Marc Edwards, CCIE #38259
I am sure my story starts like many others who enter into the networking field. After graduating college in 2003 with a degree in Information Systems, I was only able to get entry level IT jobs. I worked on a few help desks honing my customer service skills but it was NOTHING of what I aspired to be doing after college. I learned ways to be content with marginalizing my costs and living a life boundless to material conquest. In 2007 with the birth of my son things changed. His needs became priority and ensuring his quality of life became a driving motivation to earn and learn. Ensuring my wife and son were provided for meant pushing my career to the next level and hopefully beyond. At this point, I still was unsure of what needed to be done next. Like most who want to make job changes, I started by going to job web sites. At all sites, I noticed a large demand for network engineers. I was an IS major. I took a networking class in college. I tailored a resume and started to apply. I didn't get any call backs. What was I doing wrong? I was caught under the old adage of not having enough experience for the jobs. How do I gain experience if I can't get a networking job to start? The answer was Cisco certifications. In 2008 I became Cisco certified. Once I stamped that on the resume, things did change. I started getting call backs and interviews. CCNA officially started my networking career. It took me off help desk support and into server rooms and networking closets. It was during my CCNA studies I learned about the different levels of certifications. Back then, CCIE was at the top of the pyramid. I knew I wanted to become CCIE. If not for any other reason than to be on top! I learned about CCIE synonymously with INE. The two go hand in hand and my studies with volume 1 started in 2009. As things worked out, the ATC and volume 1 assisted me to achieve CCNP. Back then I had clarity on many of the topics. I even thought I was ready to sit and pass the exam. I moved away from using INE after volume 1 and a round of ATC . In the span from 2010 to 2012 I sat the R&S lab three times always struggling with time management and depth of the material... especially the troubleshoot section. It seemed like I didn't cover everything I needed to pass nor did I develop better thinking patterns. I knew I needed to re align my plan if I ever wanted to pass. Things changed with another chance INE encounter at Cisco Live! INE was releasing a new mock troubleshoot lab that ran on 30+ routers. It aimed at gaining the same look, feel, and grading as the exam. I believe the topology was conceived from actual topologies given at CCIE breakout sessions from the event. They wanted beta testers. I signed up. I probably did as miserable on that beta test as I was performing in the exam but it gave me hope. I knew that if I could learn to master larger topologies that I could tackle troubleshoot. I re-aligned my studies focusing on troubleshoot. I returned to the INE offerings. This included a 2 week boot camp with Brian Dennis. Brian's instruction is second to none.