Multiple Certifications Set the Pace in this Environment
In hopes of reaching the benchmark set by colleagues, Jim Shupe doggedly pursues his second CCIE.
Jim Shupe is a Network Engineer for Wachovia Bank in Charlotte, North Carolina. He enjoys what he does, spending his days implementing customer requirements for connectivity and design solutions. Being a CCIE is not a requirement in his position, nor is it a prerequisite for him to advance within his organization. So why then would he choose to spend so many long hours studying and practicing for the CCIE Security lab—particularly when he already holds a CCIE in the Routing and Switching track?
“I have to keep up with the pace, so to speak,” Jim says, referring to the fact that some of his colleagues are double CCIEs—in both the Routing and Switching and Security tracks.
And one might argue ‘keeping up with the pace’ is what got Jim started on his path to earning his CCIE in the first place. “I had some CCIE friends before I was even in the computer network arena,” he says. “The more they told me [passing the CCIE exam] was a challenge, and how few CCIEs there were—it was something I just had to try.”
"[When you enter] the secure RTP lab there’s this big CCIE logo, the hum of the machines, and all these official-acting proctors . . . It creates a psychological pressure that I think contributes to the high failure rate."
Try he did—five times in all on the Routing and Switching lab before he finally passed in July 2003. And now he is back at it again, already having attempted the Security lab four times, though so far coming up short. “[When you enter] the secure RTP lab there’s this big CCIE logo, the hum of the machines, and all these official-acting proctors,” Jim reflects. “It creates a psychological pressure that I think contributes to the high failure rate. And I experienced the same thing this time around.”
None of this seems to phase Jim though and he is already thinking ahead to his next attempt and considering where he can improve. “I have to think back through it and see where I went wrong,” he says. “I may need to focus some special attention on Security Appliance material.” But even these unsuccessful lab attempts have been valuable to his lab preparation. For instance he notes, “You have to be very careful about the order in which you do things. You really have to think it out. And reading the whole exam before you begin isn’t just a suggestion—it’s a requirement.” Sound advice from this CCIE lab veteran, whose tenacity and determination to ‘keep up with the pace’ may just see him through to a second CCIE.