Ed Leatherman, CCIE #44695
I began working on the CCIE certification about 2 years ago; I had finished up the CCNP R&S track and decided that I enjoyed the topics enough to pursue CCIE both for professional growth as well as a personal goal and sense of accomplishment.
Key to my success in this was a fantastic study partner and good friend who is also working on CCIE R&S. Also, a very supportive work environment and supervisor; my primary job duties are voice/telecommunications related and I was able to participate in general networking tasks when my duties allowed, giving me some great experience that I would not have otherwise had.
INE also became a key component in my preparation for a successful Written and Practical exam. The first resource I began using was the Routing & Switching video bundle (ATC, Written, bootcamp, and tshoot), which is excellent. Brian McGahan does a great job not only explaining the topics but demonstrating them. I also learned troubleshooting and configuration techniques as a side effect of watching Brian build and fix his own examples.
I also was fortunate enough to attend an INE bootcamp and found it to be quite valuable. Dave Smith was our instructor and he did an outstanding job at challenging us and getting us to think about how the different technologies work together and how these topics could be presented in both production and exam environments. He has a ton of real-world experience to share, the quality of the course was top notch. As an added benefit, I was able to meet and get to know classmates working on CCIE from around the world and learn from them as well.
The overall philosophy that was expressed throughout all the materials was that INE wanted to prepare me to be an expert at routing and switching first and foremost, and that I would be able to pass the lab exam as a by-product of that. I think this approach is what makes their products so effective and valuable.
I successfully completed the practical exam on 9/7/14 and am looking forward to whatever new challenges my career finds me with.