Now that the written test has been conquered, I'm at my next obstacle. I did the test. Then I took a break. I had a wonderful vacation. And now my break is over. It's time to start back into my studies and get back on track. But, to be honest, it's a bit overwhelming.
I remember when I was in the military they always said that the hardest part of any run was the first step. Yes, the first step out the door to go run - and yes, it IS always the hardest. And right now I'm at that really hard first step with my studies.
I think that if I just knew what direction I was going, I could gear up and get some forward motion. However, I suspect that may just be something I'm telling myself to excuse my inaction. But at the same time, this moment truly is overwhelming. There's a lot of material to cover. There are a lot of tasks to master. And I really don't know where to start. I guess the best place to start is at the beginning.
I've looked into what's available. I've considered the boot camps. The problem with them is their high cost. I really don't have that kind of money and it would probably be a struggle to get my employer to fund it up front. Of course, they reimbursed me for my written exam - but there's a considerable price difference between the written and the price of a boot camp. And I would have to pay it up front and be 'reimbursed' for it. IF they even provide it - IF my manager believes that it is directly job-related. Since it IS education (albeit vocational education), I even looked into a student loan. However, those loans are only for students attending traditional college programs. Nothing that would cover a boot camp (which costs several thousand). And none of the boot camps offer any financing. So the only way I'll be taking that route is if I start buying Lotto tickets. And yes, I know that IP Expert has a payment plan. For the $7,000 Blended Learning Program it requires 25% down and then will spread the rest of the payments out ... into four monthly installments. That's $1750 down with 4 payments of $1312.50. Yeah. That's not exactly 'financing' in my world.
So I'm basically faced with doing this the same way I've done all my other training. I need to plow through it on my own. Maybe not totally from start to finish, but I have to do as much as I can on my own and THEN figure out what I need at the end to put me over the top and then just go for it.
So I headed back to the Cisco site for the Lab Exam Blueprint. It seems so simple and clear-cut. Just a list of topics. I have already taken a look at the CCIE Routing and Switching Practice Labs Cisco Press book. It has practice scenarios in it. I'm hoping that if I just start by taking each topic one-by-one and going through the related scenarios and practice with that technology, it will give me a start. Then once I have the topics individually, maybe I can go back over it and pull everything together in a single scenario (like the practice labs are supposed to be used).
Looking at the Blueprint - the first topic [Bridging and Switching] has Frame Relay listed first. That's as good a place as any to start. I have the Cisco Frame Relay Solutions Guide. I have a router I can set up as a Frame Relay Switch. I have the instructions on how to do that. And the first part of the first scenario in the Practice Labs book starts with a Frame Relay configuration.
There it is - my first step. Watch me go - feet don't fail me now!
Posted by BlueWolf on April 28, 2009 10:32 PM