This section might not be very interesting if you are not looking to buy study materials for CCIE yourself. Skip to Study Schedule if you want to hear more about how many hours I put down studying for the CCIE instead!
So when I had decided I wanted to go for the CCIE I started looking up study materials. I checked the recommended reading lists and workbook vendors. I bought a few of the recommended books as hard copies, and I actually even made an attempt at the CCIE written at Cisco Live before I started studying since you get one free attempt at any test at their mobile test center (needless to say, I didn’t pass). I had a talk with my boss about pursuing CCIE, and he was supportive and said the company might be able to help with some of the costs.
I ended up buying these materials to get my studies started:
- Internetworking with TCP/IP, by Douglas Comer
- Routing TCP/IP, Volume 1, Second Edition
- Safari Books Online subscription
- INE.com All Access Pass (Videos and workbooks)
“Internetworking with TCP/IP,” is very general about networking, it’s a nice introduction which goes through a lot of the protocols and applications in a non-vendor specific way. It talks about things like TCP congestion management and DHCP in a general way. It’s a good read, but as I’ve learned it’s not really what is going to be tested at the CCIE exams. Routing TCP/IP is focused around Cisco-implementation and has a lot of details around the IGPs mainly.
The Safari Books Online subscription was really great to find information on specific topics, I found myself jumping around between many different books rather than reading one specific volume from cover to cover. They also have an app for your smartphone so you can download books for offline reading when you are traveling which I used a lot.
The most important part of my studies however was the INE materials. The videos give a great introduction into each topic, and you can trust that Brian McGahan is always correct regarding the details. I find that with some instructors I know they say something that is not entirely correct, and I start doubting everything they say 🙂 The workbooks from INE also goes through all the topics covered in the blueprint and I’m guessing technology labs is where you will spend most of your time during your studies.
I also used a lot of free materials available, for example:
- Cisco Live On-demand Library, recordings of sessions from Cisco live
- Labminutes.com Youtube videos
- Blogs, honorable mentions: lostintransit.se and blog.ine.com
Towards the end of my studies I realized that even though INE does have “Mock labs” they are very far from what you will see at the actual exam, so I decided to buy some labs from Cisco 360 Expert-Level Training.
I tried these different labs:
- LAB-TA01 and LAB-CA01, I got these free since I attended a Techtorial on CCIE at Cisco Live. They were very easy, not much of a challenge
- LAB-TA09 through 11. Good, but not much of a challenge compared to the real exam.
- LAB-CA10 and CA11. Good, but not much of a challenge again.
- LAB-CA12 through CA15. This was the real thing! These labs were really hard and much like the real exam. Large, complex topologies and the time felt limited like the real exam. Definitely do these before the real exam!