I finally joined a CCIE lab mailing list. I resisted the urge for a long time, figuring it was just going to be a distraction. When I was prepping for the written exam, the CCIE forums and mailing lists were mostly a distraction. They didn’t help me learn the things I needed to learn to pass the written. I got mired down in esoteric little threads, but for all the time invested, I wasn’t really learning facts to help me pass. Keeping my nose in the book was helping me much more.
I started lab prep in August 2007, but I didn’t join a CCIE mailing list until just yesterday. Why the change? Well…it’s dawned on me over the last week or so that I’m not as far as I’d hoped I’d be at this point. I’m doing okay, but my IE mock lab results were really, really disappointing the more I think about it. Granted, I gave up around 30 points on that lab due to poor time management, careless mistakes, and not being able to get a link up, therefore breaking 2 other tasks. But even if I’d gotten those 30 points, I was only up to a 77.
While I’ve made a lot of progress, I had hoped by this point to be almost ready. I don’t think I’m close. I’ve learned a lot of stuff. I’m more knowledgeable about various technologies than I was previously. From a standpoint of technical knowledge, I’m probably twice the Cisco engineer I was a year ago. But am I ready to pass the CCIE lab? No.
I’m trying to figure out how to get more knowledge into my brain. I need to saturate myself with pertinent facts that are going to make me better, stronger, faster. I decided to poke around at some of the CCIE forums and mailing lists. After looking at the Groupstudy.com CCIE lab mailing list archives for December 2007, the list looked really good, with an excellent signal-to-noise ratio. Most of the posts were from CCIE candidates working through lab scenarios and running into various issues, plus useful responses. I also noticed at least one of the Brian’s from internetworkexpert.com contributed frequently. All things considered, I signed up.
Here’s how I’m using the list. As threads come in, I am deleting the threads that aren’t relevant to me. For instance, I’m not using Dynamips, so any Dynamips threads get axed immediately. Threads related to CCIE Voice or Security lab prep are axed as well. For other issues, I am reading through the problem the candidate presented, and reading the solutions recommended by the other candidates. I choose the best answers, confirming with cisco.com if there’s any doubt in my mind. That way, I’m making sure that I understand the problem and solution, and then hopefully file the information away in my memory. For issues with no provided explanation, or which allude to a topic which I’m not familiar with, I flag the issue so that I remember to read up.
Will I contribute to the list? Only if I have something useful to add. But maybe I’ll see you there.