Wow! I can’t believe it. I’ve been blogging for 10 years! Where did time go? July 16th 2010 is when I posted the first time to this blog. It was a post saying “I’m game” and I included Radia Perlman’s Algorhyme.
August 27th 2010, I wrote that I wanted to pass the CCIE lab within two years. Turns out I wasn’t too far from the truth. I passed late October 2012. Greg Ferro himself popped in to wish me good luck:
January 2011, I passed the written. I had a little different approach to many where I spent a considerate amount of time, around 200h if I remember correctly, to build a strong foundation before moving on to labbing. Today you would take the ENCOR exams, of course. But I still think this is a valid strategy.
It took me a little more than 6 months to get my first 5000 views. It’s good to remember that. Especially for those of you just starting out. This site has now had more than a million views but it took some time to get there. It doesn’t get as many views as you probably think, either.
I took my first stab at the lab in February 2012. I almost didn’t make it to Brussels. It was a horrible experience. I wasn’t good enough to pass back then but I also have to say that the exam format is a lot better these days than previously. We used to call it the CCIE services because there were so many services and stupid router tricks being tested. Failing the first attempt isn’t too bad, it still hurts, but it’s attempt number two and forward that really really hurt.
May 2012 I took my second attempt. I didn’t pass now either. This one really really hurt. I felt prepared. I had done the best I could to get there guns blazing. Still, it wasn’t enough. I did pass TS though. I was having doubts if I were to become a CCIE at this point.
Here’s a post I wrote on regrouping. You can almost sense that I was pretty down at that time. Failing your second attempt is tough.
June 14th 2012, my daughter was born. So I now had to study with a newborn and a 4-year old son… Rough times but definitely not impossible!
In August 2012, I left for a 10-day CCIE bootcamp in London with Brian Dennis. I had to leave my wife behind with our 2-month old baby daughter and a 4-year old son. But I knew this was going to be make or break. I had a great time in London and was able to meet up with my friend and CCIE study buddy Darren. I also made a lot of new friends such as Gian-Paolo, David, and many more! The bootcamp was a great way of accelerating studies and focusing 100% on slaying the beast.
And I made it! I became CCIE #37149. It’s almost been 8 years now. I’m thankful that I had the energy and discipline to stay with it even though my CCIE wasn’t smooth sailing. You might think that seeing me today that someone that me would just breeze through the thing. But that’s not the case. It’s hard work! I spent more than 1000 hours getting there. Here’s my write-up of my final attempt. It still makes me smile to this day seeing all the congratulatory comments.
I also wrote about what I did to prepare and the costs associated with it. Turns out it was almost 10000$ It’s not cheap to become a CCIE!
I was quite active at CLN back then and received the technical excellence award. This was the start of my journey to becoming a Cisco designated VIP. Something that has been very rewarding over the years.
I had become interested in network design, and going through my old posts, I can kind of see that I was on the path towards CCDE even without knowing it! There’s a lot of design posts from that time frame. I had decided to use the DE written to recert. Here’s a post after my first year as a CCIE where I said just that.
I also started going to Cisco Live US events. My first one was in San Francisco in 2014. It has been a blast going on all the ones that have followed as well. I have made so many valuable contacts, and foremost friends.
2014 is also the year I became a Cisco VIP and Cisco Champion. I’ve been in those programs ever since and I’m happy I’ve been able to be part of and build a strong community.
In May 2016, I became a CCDE, #20160011. Only the 2nd one to do so in Sweden. And what’s with me and taking exams? I was supposed to take this in Frankfurt but the testing center had an issue and I had to find a flight to Madrid, rebook and fly there in panic. Imagine getting an e-mail, e-mail! the day before you are supposed to sit an exam you can only take every three months, and that it has been cancelled. Pearson/Vue really dropped the ball on this one. I’m a bit proud I was able to regroup and pass this thing during those circumstances. The exam was very tough and I didn’t think I had passed, but I did! Here’s my write-up. There are a lot of great design posts from that time if you are interested in network design.
When seeing people in the industry, perhaps people you look up to, it’s easy to think it was just a straight road to success. That’s not always the case! Here’s something I wrote about something that was a real setback for me and that could have been the end of my career, even before it really started.
Here’s also a post I wrote on imposter syndrome. It’s very common in this industry, and many others.
The last couple of years I’ve done a lot of SD-WAN and also a bit of cloud networking. I’ve also been starting to get more interested in network automation and I’m currently planning to take the DevNet Associate. Expect more posts on automation.
Over the years, I’ve gone through a couple of different job roles and I’m currently working as a Senior Network Architect at a Cisco gold partner and systems integrator called Conscia. It’s been an amazing journey and I want to thank you all for sticking with this blog! See you soon again!