Thursday, October 30, 2008

Good Bye October

Phew! I'm so happy that October is finishing soon. It's the busiest yet most productive month! So what I've achieved this month?

- 2 exams (one of them is due tomorrow)
- 2 wedding photoshootings
- 2 advertisement shootings
- new/old projects from my day job started/ended

Everyone is given 24 hours a day. I consider myself to have a full-time job and two part-time jobs. None of them are really related to each other: computer networking vs automotive detailing vs photography. If you ask me "Which one you love most?", I might answer you "I love all of them". Now I wish I have 72 hours a day so that I can give equally full attention to all of them. OK, stop dreaming.

For the past one year, I had been struggling to find an answer to my question of "What do I want to focus on?". Do I want to be a CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) qualified network consultant? Or to be a fulltime professional photographer?

I guess I've roughly figured out what I really want for my career path. Yeah, I chose to pursue CCIE certification and hopefully will be a network consultant very soon. CCIE is the highest qualification in the networking world. According to the statistic from Cisco, there are 18084 CCIEs worldwide as of 10th October 2008. Among them, 82 CCIEs are from Malaysia. The country with the most CCIEs is USA, a whopping 5076!

There are 5 tracks under the CCIE certification program:
- Routing and Switching
- Security
- Service Provider
- Storage Networking
- Voice

Each of these tracks specialize in different areas of networking world. Routing and Switching is considered the most common/favourite track among CCIE candidates. As for me, I plan to take the less common track which is the Service Provider. Why SP? That's because I love routing, especially BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) and MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching). I love dealing with large-scale network, which makes things more complicated, yet exciting. At the same time it's rather easy to do mass destruction (lol).

To prepare for my CCIE pursuing journey, I have done the followings:
- Drop wedding photography (starting Jan 2009)
- Decrease car detailing frequency
- Obtain basic (stepping-stone) certifications (CCNA, CCDA, CCNP, CCIP, CCDP)
- Mentally prepare for almost-no-social-life
- Collect study materials (not fully done yet)

To clear-up whatever is left in 2008 (2 more wedding shootings in December), I will only officially start my CCIE (Written Exam) studies in January 2009. There are at least 9 books to be read, such as:

- Routing TCP/IP, Volume I, Second Edition (Carroll, Doyle, ISBN# 1587052024)
- Routing TCP/IP, Volume 2, (CCIE Professional Development) (Doyle, DeHaven Carroll, ISBN# 1578700892)
- CCIE Practical Studies, Volume I (Solie, ISBN# 1587200023)
- CCIE Practical Studies, Volume II (CCIE Self-Study) (Solie, Lynch, ISBN# 1587050722)
- MPLS and VPN Architectures (Pepelnjak, Guichard, ISBN# 1587050021)
- MPLS and VPN Architectures, Volume II (Pepelnjak, Guichard, Apcar, ISBN# 1587051125)
- Traffic Engineering with MPLS (Osborne, Simha, ISBN# 1587050315)
- BGP Design and Implementation (Bartell, Zhang, ISBN# 1587051095)
- Definitive MPLS Network Designs (Guichard, Le Faucheur, Vasseur, ISBN# 1587051869)

I'm not too sure whether is this going to be worse than my Masters studies, but I know for sure it's going to be darn tough. It's not uncommon for CCIE candidates to sit for a few attempts of lab exam before they get certified. And each attempt will cost more than RM10K, which includes air ticket (Sydney/Tokyo/Brussels/SanJose/etc...), accomodation and exam fee.

Whatever it is...I have to focus and suffer (or rather enjoy the studies) for at least a year before the right time comes...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on the journey and the achievement! Proud of ya mate ;-)

12:58 AM  
Blogger fox said...

yeah, it is good to be focused ;-)
enjoy or struggle, the journey will be part of you-to-be in the future. Cheers!

8:21 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Glad that u had chosen the path less taken as it will entail great rewards! but please keep posing beauty-licious pix for us from time to time ya...

Good luck ZT


9:55 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

macdude: Thank you! I'm also proud of your work: detailing & photography.

fox: That's what you always tell me, and I will always remember, thanks!

Alex: I will still take photos time to time and that's part of the motivation of my studies. Appreciate your support!

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2:10 PM  

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