So you want to become one of the elite CCIEs (Cisco Certified Internetwork Engineer). This certification is highly reputed worldwide and there are only approximately 100,000 CCIEs in the world. I have known people with just a CCIE in California, USA start at an annual salary of $80,000 a year with no experience. CCIEs with up to ten years of experience earn approximately $200,000 or more a year. The certification is considered a professional degree in networks and it is a ticket to a bright future in high-paying career. The good news is, you do not need a college degree to become a CCIE, and the rewards are like having a Computer Science degree from one of the elite schools in the USA.

Getting started can be overwhelming, but going over the CCIE blueprint that Cisco offers online will answer all of your questions. The blueprint provides a list of topics to study and gives you suggested books to read. You will get a complete list of Cisco materials to study and a list of Cisco equipment they use to study for the lab.

Let’s get started on becoming a CCIE with little or no experience. The very first step is to get your Cisco Certified Network Associate CCNA certification test number 640-802. This is the first prerequisite before you can take the CCIE lab test. I recommend reading the Cisco Certified Network Associate study guide by Todd Lammle and purchase the CCIE Lab workbooks from I have used these books in the past with much success. You will also need to purchase a CCNA simulator to practice for the test and some CCNA and CCIE written brain dumps; you can find these by searching online. CCIE written test number 350-001 is the final step before taking the lab and there are lots of brain dumps on line to help you pass this test in a very short time.

Since you are on the great adventure of obtaining the elite CCIE, you should say goodbye to your social life and complete the CCNA test within a week and the CCIE written test the second week. This is what Cisco training partners teach in the one week training class and this is what I did to pass the test.

After the first step, you should have a good grasp on understanding Cisco equipment and all those special IT protocols you have to know to be able to pass the CCIE test. The next step is to focus on the CCIE lab test by reading the CCIE blueprint that is located on the Cisco web site. By now you know the lab test is eight hours long and all hands on. The only way you are going to pass this lab with little or no experience is to build your own home lab. If you are on a tight budget, then my recommendation is a minimum of 5 routers and 1 switch. The cheapest you can go is the Cisco 2610 series hardware running native IOS firewall. I have seen Cisco 2610 on eBay priced less than $200. You can save a lot of money by not buying routers with Fast Ethernet connections or interfaces, just stay with the 2610 series.

OK, all of your equipment is in place, and all you have to do is start practicing for the lab. I recommend the lab workbooks from Ipexpert. I have found these workbooks easy to understand and everything they teach pretty much follows what is going to be on the actual CCIE lab test. Obviously, when you practice with your workbooks, you must understand why you are configuring the equipment this way. I have found it helpful to join a couple of CCIE communities. There are a lot of CCIE candidates out there and you can learn to study together. I have found most of my questions and answers from these communities. Once you complete all workbooks from Ipexpert, you pretty much just have to work on your speed when you are configuring your routers. Get use to the lab flow and try to increase your speed, practice this until you can complete all workbooks in less than four hours. Once you accomplish this then you are ready for the lab. Good luck, be patient, and you will be one of the elite CCIEs.

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