will be seeing him for the third time in a month or so, as I missed the troubleshooting section by one ticket.  He was able to check the results pretty quickly with his grading script and told me that I passed the troubleshooting section!  That was a huge relieve and my hopes came back for the configuration section. Under all of the stress of the test,  my math was little off and I did solve enough of the tickets to pass. David was able to check my configuration as I awaited in the cafeteria.  These 10 minutes waiting there were the longest 10 minute I’ve experienced.  Pacing back and forth, making small talk with anyone walking by to have the time pass quicker.  After a short while, the proctor walked in and congratulated me on passing the lab! I could not believe it, the relieve, the excitement  and joy overwhelmed me.  Two years of study, countless nights labbing and missed family events, finally payed off.  I always thought what  I would do when I passed, but when it actually happened it was surreal.  Before I left the building I had a photo taken with my favorite CCIE proctor Mr. Blair.

Very excited to find out that I passed.

The first thing I did was call my wife and tell her about the exciting news. She was exuberant.  When I was studying all these times, she was working hard on taking care of everything, including our 5 month old baby.  Without her sacrifice and commitment, I would not be able to dedicate so much time. Thank you Sarah.

Twenty minutes later I received the official email, the next 15 minutes it took me to log on to Cisco’s website on my cellphone to get my number. My number was CCIE#36159.  It’s crazy how my day turned out. When you think things are not going well they end up surprising you for the best.


5 thoughts on “CCIE#36159 – Lab Day Experience

  1. Hi,

    Well done. I’m really pleased for you.

    Which one are you in that picture by the way?

    Can you do me a favour and give me some details on the CLI interface, the speed of response to your typing, is the actual kit you’re configuration there in the builing with you and finally how was the DocDC access and speed of going through it?

    Thanks in advance.


    • Hi Alan,
      I’m the one on the left in the dark shirt :). As for the CLI I thought it was pretty good. I didn’t really notice that much of a lag, but then I practiced on a really slow console over VPN which was very slow. I think all of the routers are in SJ and not local, if they were in RTP I didn’t see them. Overall the CLI wasn’t a problem for me.

      On the other hand access to the DocCD was rather slow. I don’t think the issue was latency to servers but something on the workstation. These workstations are on the lower end, so it’s either hardware or some sort of access control software that was slowing down DocCD. The only thing you can do is make sure you know where you need to find your info and give yourself some time or work on something else while you wait for the page to load up.

      Good luck on your studies.


  2. Much appreciated Tom.

    The overall picture appears to be all the lab locations have poor CLI response times and slow DocCD access. If they’re all in SJ I might have a go at it there as I’ve friends in the Bay Area and in the winter it’s only a short trip to Tahoe!

    I am somewhat disappointed with Cisco regarding this aspect and considering the cost of the exam I’d expect a networking company to be able to set up a VPN.

    All the best.

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