Andres Castro Alonso, CCIE #47337


Hello everyone, I passed the CCIE SP Lab today just a few hours ago and I couldn't be happier! This journey is amazing and it definitely takes a great amount of sacrifice. With that being said, it is of course attainable so I will share some general advice that has already been shared on IEOC:
- Always find a reason why you want to become a CCIE, and hold onto it.
- Go for the track that you find most interesting or will provide more value to you.
- Consistency is key! It doesn't matter if you have to stop for a week or two, a month, just make sure you keep track of where you left off, review, and keep going.
- It is a marathon, not a sprint. It took me 7 months of nonstop, consistent studying. During weekdays I would study after work between 7-12 PM. Some Fridays off. Weekends were minimum 6 hours each day, mostly 8 hours, and sometimes up to 12 hours. I was able to take 2 weeks vacation before my first attempt and made great progress during that time since I was able put in a lot of quality hours. I did have a couple of false starts before these 7 months that lasted no more than a week of study, and I did that for about 3 months. I realized that was not going to work (it wasn't working) and decided to make a commitment.
- DON'T GIVE UP! This was my second attempt. There is always room for failure, there is no room for quitting. It is our choice to quit. We learn from our failures; just make sure not to get hit by the same rock twice!
- Drink a beer and walk away to clear things up! When I was stuck on something during my studies, I walked away for a bit and drank a (or two) soft beer(s) mixed with tomato and lime juice (chelada). It is refreshing. I'm not condoning drinking while studying, just sharing what was recommended to me, and what worked for me.

I would like to thank my wife for her amazing support and understanding, without her commitment I would not have been able to even come close to sit for a lab seat. My son was 5 months old when we decided to go through this sacrifice together, and she understood how this was going to affect our lives during this part of the journey. Thanks to my family for their support as well, sorry for all the cancelled and postponed plans! Thanks to my mentor, friend, and colleague, Joe Pevec (CCIE# 45176) for challenging me to pursue this certification, for his support and not letting me quit, and for telling me what I didn't want to hear when I needed to. What can I say about INE and Brian McGahan? Well, that I will be going through the R&S ATC not too long from now! Seriously though, INE's material and Brian's concise, simple way of explaining technologies is just top-notch, period. Thanks INE team for all the quality material (rack rentals, workbook, ATC videos) that enables CCIE candidates to not only get CCIE certified, but actually become better engineers.

To all CCIE candidates, stay hungry, stay motivated, and keep pursuing your dreams. Do not give up.

This phrase was my laptop/PC background during my studies:

"To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did. What have you done today to earn your CCIE number?"

- Andres Castro Alonso, CCIE #47337 (CCIE Service Provider)

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