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.