Arrie Jones, CCIE #27143


Well I finally did it! After a year and half of studying practically every day I am happy to say I am CCIE #27143! I am proud to say I failed the exam 4 times, I wear each one like a badge of honor. And for $1,400 each, those badges are made of a rare gold/titanium/diamond composite material, they are beautiful. My road to becoming a CCIE had many unexpected twists and turns. I got my CCNA back in 2002. I studied for 2 months and passed it on my 1st try, so I must be pretty darn good right? Well in 2005 I decided to try for my CCNP. I soon discovered I had let my CCNA expire, so I had to retake that first. Within 6 months I passed the CCNA and all 4 CCNP tests, so I must be the man right? Then I got my first real networking job and soon discovered that I was truly just a paper champion and had no clue how to design or configure anything. I learned on the job and quickly got up to speed. Feeling pretty good about myself I decided it was time to test my metal and go for the CCIE, time to see what I was really made of!! Having no clue what I was in for, I jumped on with INE and started Workbook I, page 1, and soon found out I was made out of a doughy, soupy mixture of gross ignorance. Its true what they say about "not knowing how far down the rabbit hole goes". It basically means I didn't know what I didn't know. There was no light at the end of the tunnel because I couldn't even find the entrance into the tunnel to start with. I was to scared to even read the Anthony's expanded blue print because it may as well have been Greek to me. But I kept my head down and kept plugging away with the faith that eventually, if I didn't give up, the dust would settle and everything would start to become clear. Many many months later I started to get that feeling, the feeling that I at least knew all the topics needed to pass the test in a small way. It was just a matter of becoming expert at all of them as fast as I possibly could. I spent month after month after month studying these topics and doing Workbook II labs. Finally I couldn't take it anymore, had decided I had to schedule the Lab Exam and see where I was, I needed a gauge of my progress. You other Type A personalities out there know what I am talking about. I studied day and night for the month leading up to the test and thought I was ready. I bombed that exam so bad it could be heard in Tampa. I went back a month later and took it again, then again, then again. That 4th one really hurt. I felt like I was as prepared as I could be, felt like I aced it, but had failed. I truly contemplated giving up. I told myself that hey, this test is hard, not everyone can pass it and you just might be one of those people. I was almost completely burned out on it...the studying, the hemorrhaging of money, the dream of achieving my goal. But with the support and encouragement of my family, I gathered whatever bit of will power that was left and scheduled my 5th exam. One more time, I said. I wrote down my weakest topics and attacked them with everything I had. One such topic was QOS, and INE really stepped up and did whatever they could to get me over that hump, I am very grateful. I arrived at on RTP feeling more confident than ever and went in there Friday not to just take the test, but to own that test! And own it I did. I knew I had passed it before the seafood lunch break (it was good!). I was smiling throughout the test knowing I had finally beaten something that beaten my so many times before, and I'm not sure I've stopped smiling since. So to all my fellow pursuers who might be thinking of giving up, DO NOT! It is so worth it. Take it from someone who started this whole thing at "1+1" and has taken it all the way to friggin string theory. It is something no one can take away from you, ever! Thanks to INE and all my friends at the IEOC, couldn't have do it without you!

- Arrie Jones, CCIE #27143 (CCIE Routing & Switching)