Departing the lovely, sterile, electronic testing center after passing the final CCNP Route/Switch exam, and I’m on the way to the local pub to celebrate. You know what I’m already thinking about: gotta ride that wave, right? Stoke the flames, feet off the pedals down the hill, ride the momentum up the next, and all that jazz. Before the crispy new paper certificate arrived in the mail (finding it uncharacteristic of Cisco to do this without levying an additional fee), and I’m wondering: how does one actually go about preparing for the CCIE? How much is it going to cost? Should I ask my employer to help?
Don’t bother trying to find a fill-in-the-blank template in your favorite word processor on the Interwebs. The CCIE is much more than a handful of Cisco Press books, GNS3, and a local test center – you’ve gotta plan this sucker out. Time to crunch some numbers; build a few spreadsheets. If you’re asking for sponsorship, it may even be time to wrap a fancy tie around your neck and, heaven forbid, fire up Powerpoint and put on a sales hat.
[whispering voice: maybe this is part of what becoming a CCIE is about, eh?]
In our eagerness and anticipation, it’s easy to lose the perspective of our target audience: management (i.e. those ever-efficient persons who must decide whether or not they choose to become your agents in petitioning funds form the corporate coffers). Somewhere up the chain your pleading may land on the desk of a dutiful fiduciary who has no unearthly idea what you need. Honestly, I didn’t know myself when I began.
Here’s the proposal in PDF (slightly redacted) that I came up with, maybe it will help someone else along the way. The budget addendum is displayed below.
[Follow the PacketPushers blogs for future posts about my experiences down the yellow-brick CCIE v5 road, VIRL 2.0, and information about live-streaming labs.]