When I started studying in earnest for my CCIE, I started a log of how I was spending my time studying, which books and papers I'd read, videos I'd watched, and so on. I thought it would be a neat exercise to look back afterwards at what it took to achieve this goal. I'm also somewhat self-deprecating and tend to minimize my accomplishments, so having this data is a way for me to remember that this wasn't a small accomplishment at all.

  • 1,041,248 bytes of digital notes taken
  • 13,916 km traveled (8,711 mi)
  • 1,432 total study hours
  • 652 hours in the lab
  • 321 hours of just reading
  • 223 videos watched
  • 161 hours spent watching those videos
  • 128 PDF documents read
  • 23 books read
  • 5 figures worth of expenses and costs
  • 1 completely trashed USB mouse

Beyond these numbers there's the intangibles that went into this goal too. No vacations. Giving up free time on evenings and weekends. Not seeing friends as much. Not spending as much time with family. Maintaining focus constantly on the end goal. Constantly staying up late and getting up early.

Looking back at all of this, I realize that becoming CCIE certified isn't just about learning geek stuff. It's about dedicating yourself to something for many months and dealing with all of this stuff until you push through to the end and accomplish your goal. It's about willpower and mental fortitude and discipline. The term "expert" in CCIE means something very different to me now from when I started.

Recert #1: Dec 8 2016

  • 122 hours of concentrated study time
  • 55 hours reading (book, papers, etc)
  • 42 hours of review (notes, looking up command syntax, that sort of thing)
  • 20 hours of watching videos
  • 5 hours in the lab (testing things, verifying things I've read)

I had to augment my notes for some topics that I didn't cover in my lab prep, namely IS-IS and the "evolving technologies" section of the exam (cloud, IoT, and SDN). I've also continued to build and use flash cards but I don't have an accurate count of how much time I spent on that since I passed the lab in 2015.

Good for another 24 months! 🥳

Disclaimer: The opinions and information expressed in this blog article are my own and not necessarily those of Cisco Systems.