This interview should be a dose of GREAT NEWS for those working toward the V4 R&S Lab.

On February 4th 2010 Divin John became CCIE #25905 on the FIRST attempt.

Divin, thanks for taking the time th share a bit about your success in the R&S lab.

What made you want to become a CCIE?
 I always wanted to know how the internet worked. I always wondered what are the missing blocks to the puzzle. So Hence after my graduation. I took up CCNA and CCNP training. I kind of wrote all 5 papers and got certified as a CCNP. By then the recession had struck and there were no jobs available. So I thought rather than wasting time searching for a job, I would start preparing for the CCIE Routing and Switching Track.
When did you start the journey?
 I started preparing for the lab in March 2009. That’s immediately after I got my CCNP certification.
What kind of study routine did you use?
 I used to read a lot. Routing protocols always interests me. And I made it a point to read the entire blueprint couple of times. Making sure I got all nitty-gritty details on the technology being read.
Did you take an earlier version of the lab? If so, how would you compare the previous version to the current version?
Nope. This was my first attempt at the CCIE RS Lab. I have heard that the lab is become more real world than the previous version. It involves a decent amount of troubleshooting which requires presence of mind and knowing the technology well. You won’t be able to troubleshoot something, if you aren’t very clear about the protocol specifics and its interaction with other protocols.
What materials did you use? What was your impression of the materials?
-> Cisco Press Books
Routing TCP/IP Volume I [Brilliant]
Routing TCP/IP Volume II [Brilliant]
CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide [Good, Easy to Revise.]
MPLS Fundamentals [Nice Book with all the configuration snippets. But I hear MPLS Configuration on Cisco IOS Software is a better book. Never got the time to read it though.]
Vendor Workbooks
INE Vol 1 (Advanced Technology Labs) – The thing i like about these are. They cover everything needed for the lab. The explanations are nice and to the point. They kind of let the student know WHY? HOW? And WHAT IF? to all the questions. It did answer all the questions which popped in my mind.
INE Vol II (Full Scale Labs – 8hr) – Humongous labs. Full fledged labs. It was scary initially. But after a few labs it kind of became methodical. And there were some questions in there, which sent my confidence to the graves. But all in all… a very good product.
INE Vol IV (Troubleshooting Labs) – What can I say?  Good product but its highly unrealistic. To troubleshoot these you need to know every bit of information that goes into the working of any protocol.
INE Core Knowledge Simulator – Thanks to Anthony Sequeira. I kinda got this added to my INE account. It helped me a great lot in my Core Knowledge section of the CCIE Lab.
How does it feel now that you have passed?
How should it feel? It feels great. Being 1 in 21000 odd people is great. It feels great when the hard work pays off. 

Do you have any words of wisdom for those studying for the lab?
Learn the protocols. Tabulate what could go wrong. Steps needed to solve a problem. You should practice NOT to panic in the lab. One panic attack and your 2 hrs will fly by and you would have paid for THE most costly lunch. The lab is doable. So you shouldn’t get deterred by what people say. Have self confidence. In the end of the day, if they are going to screw something in the IGPs, and you have mastered all the IGPs, you should breeze through the TS section.  The same logic applies to all protocols. Give importance to every topic on the blue-print.

Are you going to work toward another track?
Yeah I am. I am planning for either Security or Voice. I haven’t made up my mind. Voice mostly. Let’s see what how everything plays out. J
Best of Luck to everyone preparing for the CCIE Routing and switching (v4). Hope you get all those !!!!