CCIE, My Story


It’s been a year and a few months since i become CCIE certified, and i always had the idea to share my little journey with you all believing that every CCIE story is always worth telling.

CCIE, My Story is the post i wanted the most , it is a bit long, but i couldn’t do less to tell all the story.

The Idea behind CCIE :

Since the beginning of my career, I was interested in Cisco Certification, so I took CCNA and succeeded, and then a year and a half after I got my CCNP. So I started preparing CCIE and i got it … just kidding, the one idea of CCIE scares me to the bones, makes me think a lot and at the same time excites me.

It took me two months of thinking before I could find the path, clear the questions in my head and push the start button:

  • If it doesn’t scare me then I’m fooling myself.
  • if it doesn’t excite me then it doesn’t worth passing it.
  • and above all this was like a dream , a real one. (if its not a dream for you … you know ).
  • And this is how it start, I had a clear path, a clear Idea , a dream : I will become a CCIE.

The Choice Of CCIE Track :

This one was quiet easy for me for one reason: I worked from the beginning of my career with a Service Provider, I had a good background of SP related technologies so CCIE Service Provider was the best choice for me . See , Easy ;)

The Preparation:

Since I had a good background on SP Stuff, I should only put things in an organized way. So I started by identifying the topics I know well, the ones I should revise and the other unknown topics for me.

I setup a table and started a check list and started the real work.

The Writing exam was quiet forward, I studied for I guess 4 months, and I took it with success on September 2013. A good start, the clock is on, I had 18 months to take the LAB!

To focus on preparation, I needed time, unfortunately the first time I started preparing for the LAB, it was a disaster, because of work load those days. So I put preparation aside and get back to my projects at work.

The second time was better, my Manager is a CCIE too and know what is needed to keep focus. So we made an agreement to have a full 3 months free of works just for the lab. Thanks K.B.

I started on March 2014 and it was really amazing, Everyday CCIE stuffs, technologies explained, books reading, INE Videos and a lot of hands on Labs.

I start early the morning (8am) and finish by the start of the evening and get relaxed by night reading few stuffs and revising notes I took during the day.

That worked for me, for the 1st month at least and I did all INE Lab Workbook, and I decided to take my preparation to the next level and work on INE bigger labs (full scale Lab) to test myself.

This was like an earthquake for me: I start struggling, had some simulation limitation and saw my motivation decreased. While doing a Lab, I couldn’t focus more than one hour and I let down , but worse than all it took me 2 days to get back to work … I was in game of mind again and I should fight myself and win to keep forward.

Happily, people around me (my wife, my parents) keep me motivated. I found quickly solutions to the issues and get back to labs.

This Rocky Balboa speech helps me a lot too, very touching and motivational.  if you are preparing for CCIE you’ll know what i mean :

During this period I found a seat in Brussels in the 1st of September. It is done the LAB is scheduled and the date is known, I started to feel the stress growing up. I was on the 3rd months of preparation, and I feels good but there’s still time ahead. I called my manager again and called to his kindness to expand the period. He agreed (thanks again K.B) and told me I had no excuse to fail LoL.

The last month of preparation was the best. A military routine, starting from 8am to 5pm, doing 8hours of labs with 30min lunch break.

During this month I didn’t only practiced technical stuff and QWERTY keyboard, but also time management and stress control. I had to pass 8 Hours on keyboard without feeling tired or stressed. The last week I didn’t touch anything like labs, I only revised what I’ve done so far and hoped for the Best.

The Trip to Brussels :

The trip to Brussels was a great one. I planned everything with a strict schedule. I took the flight on the 29 of August 2014 (a Friday) to Brussels Airport (Zaventem Airport).

I found the free shuttle to NH Brussels Airport hotel where I booked. This hotel was very close to Cisco Office (5min) and also in front of Diegem Station to get to the City in 15min.


I had the chance to take a tour of Brussels with a friend the next day (Thanks Y.B). I spent the early evening in revision and had Jacuzzi night (I found it by luck at the hotel).

The Sunday 31 August 2014 was remarkable for me, I did the CCIE Walk Guys!!!! I walked the path that many CCIE has taken, I was there and it was real … in head it was “oh my god look there’s Cisco’s Office, oh look there’s TAC Office … and here it is the famous Bridge” … I was just …. Happy .. and I took a selfie LoL


The Exam Day :

The next day September 1st, I woke up at 6:30 am took a shower, had a good breakfast feeled stressed a bit I turned on the TV I guess what I heard this very motivating song : Hall of Fame … unbelievable …. The words were like destined to me , and believe it or not this songs kills all the stress. I snapped my face twice and hit it to the exam center. This time I did the real CCIE Walk, with a clear mind a great motivation. I arrived early and found 2 other candidate for CCIE. We exchanged some words together. The door is open a nice lady to us to registration office. We had stickers to put on us and she leads us to a small rest area where we took coffe.

The proctor arrived 15min after that, and told us to follow him to exam room. He did a 5min briefing show us our seats, the toilet and knocks the ring to start (there’s actually no ring) with those words “you can start the CCIE exam”

Let’s go, 8 hours of exam. Eating every single question and practicing everything I taught Durant my whole career.

After 4 hours precisely the proctor told us that we’ll have a break for lunch, I didn’t want to eat a lot , so took fries and Coke.

Back to exam room, I prepared a big cup of coffee and hit it to my seat.

When the exam is done the proctor thanks us all and explained that we will get the result in the next 8 hours. I get out from Cisco Office and took the train to the city to change ideas. I didn’t want to think about the score, the result or anything, I was happy just make it so far. I wanted to succeed but I wasn’t sacred it was a moment of peace after the exam.

5 hours after the exam, I got an email notifying me that the exam result is ready. I didn’t hesitate to click the link and waited for the web page to load … moment of truth … still hopping for the best … and Boom the page is loaded and here we are … “PASS….” It is all I read the first time the rest didn’t matter …. I was full of joy, screaming all over the hotel room… I get back to the page and see again and I saw it “CCIE Certified Number 44636” … it’s done, my journey has to come to his end.

Back to my country the next day, I got the most beautiful gift from my wife and my friends in a evening full of emotions, full of happiness.


Many Thanks and gratitude  :

I would like to thanks my lovely wife for the sacrifices she made during my ccie preparation, it was our first year of marriage and I knew we’ve been through some stormy days but she stayed very helpful, comprehensive and supporting all the way on. I love you Sweety.

My gratitudes to my parents, my brother and my sister and my sister in law to their support.

For my teammate for taking all my work load while I was preparing and for their kind words.

For my Manager for his great help by allowing time and sharing his own experience.

For all my friends especially from the ones of Poets Coffe who keep saying “don’t worry, you’ll get it”

Final thoughts :

At last I need to share few thought of mine about CCIE :

  • Prepare well for the LAB Exam, not only the technical level but also time management and stress control.
  • It is a monster indeed, but even Mario beats Bowser ;)
  • Believe in yourself and you will get it
  • Always keep a good level of motivation.
  • Know why you are doing it.
  • And last thing: Focus on the days you are living this journey, the most amazing is the journey not the destination.




CCIE Service Provider #44636

22 Responses to CCIE, My Story

  1. Firdaous bennani belmekki dit :

    love you more and more everyday.. I’m so blessed to be able to wake up next to are an amazing husband, father & best friend I’m so proud of the man you have become… i m a proud wife of a wonderful husband keep going hamouda & never give up ;)

  2. Driss dit :

    Lovely story :p

    Keep going

  3. Mohamed Elaidi dit :

    Good job Tawfik, all the best for the future and thanks for sharing this … !

  4. Jerome dit :

    Wonderful!!! :)

  5. Freestyle dit :

    Thanks…keep going

  6. Khaz dit :

    Had chi Zine 3andak … Felicitations et D3i M3ana :)

  7. Antony dit :

    Nice one.I am also working for the same dream that u archived. :)

  8. Elyasid dit :

    Thank you so much Taoufik for your story.
    I have a big dream: become a Network Enginner with a CCIE or CCAr certification.
    Thanks to you, I’m more motivated to become it and, as a Moroccan, I’m proud to have a compatriot like you.
    Thank you so much!

  9. Steve dit :

    Congrats Taoufik! All of us who have past this bear of a test have similar stories, haha! The preparation, the struggles, the stress and ultimately victory! That Rocky speech is awesome.

    • Admin dit :

      Hahaha, thanks buddy, all those elements that i mentinned before , those are the little things that makes this journey special. Otherwise, it’s just an exam.

  10. Tony Leding dit :

    Congratulations on the PHENOMENAL ACHIEVEMENT. I’ve been doing internetworking for over 20 years and yet to try my CCIE – it is on the TODO list however.

    AWESOME job…now for CCIE #2 you’re gonna choose??? J\K

  11. Hugo Martinez dit :

    Good story.

    Never give up. You can do it !!! BE CONFIDENT !!!!

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