Jim DelRe, CCIE #10885
I obtained my CCIE through a combination of real world experience combined with self paced study, and hard work. You could say that it was mostly because of my stubborn personality and my willingness to fail that brought me to the pinnacle of the CCIE. I started working in IT in 2000, and at that time barely knew how to turn on a computer. I was working in a NOC center, so I had lots of resources available to me. Like anything in life, it is up to you to to take an opportunity and run with it. So that is what I did. I used a lot of my downtime to study different systems. I became familiar with Sun/Solaris and unix systems, Checkpoint firewalls, Cisco IOS, and of course, the Microsoft desktop. I worked the night shift, so fortunately I had lots of time to study and use the time to my advantage. So, I built labs, and followed the CCNA/basic TCP/IP material. If something in the book was unclear, I built a small mock lab and gained hands on experience, often repeating tasks until it was clear. I passed both the CCNA and MCSE certifications. From here, I was promoted to a Junior engineer. From here, I took and passed all of the CCNP, and finally my CCIE written. It took me 3 times to pass the lab. I used ccbootcamp self paced labs and built my own lab at work. As I mentioned, I was very fortunate that I had lab equipment at my place of work. I was also fortunate to be a single man at that time, as this was an all consuming undertaking. Overall, it took about a year to finally pass. When I passed, I felt like I had just climbed Everest. It is a feeling of accomplishment like no other, to know that you made it and nobody can ever take that away from you... I hope that my story may provide inspiration to anyone that is currently in pursuit of the CCIE. It is something that I achieved through hard work and determination more than talent.