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.