As I’ve mentioned in previous strategy posts, I can’t do labs during the week. My kids need my attention. When I get home, Dad helps with homework, piano lessons, and whatever else my kids might need. Some nights, they need a lot. Some nights, not much at all. But I’m available. When the kids are out of gas and head for bed, I can read CCIE docs and maybe some blogs. (Sometimes I play a little Scrabulous on Facebook where I am in horrible jeopardy of losing my 3-0 undefeated record to my daughter’s fourth grade teacher). But I don’t have time to get into a practice lab. The practice labs have been happening during Saturday marathons, with blog follow-up usually on Sunday afternoon.
I’ve increased my reading time to twice a weekday now: once during my lunch hour, and once just before I close my little eyes for sleep. I’ll do my best to keep a current list of what I’ve read versus what’s on my list to read. The idea is to keep several documents in the queue, and hit one or two of them as I can in a day.
You might be wondering whether or not all the reading is helping. The answer is a resounding “yes”. The reading is helping a lot, so much so that it’s tempting to go back through the Official Exam Certification Guide again. The problem with the OECG is that it doesn’t have the razor-sharp focus on tasks that I expect to run into on the lab. The OECG was a good technology primer, but it’s more of a shotgun than a scalpel when it comes to lab prep.
I’m reading 2 different kinds of documents addressing specific tasks that I expect to have to know before attempting the lab. One is the InternetworkExpert.com R&S lab workbooks volume 1. This workbook series takes specific tasks for specific technologies and demonstrates how to make them go. You don’t get a much sharper scalpel. The other kind of documents are, of course, cisco.com Doc CD documents. The Doc CD documents help with wording and command explanation. The better Doc CD documents explain the reason why you’d use a certain command or perform a certain task, and not just how.
So, here’s my current reading list, which I’ll try to update weekly.
Lab Workbook Vol.1 v4.1 – Bridging & Switching
Lab Workbook Vol.1 v4.1 – Security
Cisco Doc CD
Completed Since Last Reading List Update
IEWB Lab Workbook Vol.1 v4.1 – Frame Relay