It’s been a long time since i posted a CCIE-sec candidate interview and what better way to start things off again other than an AWESOME interview with CCIE instructor “Brandon Carroll”.
I was fortunate enough to interview Brandon regarding a while back and because of a lot of reasons i got held up doing my own stuff and i couldn’t post it. However, i felt it was about time i posted this article and i’m sure you’ll enjoy this as much as i do. So here we go!
TacACK : Hello Brandon! How are you doing today?
I’m doing well. I’m working on a number of projects and getting ready for TechFieldDay so its a pretty busy week.
TacACK : For the few CCIE-sec candidates who do not know about Brandon, he’s a CCIE(Security) and a CCSI. Brandon, could you please tell us a little about your CCIE(sec) preparation?
Sure thing. I’ve been an instructor with a security focus for a number of years. I teach all the CCSP, now CCNP Security, courses and that was my initial primary preparation method. I used the knowledge gained there, along with the CCIE Security Written Exam Guide by CCBootcamp to pass the written. I then used a combination of INE and IPexpert material for the lab. I own all the workbooks from both vendors as well as the Audio products and Video Products. I took a 5-day online class from INE and a 5-day live Instructor-led class from IPexpert. My instructor at INE was Brian Mcgahn and my instructor at IPexpert was Jared Scrivener. Bot were great instructors.
TacACK : Did you clear the lab on your first attempt? If not , what do you think was missing in your prep?
No I didnt. The frist time I took the lab was more of a test run to see how it was. I had no formal training and was in way over my head. I simply had no time to learn about stuff I had not seen prior to that lab. The second attempt was after the INE class and I was well prepared for the technology but had no strategy. The final attempt was after the IPexpert class and I had the perfect strategy and without it I would not have passed.
TacACK : For many candidates (including me) , who couldn’t pass the CCIE on their first attempt, what would your advice to them be? What is the one or many “special” thing(s) that we have to study/lab to cross the hurdle?
Have a plan and stick with it. Its easy to get sidetracked when you get nervous and frustrated. If you say you will only spend 10 minutes on a task you MUST move on, even if you will need to come back to it later. Just stick with the plan. Also, your life should be spent on the racks. You should be dreaming about the lab before you go to the lab. It sounds goofy, but thats how it is.
TacACK : Haha I know a good friend of mine ( Ryan Schuett ) has dreams about configurations! Alright, now coming to the OEQs. Are there any pointers that you could give us regarding prep for them?
Use Yusufs flash cards. Other than that, if you know your material they OEQs are a non-issue.
TacACK : What according to you are the most difficult/tricky sections in the CCIE(sec) blueprint?
The ones you don’t know well. It varies by the person. For me, it was probably DMVPN troubleshooting. I think FPM is giving people a run for their money along with GET VPN and multicast rekeying. Its all fun stuff though!
TacACK : What changes do you see in the near-future in the CCIE(sec) track?
At the moment, not much. Eventually IOS 15 will need to be introduced along with ASA 8.3 and IPS 7 or 8. Depending on when things change. I cant see much in the way of technology being added unless more focus if give to datacenter security which I doubt. Cisco has been in a bit of a lull with Security in general and i think that drives what the program does.
TacACK : What do you feel is the #1 mistake that CCIE(sec) candidates make?
They overthink some things and underthing others. You have to find a balance. Yes you only do what you are told, but you better think about what is affected by what you change.
TacACK : That’ s a tough one. I have the same problem. Ok moving onto more lighter things, what is your daily schedule like?
Basically I’m up at 6 or so, sometimes earlier. I spend about an hour reviewing email, twitter, facebook and so on. If I’m teaching a class its basically start teaching at 8:30, lecture / break/ email/ read RSS feeds/ Start a new blog post. At lunch I typicall schedule all my conference calls or I read and lab.When students are doing labs so am I.After work I hang out with my kids a bit, read some more, blog some more, lab some more.I head to bed around midnight every day.
TacACK : On an average, how much time do you spend reading everyday?
I couldn’t even guess. I read off and on all day long and its usually multiple sources, books, blogs, etc.
TacACK : What are the 5 things that you recommend every CCIE(sec) candidate to do
Read, Lab, Listen to VoD and Audio, Rest, and take at least one class with a live instructor
TacACK : That’s great advice Brandon! Thanks a lot for the interview , where can one reach you if they wanted to talk to you/take some of your classes?
Im on twitter @brandoncarroll, of my blog at http://www.globalconfig.net. You can find my contact info there for links to facebook, linkedin and so on.
TacACK : Again, thanks a lot for the interview Brandon. I really appreciate this and i bet so will all the CCIE(sec) candidates who read this!
Thank you! I appreciate being able to assist people in their journey to CCIE!
Wasn’t that a great interview! One thing i absolutely admire in Brandon and many other CCIE instructors is the fact that , despite their hectic schedules, they still keep aside time to talk to their students and answer their questions patiently. I guess that’s the difference between an instructor who is good and an instructor who is just plain Awesome. Brandon definitely falls into the latter category!