CCIE Pursuit Blog

March 28, 2009

Internetwork Expert: Advanced Technologies Live Online Class $495

If you’re a CCIE candidate and you’re on twitter, it would behoove [HAH! I just used ‘behoove’ in a sentence] to follow the vendors’ tweets as they will occasionally offer discounts and even free stuff.  This weekend Internetwork Expert is offering a great deal:

Weekend Special: CCIE Advanced Technologies Live Online Class – Only $495, Discount code “ADVTECH09”

You can choose the live (online) version of the Advanced Technologies Class for any track.  Plus you get access to the recorded online COD as well.  Normally the live version sells for $1,495 so you’d save $1,000.  Even if you’re only interested in the recorded version, you’d still save $500 off of the $995 price.  This is a great deal for anyone who has been looking at getting the Advanced Technologies COD or who wants to start on another track.  You’ll need to hurry though because the offer is only good this weekend.

For those using twitter, you’ll want to follow: – Internetwork Expert – IPexpert (they have various accounts based on geography as well) – IPexpert social network guru

February 5, 2009

IPexpert: New Training Company Formed – NOT Offering Cisco 360 Training

IPexpert announced today that they will be creating a new ‘sister company’ (IPexpert Training) to begin training for ‘lower level’ certifications such as CCxP and others.  This consistent with their already announced push into this market (earlier announced as IPexpert University).  Internetwork Expert has announced a similar push.  My speculation is that this is a way of increasing market-share borne out of goals of expansion – or simply to contend with the loss of Cisco training due to the Cisco 360 program.

Thankfully, this announcement will not affect the current CCIE training that IPexpert offers.  They have also announced that they will NOT be offering the Cisco 360 CCIE training program – an idea that they seemed to be considering earlier.

* The IPexpert CCIE Team will not be participating in this initiative.  We have created a 2nd “sister company” to leverage the IPexpert brand, however – our CCIE Lab efforts will not be diluted and our CCIE Instructors will remain focused on CCIE Lab training, product development and support. The IPexpert Training developers and instructors are different individuals who have already proven themselves in this different (lower-level) market.

* There will be different websites, different communities and different “legal companies”.  However, the management team and sales team will remain the same – giving you sales reps that understand technology and management that understands how to deliver a phenomenal product and ensure a successful delivery with a high customer satisfaction rating.

* These classes will *NOT* be Cisco authorized and neither business unit will endorse or offer the Cisco 360 CCIE Lab offering.  After understanding the 360 program, products and Cisco’s initiative – I have made the decision that the current CCIE Lab offerings we have (already shipping) are much more mature, proven, more up-to-date and more cost-effective for our clients.

As long as the CCIE training will not suffer, I think that this is a great opportunity for students coming up through the Cisco certification ranks, especially those with their eyes on a future run at the CCIE.  The downside is that there may not be a lot of space in this new market space with the economic downturn and a number of already established training vendors competing in that space.  If IPexpert (and IE) port some of their training method and principles (lots of hands-on lab work, class-on-demand videos, integrated workbooks, communities and forums) then they should be very successful.  The good news for CCIE candidates is that there will continue to be multiple CCIE-level vendors competing for your training dollars…and that will only drive more innovation and improvement over the long run.

December 9, 2008

Internetwork Expert: Volume II v5 Labs To Start Releasing This Week

Internetwork Expert’s December newsletter announces that their flagship workbook product is going to be updated:

Updated Routing & Switching Volume II Labs Start Releasing This Week

The newest updates to the Routing & Switching Volume II labs are being released in electronic format starting this week. The updates will automatically show up in your members site account as the labs are released.

The IE blog has a post up today with more detail:

This Friday the CCIE R&S Lab Meet-Up series kicks off with the new CCIE R&S Lab Workbook Volume 2 Version 5 Lab 1.  The new lab will be posted on the members site on Thursday, and the lab meet-up starts at 9am Pacific time.  The session should lab about 4 hours, depending on how many questions people have.  Essentially I will be configuring and explaining the lab live on the command line, and going through the logic of the solutions in detail.

It’s not too late to sign-up for the series, so contact our sales department if you have any questions.  I hope to see you there!

It looks like IE will be releasing the new labs one lab at a time with a Lab Meet-Up scheduled for each lab to discuss the lab/solutions.

November 4, 2008

NetMasterClass: Cisco 360 Roadmap Published

It’s election day in the US today.  I took the day off from work (not a national holiday here) and am off to the polls in a few minutes.  I have some rack time booked after that.  So today will be filled with civic duty and CCIE studies.  🙂  I’ll bring back the question of the day tomorrow.  Props to nemith for absolutely nailing the answer to the last QoD.

NetMasterClass has a page up on their site with more details about the new Cisco 360 CCIE training.  They have posted a roadmap for that program.  The program runs 26 weeks (6 months) and is split up into 3 distinct phases.  The roadmap lists the learning objectives and activities for each phase.  If you’re interested in participating in the 360 program, then definitely go take a look at the information that NetMasterClass has posted.

October 28, 2008

CCBootcamp: Dancing With CCIEs

[HT to CCIE Journey for pointing this out]

CCBootcamp gets points for using an old-skool NIN remix but then loses those points at the 0:30 mark when Brad Ellis blatently rips off my best dance moves  🙂

October 15, 2008

More Information About Cisco’s New CCIE Training Program

Yesterday I postedabout Cisco’s new CCIE training program.  NetworkWorld released a more detailed report today which I encourage you to read.

The “third-party boot camps not always up to par” comment stems from this fairly innocuous statement:

“There was a very diverse level of quality” in the third-party exam preparation programs, said Cisco marketing director Fred Weiller.

This bit bugs and confuses me:

The third-party courses often trained Cisco pros well enough to pass the exam, but not well enough to become true experts, Weiller said.

Are you kidding me?  Again I ask anyone who has prepared for and passed this lab if they could do so without becoming an expert on the technologies that are in the CCIE blueprint.  I can’t speak for all of the third-party vendors but I have heard again and again from IE that you need to master the technologies and how they interrelate if you want to have a chance at passing the CCIE lab.  Not to mention that you need to prove your capabilities to understand disparate technologies (some like MPLS which are not even on the current Routing and Switching blueprint) in order to pass the CCIE written exam.

The “Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE Routing and Switching” is composed of more than 400 hours of instruction over six months…

I agree with Jeff Rensink at CCIE Trek that if those 400 hours are all training and not training plus lab hours, then this is a very impressive amount of training.

Weiller revists his earlier comment about some (unnamed) third-party vendors’ methods of training:

“It’s not to train to the test. It’s training to become an expert,” Weiller said.

I have to call shenanigans here.  You can’t bemoan the CCIE test not turning out “experts” if you don’t define what you mean by the term “expert”.  Also, it’s been noted many times over that the CCIE is not a best-design test.  Some of the tasks on the lab require convoluted solutions that would not be practical in a real-world network.  Has Cisco received complaints about CCIE’s not being able to perform to “expert” level?  Was developing their own training program the only/best solution to this issue?  This sounds like marketing for Cisco’s new training product at the expense of Cisco’s CCIE testing program???

One last interesting bit:

…available beginning Nov. 1 from Cisco partners throughout the country.

Will the partners be doing the training?  If so, then does this program really just represent an official CCIE Routing and Switching curriculum with access to some web-based training and assessment testing?  If this does represent an official Cisco CCIE curriculum then will third-party vendors be allowed to teach to this standard?

This program is currently only for the CCIE Routing and Switching track, so can any of you spot the out-of-place technology in this statement:

In addition to instructor-led sessions and workshops, there will be practice labs, mentoring and six online classes. Topics include IPv6 QoS, Frame Rely [sic],Border Gateway Protocol and switching, Session Initiation Protocol, multicast technology, and various Cisco products.

SIP?  Really?  Maybe this is what Cisco means about third-party vendors training for the test.  These vendors (understandably) concentrate on the technologies on the current blueprint and don’t wander very far outside of that arena.  Perhaps Cisco will train on technologies that are not currently on the lab blueprint but they consider essential to being a Routing and Switching expert.  If that is the case, then I understand their statements.

There will be a live presentation on 23 October with the opportunity to ask questions about Cisco’s new CCIE training program [ht: CCIECandidate]

Watch a live presentation done Learning@Cisco Product Marketing Managers David Bump, Mary Ng and Sanjay Mehta. David Bump manages the Cisco 360 Program and the Service Provider curriculum. Sanjay Mehta manages the Wireless Certifications and Curriculum. Mary Ng manages the Unified Communications Curriculum and is the Project Lead for CCIE Security.

Date: October 23, 2008
Time: 8:00 am PST, 11:00 am EST, 15:00 GMT
Duration: 1.5 hour

The program will focus on the following objectives. After the presentation portion of the show, we’ll be taking live calls from YOU – the viewer— during our Q&A session. You may also submit questions electronically.

• CCIE Program Overview
• CCIE 360 Program
• CCIE Mobile Testing Labs
• CCDE Updates
• Security Lab Updates
• Brand new curriculum!!!

In the end this will be a good change for CCIE candidates.  More competition (generally) means better products and cost-points.  Depending on the details of the program this could be too expensive for self-financed CCIE candidates but it might be a very good option for those who have employer-backing.

October 14, 2008

Cisco To Launch Its Own CCIE Training Program

NetworkWorld has announced that Cisco will soon unveil its CCIE training program for the Routing and Switching track.  It looks like it will go under the moniker of “Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE – Routing and Switching”.

Cisco Tuesday rolled out Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE – Routing and Switching, a six-month program that incorporates e-learning and hands-on practice labs to accelerate expert-level competency. The program is designed to run head-on against third-party boot camps, which Cisco says are not up to par(you’ll be able to read more about Cisco’s thoughts on this in Network World’s IT Careers & Training newsletter on Wednesday). The program will be made available through select authorized Cisco Learning Partners and consist of pre-assessments, six online classes covering topics such as IPv6, QoS, Frame Relay, Border Gateway Protocol and switching, instructor-led workshops, practice labs and mentoring. The courses start at $5,000 but can reach to double-digits for the mentorship features.

—Read The Rest Here—

I received an “Inside Baseball” report about this program and how it was put together from a reliable source.  Cisco has been working on this program for awhile now.  The line about the program being “designed to run head-on against third-party boot camps, which Cisco says are not up to par” may be NetworkWorld editorializing a bit.  It looks like we’ll need to wait until the official announcement from Cisco tomorrow (I check the CCIE news page and there was nothing there today).  I think comparing a SIX MONTH Cisco training program against a (generally) ONE WEEK third-party vendor boot-camp is a bit of apples versus oranges.  Most CCIEvendors offer end-to-end study programs which (if you complete all of the labs/classes/mock labs) probably provide somewhere in the 6 month range.  Perhaps this is what Cisco is targeting.  To say that these courses are not “up to par” is strange considering the number of candidates that pass the lab utilizing these vendors’ products.

There is a podcast available on NetworkWorld which may shed more light on this program.  I’m popping on headphones as we speak (well…as I type and you read 🙂 ) and will update this post with anything of interest from the podcast.  I love you guys so much that I’m willing to sacrifice my lunch break for your benefit.  🙂  That’s a lie, I’m still going to take my lunch break….this is “research time”.  🙂



The podcast is less than 5 minutes so I didn’t need to sacrifice lunch.  🙂  Here are the interesting bits:

Cisco wants 3 million “skilled” networking individuals (worldwide) by 2012.  There are currently about 1 million.  I assume that this means Cisco certified individuals.  Cisco recently hit the 1 million Cisco certified individuals mark so this jives with the 1 million number quoted.  So Cisco wants to TRIPLE the number of Cisco certification holders over the next four years.

It’s a 6 month very intensive program that is personalized to every individual.  It’s very heavily based on assessment. The candidate is assessed on the front end to identify what is the current base of the candidate and what are the elements to be developed or reinforced. Based on that there is a personalized menu of options cutting across e-learning, in the classrooom training, hands-on practice, mentorship directly with experts – so a catalog of options that is then personalized for the candidate.

Because the methodology is so customizable prices range from $5,000 at the web-based extreme to $20,000 at the instructor-led extreme.

The initial curriculum is about Routing and Switching but Weiller expects additional technologies and even a professional-level track will be forthcoming.

The program was officially announced on October 14th with availability starting in November.

This is really only going to be an option for candidates with a lot of money or with employers willing to foot the bill.  Since the program begins in November of this year and runs for six months, we’re not going to see any results until the beginning of summer 2009.

There is an official announcement from Cisco concerning this program.  Unfortunately one of the links is broken and the other dumps you onto the Cisco Learning Network homepage.  Hopefully something “meatier” will surface tomorrow.


NetworkWorld ends their article with this bit:

It’s great that Cisco is working to help make it easier and quicker for individuals to become CCIEs but does this mass approach cheapen the CCIE brand?

Cheapen the CCIE brand?  I doubt it.  Even with the introduction of this program the average candidate still needs to pay a lot in both money and time to even have a shot at passing this difficult exam.  The average candidate needs to make an extreme commitment of time and money and may still need to make multiple attempts at a $1400 exam (with travel costs that can be upwards of 50% – 100% of that cost).  Unfortunately I can speak of this firsthand.  😦

What MAY happen is that see some of the 3rd party vendors fold up shop (at least within the CCIE sphere).  I think that the big hitters will still be around, but there will definitely be a number of candidates that will be using Cisco’s training program.  I see two primary reasons for this: 1) The Cisco logo, and 2) The Cisco logo.  🙂  Candidates are going to assume that since Cisco creates the exams that the training from Cisco will be much closer to the actual content of the exam.  Secondly, (and this bit depends on the structure of the program) employers will be far more inclined to spend training dollars with Cisco and may even be able to use Cisco Learning Credits and other cost-saving programs with this program.

The other issue that may arise from this program that could really hurt the third-party vendors is their opportunity to train Cisco employees.  IE mentioned that the weeks that you don’t see a class scheduled on their site are usually the weeks that they are training Cisco employees on a Cisco campus.  I spoke with a Cisco employee and he told me that IPexpert holds training at Cisco as well.  If Cisco discontinues third-party training for their employees then this would adversely affect the third-party vendors.  Of course, this program is only for the Routing and Switching track right now so there are plenty of training opportunities for the vendors with the other tracks.  The vendor that I spoke to did not seem too concerned about the upcoming change.

Interesting, the Cisco press release about this lists Bangalore, India alongside San Jose, Calif., in the date line. It’s only a matter of time before CCIEs in India outnumber CCIEs in the United States.

I don’t know how to feel about this comment.  NetworkWorld has made a number of comments (one example) about countries outside of the USA (particularly India) rising in prominence in the networking world.  This should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed Cisco over the past few years.  Cisco has repeatedly stated that their biggest growth area is outside of the USA.  India is a nation of a billion people with a tradition of placing high importance on science and engineering.  The USA is a country with less than a third of India’s population and (I don’t think that I’m being very controversial with this statement) a decided non-focus on science and engineering.  Unfortunately any mention of a rise in overseas training/certification coupled withthe economic downturn is going to lead to memories of the outsourcing scare of the late-90’s and early-00s.  I won’t pretend to be able to predict the future of networking, but India (and many other countries) have had a large number of trained networking professionals for years and I haven’t seen a large-scale move to outsource networking jobs.  Again, this is anecdotal so I could be completely wrong.  I do work with a number of foreign IT professionals who would love to move back to their home countries if there were more opportunities (even at substantially lower salaries) so this could be a boon for engineers in the USA.  Again, I’m outside of my element here so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Anyhoo…the CCIE training world is going to get interesting in the near future.

September 5, 2008

Internetwork Expert: IE Welcomes Anthony Sequeira Aboard

IE has made another trainer signing, this time it’s Anthony Sequeira.  Readers of GroupStudy as well as Cisco Press books will recognize Anthony’s name.

Internetwork Expert, Inc. a leader in providing Cisco CCIE Lab Exam training, announced today that Anthony Sequeira (CCIE # 15626) has joined the company as a CCIE Instructor.

Anthony brings 16 years of teaching, technical writing, and consulting experience to Internetwork Expert. In 1992 Anthony Sequeria began his career as an author and lecturer within the IT world. He has been actively providing top-rated Cisco Certification Training for the past 10 years and helped to found KnowledgeNet, a revolutionary online training company.

Anthony is the top selling author of many Cisco Press Books covering topics such as CCNA, CCVP, CCSP, and the CCIE. His immensely popular titles include CCVP CIPT2 Quick Reference, CCVP CIPT1 Quick Reference, CCNA Security Quick Reference, CCSP IPS Quick Reference, and CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Quick Reference: Exam 350-001. He received his Routing and Switching CCIE in 2006 and will work on both product development and training. Anthony will be joining Internetwork Expert’s leading CCIE instructor team led by five time CCIE Brian Dennis (CCIE # 2210), four time CCIEs Scott Morris (CCIE #4713) and Petr Lapukhov (CCIE #16379), and three time CCIE Brian McGahan (CCIE # 8593).

—Read The Rest Here—

August 27, 2008

Internetwork Expert: New Free V-Seminars Announced

Internetwork Expert has announced upcoming free V-Seminars:

Upcoming V-Seminars
CCIE Voice – Unity 4.0(5) September 2, 2008
CCIE Voice – H.323 Gatekeeper and Gateways September 4, 2008
CCIE Routing & Switching – Multicast September 5, 2008
CCIE Voice Workbook Volume II Kickoff September 12, 2008
CCIE Voice Workbook Volume II Lab 1 Breakdown September 20, 2008
CCIE Voice Workbook Volume II Lab 2 Breakdown September 27, 2008
CCIE Voice Workbook Volume II Lab 3 Breakdown October 4, 2008

This round is really voice heavy.  It’s interesting that IE is going to make the breakdown videos accessible for free.  I think that it is a good idea to have candidates ask questions during the breakdowns.

July 3, 2008

IPexpert: IPexpert Partners With Narbik Kocharians and Khawar Butt

It looks like the “offseason moves” are heating up in the CCIE training world.  Last week, Internetwork Expert signed Scott Morris from IPexpert.  Today, IPexpert has announced that they have partnered with two other big name in the CCIE training world: Narbik Kocharians and Khawar Butt.

IPexpert and Narbik Kocharians Join Forces

It is with great excitement that we reunite with Narbik Kocharians to offer the most incredible CCIE training value available anywhere! Narbik is a well-recognized triple-CCIE with an outstanding name in the CCIE training space, known for his unique style and magnetic personality.

With this partnership, you can get IPexpert’s CCIE R&S Blended Learning Solution and Narbik’s popular “Advanced CCIE R&S – Technology Focused” workbook together at a discounted price.

This gives you the perspective of different instructors’ ways of doing things.

Narbik is currently working to re-configure his labs to be compatible with the Proctor Labs online racks. That will allow you to use Proctor Labs for all of the materials you recieve; Narbik’s and IPexpert’s!

Narbik has joined the CCIE R&S community at Online Study List. This means you only need one place to go to collaborate and discuss the product you are using with your peers and the authors that wrote each product.

IPexpert and Netmetric Solutions Partnership

IPexpert is pleased to announce its partnership with Netmetric Solutions, led by the renowned Quad-CCIE, Khawar Butt.

With this exciting partnership, IPexpert and Netmetric Solutions will collaborate to ensure that the high standard they have set for quality CCIE Boot Camps is delivered across the globe! In the coming days, you will see IPexpert’s course schedule populated with Boot Camps available in the international locations listed above. Netmetric’s website will soon feature IPexpert’s course schedule as well. 

Several years ago, Khawar worked with IPexpert on a contract basis as a product developer and Boot Camp instructor. We collaborated to bring the first real training for the CCIE Security track to market. At that time, he was business partners with Narbik Kocharians in a training business based in California. A short time later, Khawar relocated to India and started Netmetric Solutions to deliver CCIE courses in that region.

It looks like IPexpert will be selling Narbik’s workbook and he will adapt that book to utilize the current IPexpert topology as well as providing support in IPexpert’s forum.  Khawar Butt will be teaching IPexpert classes overseas.

Who’s left on the waiver wire?  Is NetMasterClass going to sign Jeff Doyle?  🙂

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