Luke Hatfield, CCIE #42601
Well, Well, Well, It's been a long 4 year journey to the top. I started studying back in January, 2010 for version 3.0 of the Routing and Switching blueprint. At the time, I only had approximately 6 years? experience in IT. After graduating college, I worked at various IT companies latterly starting from the bottom helpdesk position. After time I progressed to Desktop support and moved into PDI and Retalix OS support. After only a few years in IT I switched jobs and started working as a network administrator literally doing all end to end network, server, and desktop support and configurations. It was during this 2 year stint that I fell in love with Cisco and started studying towards a CCNA. It took me 1 full year of preparation before I was ready to write and pass the CCNA. I took some time off, quit my job and moved away and started working in a new profession all together. I decided to help a buddy out for 10 months start up a construction company. Once things didn?t go that well with the company I decided to move back home and look for an IT job again. Luckily, I was able to find one within 6 weeks of moving home and I?ve been employed with them ever since (6.5 years). During my current employment, I dedicated myself to obtaining a CCNP. This time, (like the time before when studying for the CCNA) it took me 1 year to complete and multiple failed attempts. I remember being so excited when I finally received my CCNP certificate. I truly thought this was the greatest accomplishment of my career. It took me over 3000 hours of studying over a 4 year period studying for version 3 and version 4 of the blueprint before finally passing the CCIE in Routing and Switching Feb. 27th, 2014 on my 5th attempt. I did all this while working 50 + hours a week and have a family with 2 small children. I could write a book on what not to do when studying for the CCIE because I did all the wrong things at first and it showed. I used all of INE's material and completed over 100 6-8h labs. I found INE's labs were considerably challenging specifically with volume 2 and with the mock labs. INE?s greatest accomplishment outside of having instructor and part owner Brian McGahan within their Routing and Switching track is the graded labs troubleshooting labs. They are the best in the industry. They helped close the huge gap I had in troubleshooting and closely resembled the real TS section of the lab. Finally, I?d like to thank my wife, and 2 daughters for sticking by me when everyone else including myself gave up. I was ready to give up on the CCIE dream more times than I could count. I'm a true example what an average person can do if they put their mind to it. Never give up!!