CCIE R&S – By the Numbers

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! šŸ˜Ž

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

8 thoughts on “CCIE R&S – By the Numbers”

  1. It’s not enough to “want” to become a CCIE. You have to NEED it! This is excellent at putting things into that perspective!

  2. Joel, congratulations on gaining your CCIE#. I am currently CCNP (R&S) and CCDP and have just begun the journey toward CCIE.

    Thanks for your site and discussions. I use them as motivation.
    I am going to sit the Written 9/2015 and hope to sit the Lab in 7/2016.

    Wish me luck!

    1. Thanks Jeff!

      Clearly you enjoy studying :) Make sure you have the support of your family/SO for what lies ahead. You can see from the numbers above that it is a much bigger commitment to study for an IE and it’s much easier when your family understands and is fully supportive.

      Good luck!

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