CCIE With Book/Lab Study only

Unanswered Question
Apr 17th, 2007

Is it infeasible to consider the possibility of obtaining a CCIE with just a book and performing labs ONLY?

If some experts believe it is possible what books would be the proper study method?

I have this problem too.
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j.carrabine Wed, 04/18/2007 - 04:18

Thank You for the reply. For the books should I get ALL of the Cisco Press books? I was thinking that maybe the practical studies 1 and 2 and or the exam certification guide. Thoughts....

pdriscoll Wed, 04/18/2007 - 08:23

Do you have any current Cisco Professional or Associate certifications? How many years experience with networking?

j.carrabine Wed, 04/18/2007 - 12:38

None yet. Taking CCNA Friday. I feel pretty good about the information and feel I have a good grasp of the Cisco concepts at this level, but of course we shall really find out if that is true come Friday.

j.carrabine Wed, 04/18/2007 - 12:41

None yet. Taking CCNA Friday. I feel pretty good about the information and feel I have a good grasp of the Cisco concepts at this level, but of course we shall really find out if that is true come Friday. I also have started a decent lab consisting of one 2924 (my weak piece) and 3 3640's with 12.4(8)c and SDM loaded on all. Been doing configs from that interface as well. I realize I will need MUCH more lab equipment to prepare for CCIE, and TIME. I don't expect that cert to fall in my lap by any means.

dgahm Wed, 04/18/2007 - 12:50


Your best bet is to get your CCNA and CCNP before even thinking about CCIE. At that point you will have a more realistic view of what CCIE will take.

Planning your CCIE strategy before even getting a CCNA is like planning an Everest Expedition after reading a book on mountaineering.


dgahm Wed, 04/18/2007 - 13:10


It is not impossible, and it is a very worthy goal if you are really serious about networking. The old Chinese proverb says "the journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step". You will never get to CCIE until you take the 1st step, which you are doing, but unless you are truly a networking genius you need some intermediate goals between CCNA and CCIE. After completing your CCNP you are going to find that you are only about 200 miles into that 1000 mile journey. Passing the CCNP exams and getting the cert will provide some tangible results along the way that you can put on your resume.


jcrussell Wed, 04/18/2007 - 13:12

Nothing is impossible. The point is that you have to walk before you run, and you have to crawl before you walk. Since you haven't taken the CCNA yet, and you didn't mention any "real-world" experience, it's kinda like you are still laying in the crib sucking your toes! J/K, but you get the idea.

You just need to build up a VERY solid base of knowledge for the CCIE, and one of the best ways to do that is by working through the CCNA and then the CCNP. I wanted to get into networking, so I got my CCNA last July. Then I got my CCNP in October. I passed the CCIE R&S written in Feb and now I am working on the lab. In hindsight, I would have probably done the CCIP and maybe 1 or 2 tests from the CCSP before attempting the CCIE. CCIP has BGP and QoS, which are definitely in the lab. CCSP can help with access lists, lock and key, and some of the advances security features of IOS 12.4(x) that are covered in the lab.

j.carrabine Wed, 04/18/2007 - 13:26

So why does Cisco make is possible for candidates to go straight to a CCIE with no prior certs. It can't be for the sake of taking $1500 of unsuspecting people's money. I'm not trying to downgrade the significance of the CCIE or anyone who spent hours and hours (possibly years) trying to get this certification, all I'm asking is if it is possible or not. I by no means think I'm going to get this real quick. I by no means think I have the proper lab, but with a couple good books and months of labs could it be done.

tperrier Thu, 04/19/2007 - 02:12

There's no prequisite certs to have before attempting the CCIE because it's a different and independant program. Actually it's older than the CCNA, CCNP, et al. which were introduced later because not everyone needs, wants, or is able to achieve CCIE status.

And why should Cisco care if people aren't prepared enough and fail miserably the lab anyways? I say it's better, because it reinforces the aura of difficulty, thus enhances the prestige of those who passed it! :)

As to is it possible? Sure, provided you get months of book study and equipment practice, and are reasonably smart. With no real-world experience, you may be labelled a "lab rat", though; just know it. ;)

j.carrabine Thu, 04/19/2007 - 04:59

Thank you. That is what I am looking for. Nothing good comes cheap. We all know that. I don't expect to glide into this. It just seems unreasonable to think that practical experience is the only way to get a CCIE. I would personally like to meet the CCIE that 1) uses EVERY facet of what the CCIE taught them, and 2) the CCNP that was allowed to mess with the configs on their work routers/switches to help them prepare for the CCIE. I would think that with a lot of reading and enough equipment to support every lab experiment, or a bulk of them one would be pretty prepared. I'm fine with the Lab Rat label. Whatever it takes to make my son's life the best is all that matters to me.

haroon.shaikh Thu, 04/19/2007 - 17:38

An honest suggestion here:

I have completed my CCNP with lots of books and extensive lab practice.

Now, im working as Network Engineer for an ISP. Everyday, I come across new issues and problems for which I might have to ask some senior colleague or do google to find answer. You got it....Real world experience teaches you much more that is not in the books. But you need to have all the fundamentls described in the book to work in real world.

So, the answer is Yes, you can pass CCIE with books and labs without real world experience.

But, for that you need to have exceptional networking interest and mind. But still you cant beat a CCIE with real world experience.

smoothnetworks Fri, 04/20/2007 - 23:25

I agree - everyday I see new things that just pop up and you scratch your head and think where did this come from - that's real world. Question to ask yourself is, do i really think I will benefit from having a CCIE cert without any experience? I mean, just becase you hold a CCIE does not meen you are a good and skilled engineer - that is achieved through trial and experience.


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