Adrian Lazar, CCIE #28858
My CCIE journey began two and a half years ago. After I passed the written exam using mainly the certification guide from Cisco I started preparing for the lab. One of my friends, already a CCIE back then, recommended me the INE products which he successful used for his preparations.I was pretty confident with my knowledge and skills and I thought that in a few months I will be fully prepared for the lab. I started with INE volume 1, technology focused, and I was extremely impressed by the complexity and coherence of each and every topic in the book. After reading and labbing a few chapters/technologies I realized that I was not at the right level for attempting the lab anytime soon and slowed my pace trying to deeply understand every aspect of a technology before getting into another.In my opinion INE volume 1 is the best book out there for learning the technologies and getting the confidence you need to move forward to full scale labs. After a few months I finished volume 1 and touched the first time a full scale lab in INE volume II. After doing a few labs I realized that I had a time problem, I was able to solve most of the tasks but not in the needed time frame. I didn't give up and continued with the full scale labs - I used to do one every two days until I noticed that my speed improved and also my concentration. Now I was able to finish a lab in due time and pass most of them (except a few level 9 labs which were really tough ). After volume II I got to volume IV, troubleshooting, which is a really good tool to develop and evaluate your troubleshooting skills. I scheduled my first attempt 1 year and a half after my written exam. It was not a lucky one for me as I got sick 2 days before the exam and got there with a fever and 0 confidence that I will pass. As I was expecting, I failed my first attempt with 65% in the configuration section and 70% in the troubleshooting. I felt I needed a break before the next attempt and waited a few months. At my second attempt I was much more confident and not sick , thanks God, and finally made it. I was a CCIE, my dream came true.