My CCIE Security journey

There are a number of different CCIE tracks (Routing and Switching, Security,Wireless, Collaboration, etc.). I should mention here this article will be dedicated to the Security track. A lot of this information can be applied to all tracks, but I will be focusing on the Security track.

 

 
 

 

 

I know there were many times when I was beginning to lose hope and didn’t know how to proceed. I searched the Internet for other people’s experiences and success stories to try and find motivation to go on. I think of this as an opportunity for me to give back to the community, and possibly casting a different light on things because of my background as a programmer.

 

 

So when I had decided I wanted to go for the CCIE I started looking up study materials. I checked the recommended reading lists and workbook vendors. I bought a few of the recommended books as hard copies, and I actually even made an attempt at the CCIE written at Cisco Live before I started studying since you get one free attempt at any test at their mobile test center (needless to say, I didn’t pass ). I had a talk with my previous boss about pursuing CCIE, and he was supportive and said the company might be able to help with some of the costs.
BUT eventually, when the new manager came I paid circa 2,300 Euros out of my pocket for EACH Lab attempt (Hotel cost,lab and flight etc.)

 

I ended up buying these materials to get my studies started:

 

  • Routing TCP/IPs___, Volume 1, Second Edition

  • Safari Books___Online subscription

  • Internetworking with TCP/IPs___ by Douglas Comer

  • INE.com___ All Access Pass (Videos and workbooks)

 

“Internetworking with TCP/IP,” is very general about networking, it’s a nice introduction which goes through a lot of the protocols and applications in a non-vendor specific way. It talks about things like TCP congestion management and DHCP in a general way. It’s a good read, but as I’ve learned it’s not really what is going to be tested at the CCIE exams. Routing TCP/IP is focused around Cisco-implementation and has a lot of details around the IGPs mainly.

 

The Safari Books Online subscription was really great to find information on specific topics, I found myself jumping around between many different books rather than reading one specific volume from cover to cover. They also have an app for your smartphone so you can download books for offline reading when you are traveling which I used a lot.

 

The most important part of my studies however was the INE materials. The videos give a great introduction into each topic. The workbooks from INE also goes through all the topics covered in the blueprint and I’m guessing technology labs is where you will spend most of your time during your studies.

 

I also used a lot of free materials available, for example:

 

 

Towards the end of my studies I realized that even though INE does have “Mock labs” they are very far from what you will see at the actual exam, so I decided to buy some labs from Cisco 360 Expert-Level Training for the basic Routing and Switch part of it (Basic connectivity)

Connectivity first and then securing it!

 

Let's take a look at some of the training materials that can run up your training budget:

 

Books Anyone who has bought IT certification/technical tomes knows that these weighty suckers can cost anywhere from $30 to upwards (and occasionally over) $160. Here I listed some of them for you:

 

 

Recommended books

(I read this books for preparation)

 

 

Todd Lammle's CCNA IOS Commands Survival Guide

Cisco ASA: All-in-one Next-Generation Firewall, IPS and VPN Services

Wireless LAN Security

Network Security with NetFlow and IPFIX: Big Data Analytics for Information Security

Security Operations Center: Building, Operating, and Maintaining your SOC

Email Security with Cisco IronPort

Cisco Firewalls

CCNP Security: SISAS

Securing Cisco IP Telephony Networks

PKI Uncovered

Practical Deployment of Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)

IPv6 Security

Cisco Next-Generation Security Solutions: All-in-one Cisco ASA Firepower Services, NGIPS, and AMP