I had a busy week at work, did some uprading of some 6500s connected to HPC and patching. I use to much time to do a whole day lab. Just finnished lab 10 witch the difficulty I find was under IP services. Never configured kron before and had trouble finding the section in the doccd. I booked IE mock lab 1 at 6 am in morning saturday. I did not want to use whole day just on a mock lab. Hopefully I get lab 11 finnished before the mocklab.
I finnished lab 9 today. two more to go before I start on lab 1 again. The goal is to do a lab in 5-6 hours. One thing I regret is that I have not spend so much time with the doccd. I tried to find the section about NTP and I used ages to find it. From now on I will look up on the doc cd every time I get to a section I have not heard about before. I belive that in Brussel you can only use 10 windows so I have created 10 shortcuts from desktop so I can get used to this. I also have a US keyboard, just so get close to the lab envirement in Brussel.
I been trough the COD twice, two different versions, latest was 4.5. It made a big difference when I started to lab over the volume II labs again even when the labs had good solution guide. I take my time and dont rush through the labs, so one lab can take up to two days. I do the labs and then verify with SG for every time I do a task. Just to get the understanding, I can work with speed later. I did take the first 6 volume III labs, but I use 5 hours on them so I know I have to work with speed. Its not a concern yet.
I would follow a strategy that Brian Dennis mentioned: Take lab 1,7,8,9,10,11 and do them 4-5 times. Do 1 lab then go to 7 and after finnish lab 11 go to lab 1. Just so you dont use the short memory to do the configs. Then pick up other 2-3 labs and do them 2-3 times. I was in IE London bootcamp in april (This time not paying out of my own pocket) and Brian mention this method again, so I sure will follow it. The other thing he mention was that of all the candidates that did the mock labs and passed the CCIE Lab( he have evaluated hundreds) they aced on IPv6. They did not ace on QoS. QoS is harder to verify, IPv6 is not. So next goal is to spend a week just on IPv6 and be really good on that. While I am doing this I will spend time in the morning and evening go through Cisco Doc. I have printed out the 3560 configuration guide and will start with that.
This is not the start of my pursuit of CCIE. I began last year after finnishing Cisco Network Academy CCNA and CCNP witch took me one and a half year of hard work. Afterward I took the written test witch I passed with a score of 78%. The written was a recup of all CNAP curriculum + wireless management + multicast routing. I used only one book: Cisco R&S Offical Exam Certification Guide of author Odom witch is pretty good. I read all four of the old Cisco Press CCNP books during CNAP. Afterwards I read Internetworking with TCP/IP of Douglas E. Comer, Cisco Press Routing TCP/IP volume 1 and 2 with Jeff Doyle.
During CNAP I used 50% of my time just on hands on, but I did not have any real world experience. I also attended a 4 week bootcamp in Mombay, India in July 2007 witch was a mixed experience. They used Internetwork Experts labs. I could have more value if I was more prepared, I did not know they used IE stuff in the first place and I had just finnished the written 18 june witch was the last day before Cisco changed the curriculum. During that bootcamp I went trough some part of volume 1 workbook and 1 - 8 of volume 2 workbook. It was 90% hands on and a littlebit top of my head. I still learned a lot and I also got a bad stomach because of the horrible hygiene in the slum areas.
After the trip I went trough the COD twice while I worked full time govermental work with youths. In Norway there is a great demand of Cisco competence so I got a job as a consultant for a big distributor of Cisco equipment. I moved to a different part of Norway with my girlfriend. They showed trust in me and gave me great pay for a beginners job. They gave me access for old Cisco boxes so I could build a R & S lab after the blueprints of Internetwork Expert. The lab mainly contains of 3640s, 2620xms, 7200s, 2610s as backbones. 3620 as a Frame Relay switch , two 3550 and two 3560 gigabit switches. I bought flash and rams on ebay. All boxes are connected to a access server(2800) witch is connected to Juniper VPN box (yes Juniper, I did not installed that one). So I lab from home at the time that suits me and I can let the config stay. I labbed before on ccie4u.com witch is cheap and works, but I used lot of time modifying initial configs, save and install configs just because I could not finnish during my slot time.
Since April I been hired to NOC at a big oil company witch have 136 sites, 2500-3000 cisco boxes world wide. During that time I have learned a lot: Management systems as Nimbus, QIP,Ciscoworks, HP Service Center, Patrol etc.