Interview With Jeremy Filliben CCIE, CCDE

With a low CCIE number, #3851, you have seen the lab change quite a bit over the years. Tell us about the lab when you passed it.

When I took the lab, it was still a two-day affair.  Well, 3.5 days for me.  On my first attempt I made it through 1.5 days before I lost too many points to continue.  I was successful on my second attempt.  Back then (1998) I was able to retake the exam within three months of having failed.  I could have done it as quickly as 30 days, but my schedule didn’t allow it.  Many technologies have dropped off the exam (DLSW+, RSRB, Decnet, Appletalk, IPX) and several have come and gone since.  I remember being in a bit of a rush to complete the certification process before ATM and a significant amount of switching were introduced.

What was around for CCIE lab practice when you first passed the lab?

I was able to take a one day CCDE practice lab that was offered by Chesapeake Computer Consultants.  I don’t think anyone else offered a prep class.  I studied the IOS 11.2 Configuration Guides.  I don’t think I owned the Doyle book or any other resources.
What do you think of the evolution of the CCIE lab and where it is now.
I think the CCIE team is doing a good job of balancing the market demand for the CCIE certification with the need to keep it difficult enough to weed out those who should not hold the cert.  I have a high degree of confidence that most CCIEs deserve the certification.  I was initially concerned that the one-day lab would be too easy, but that does not seem to be the case.

How did you prepare for the CCDE?

A lot of reading!  I read numerous Cisco Press books, including Optimal Routing Design, BGP Design & Implementation and Definitive MPLS Designs.  There were many others too, which I’ve tried to list on my blog.  The most important thing to do to prepare for the CCDE is to work in the industry for a significant amount of time.  When I passed I had 13 years of experience, including ten years as a CCIE.

What would you recommend for CCDE study methods?

There are several week-long classroom offerings available now.  I was fortunate enough to be able to teach a couple of those classes for a Cisco Learning Partner.  I can’t say with certainty that classroom-based offerings are effective in preparing for the exam, but I believe they are helpful.  Aside from that, I would certainly recommend reading as many of the recommended books as possible.  Some should be read multiple times, as the reader will pick up different information over time.
I see that you teach a CCDE lab class and offer some CCDE training materials – tell us about the class and your other offerings. How they can help CCDE candidates.
I no longer teach the class due to a lack of time in my schedule.  At this point my only contribution to CCDE preparation is my periodic CCDE Practice Exam offerings.  I one Enterprise-based exam and one Service Provider-based exam.  Each exam consists of twenty questions and accompanying reading material.  My goal is to simulate as closely as possible the experience of taking the CCDE practical exam.  Participants are given the exam materials and given a day or two to complete the exam (total time should be one to two hours).  After completing the exam the participants and I get together on a Webex conference to discuss the correct answers and where in the text to find the necessary information to answer correctly.  The exams cover the types of questions found on the exam and simulates the level of difficulty of the real exam.
I also provide participants with up-to-date information on the actual exam, including an overview of the scenario types and the technologies covered on the exam.

Thanks Jeremy for taking to time to do this interview. Congratulations on the new job!!!

Larry Hadrava
CCIE #12203

Scott Morris Launches New Training Initiative

Scott Morris, CCIEx4, CCDE, JNCIEx2, CISSP to Launch Nova Datacom Education Services Offering

Complementary Open House to Include Training Sessions by Morris and other Noted Instructors


Chantilly, VA – February 1, 2011:  Nova Datacom, LLC, a provider of information technology services to the public and private sectors and a CompTIA Authorized Partner, a Cisco Learning Partner and a Cisco360 (CCIE) Learning Partner, today announced the upcoming launch of their Education Services offering, spearheaded by Scott Morris, Nova Datacom’s Chief Technologist, and partner Learning Tree International.  Scheduled for February 16th, in Chantilly, VA, this one day event will allow attendees to meet with Morris and his team, attend sample training sessions, and familiarize themselves with the offered curriculum.

 A well-known figure in the IT industry for over 25 years, Scott Morris, CCIEx4, CCDE, JNCIEx2, CISSP and Cisco Designated VIP, has fulfilled a number of roles within both the public and private sectors. As a Certified Cisco Systems Instructor (CCSI) and Juniper Networks Certified Instructor (JNCI), Scott has provided world-renowned CCIE training since 2002. He has delivered courses to a wide variety of audiences including internal training at Cisco Systems.

 Offering formal classroom instruction with full lab and NOC, or on-site worldwide, Nova Datacom, under the direction of Morris, will offer a variety of training curriculums to satisfy a broad range of requirements.  Additionally, Morris concentrated on recruiting top level instructors to provide unparalleled course delivery.

 “I’ve selected instructors who maintain a wide area of consulting and training experience to best present information as it relates to specific customer environments,” noted Morris. “Combining this deep knowledge with the ability to operate in both classified and unclassified environments allows our team to be even more effective at conducting training sessions that address specific security concerns, current vulnerability gaps, and pressing mission critical requirements- conveniently located where our customers need it most.”

 Additional instructors include Marvin Greenlee  (CCIEx3, CCDP, JNCISx3, CISSP) and Keith Barker (CCIEx2, CISSP, and Cisco Designated VIP).

 With 15+ years experience in the IT industry, Greenlee has been instrumental in the development and delivery of high-level technical training courses for live and online classes. Likewise, Barker, with 25+ years in the IT industry, has been involved with the creation and delivery of training in classroom and large audiences since 1995.  

 Sample training courses to be presented at the Open House were designed by Morris and his team specifically to showcase their ability to target courseware to specific topics of interest.  Sessions include:

 Subnetting and Binary Math for IPv4 and IPv6: A review of subnetting techniques and how to best identify appropriate configurations in both IPv4 and IPv6 networks. Practical and designed examples given.

 Multifactor Authentication: Maintaining confidentiality is critical for a secure network. In this lesson we will learn about multi-factor authentication, as well the strengths, weaknesses and best practice for each.

 BGP Attributes and Path Selection: When using BGP for Inter-Autonomous System routing, it is important to know the features and attributes that allow for manipulation of path selection. If studying for certifications, this will also help in choosing the right solution for abstract problems given to you in practical labs.

 Understanding MPLS for the Routing & Switching Engineer (CCIE Focus):  A new method of thinking and moving information around the network, as largely adopted by service providers around the world.  Session breaks down the concepts and demonstrates network effects. Includes demonstrating how a CCIE candidate identify, implement and work through any scenario in a short period of time.

 If you would like to attend the Open House, please register at

 Or click the link to register for the Open House from ‘s homepage.



About Nova Datacom:

Nova Datacom (NDC) M/WBE 8(a) provides solutions that expand, improve, and strengthen client capabilities to satisfy mission assurance objectives. Focused on four practice areas, Business Continuity (BCEP); Information Assurance; Governance, Risk, and Compliance; and Enterprise Networking, NDC provides expert-level expertise and proven past performance across multiple technology segments to the public and private sectors.

 NDC’s approach combines operational planning, budget optimization and cutting-edge security measures to provide a solid framework for daily operations that withstand disruption. We accomplish this through continual training and vendor agnostic technology expertise resulting in a team of the best minds in the IT community.

 SBA-Certified 8(a), SBD, Minority Woman-Owned | Nova Datacom: Security is in our DNA

 About Learning Tree International

Learning Tree International sets the world standard for hands-on management and IT training. Since 1974, over 2 million Learning Tree Course participants from over 65,000 organizations around the world have enhanced their skills through intensive hands-on exercises under the guidance of expert instructors with real-world experience.

Jeremy Filliben’s CCDE Practice Lab

I wanted to share my experience with one of Jeremy Filliben’s (CCDE #20090003) CCDE practice lab offerings. Jeremy offers both an enterprise and service provider practice lab. To start out, I opted for the enterprise version.

As advertised, I received the materials via email. When I opened the files I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was information on the practical test that I was not able to glean from any one other source. Jeremy did a great write up on the lab itself and the framework of the subjects that will be tested. He was able to help me understand a bit of the “method to the madness”.

The actual lab example was very well written and crafted in such a way to really make you think like the actual lab requires.  To fully comprehend the lab example requires an in depth understanding of the suite of items listed in the blueprint. I was surprised how much of the blueprint that could be covered in this single example.

Jeremy follows up the written materials with a review of the practical lab itself, some important things to know about the test and of course we went over the lab example line by line. During this review, I was able to really get a feel for what this beast of an exam would be doing to my brain.

I will say that after getting this understanding of what this exam is requiring, I have to agree with some others who have said that they didn’t think that a single class or bootcamp could give you everything that is needed to pass this exam. I believe that classes can definitely HELP with ones preparation, specifically with understanding the structure of the exam, but the onus is definitely on the candidate to take the time to learn and understand the technologies in the blueprint to the level that is required. Practical experience in the design, implementation and troubleshooting of networks is something that I feel is absolutely required to be successful in the CCDE track.

I can highly recommend to those that are on the CCDE journey to give Jeremy’s labs a try. The understanding of the test that I now have has made me reevaluate my preparation strategy and make adjustments to be better prepared.

More information of Jeremy’s CCDE practice materials can be found on his blog.

For Jeremy’s preparation study plans for both the CCDE written and practical check here.


Larry Hadrava
CCIE #12203

Emans Predictions for 2011


No this is not like Back to the Future.  It is just a note on how I think 2011 is going to turn out.  Nostradamus reaches out this way in time from a long time ago.  He issued his predictions from a different easy chair and different vantage point.  But I will try, just by using the contacts I have in the industry and the conversations with many people heading initiatives as they begin their own safaris to bag the elusive CCIE.

The future for CCIEs is bright

There is going to continue to be a strong demand for them from the Cisco Channel Partners in fact it is going to increase and drive up salaries for these certified professionals in the USA and abroad.  Yes the demand from other sectors will compete with Cisco resellers more heavily than in the past. Government agencies in UAE and KSA have joined in the chorus of those asking for help from my team in locating CCIEs.  In the USA similarly, government projects have been attracting different flavors of them and from the UK and Afghanistan we see demand rising.  Part of the problem is that most recruiting has been done by folks who are not technical enough to find a Network professional.  It is easier for them to believe that the technologies are some voodoo mumbo jumbo.  This translates into companies asking for the CCIE certification rather than the person who best fills the role.  I predict that we will see more technology people in recruiting slots helping hiring managers select qualified staff regardless of certification.  But the CCIE legend continues to grow as the emerging markets for Cisco grow.

New Year’s Eve is the best night of the year

I don’t know of any other evening where so many people float their hope on a threshold of time.  It seems that from North, South, East and West a sea of humanity waits on the edge of their collective seats for a breath of hope to stir from the clock.  In NYC everyone knows there is a collection of crazies pressed into a small place for a simple ritual.  They are prevented from drinking by the collection of law enforcement officers assembled and the bar curfew in affect in Times Square.  Yet they still come undaunted by weather or the economy or the proximity to the many thousands of others assembled there.

The Ball Drop

By the time midnight arrives in NYC it has already swept across the East.  In Orkney the “ba” has either been taken by the Doonies or the Uppies, the Greeks have had their Vasilopita, and of course we already know Nowruz was celebrated in March for the year 1389 !نوروز تان مبارک The rituals according to the Gregorian New Year, begin in (of all places) the Christmas Islands where the first New Year’s Eve begins and ends.  The hand of time sweeps across the globe until finally 24 hours later Pago Pago sees both of Mickey’s hands pointing above his head.

What does this mean to you?

I predict that the jobless recovery is at its end.  Yes I will go on a limb and predict the jobs are going to spread as spending for IT resources renews.  We have seen reserved and conservative spending before.  Remember after Y2K?  Large 1999 budget expenditures created a backlash in IT spending for a long time.  Well here we are at the end of a long period of jobless prosperity and the purses are opening up in 2011.

In Greece we will watch an exodus of CCIEs similar to the one we saw in Detroit and Iceland.  But the light at the end of the tunnel will show in six months or so for those able to weather the storm and recovery will come slow.  Turkey will act as a magnet for CCIEs in their region.  Egyptian CCIEs will continue to be in big demand as a community.

The population of women CCIEs will grow by leaps and bounds as they continue to take on the challenge of CCIE certification.  The original bunch of CCIEs is retiring and the second generation is aging so the current generation has a chance of setting a different balance in the future.  A welcome site in many enterprises will be the women of networking.

For the team here at CCIE Agent, Ltd we are growing because there is only so much we can do as a small team.  Virtual is good for many but within the CCIE community remaining a physical presence is what works best.  Our clients and our network will benefit best from this effort because CCIEs deserve the best representation they can find.  We remain the best representatives for CCIEs globally.

So in all I see the light at the end of the tunnel has reached us before 2012 when I will share my predictions on the demise of our planet!


Happy New Year and let’s go back to 2011!


Thanks To All That Are Making This Blog A Success!!!

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 28 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 38 posts. There were 2 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 347kb.

The busiest day of the year was September 22nd with 464 views. The most popular post that day was BIG NEWS – NARBIK, SCOTT & EMAN JOIN FORCES!!!.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for roman rodichev, petr lapukhov, roman rodichev ccie, ccie jobs in usa, and oeq waiver.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


2 comments and 1 Like on,


Interview with 6x CCIE Roman Rodichev!!!! December 2009




R&S December 2009



Jeremy Filliben CCDE Practical Offering for 2011

January CCDE Practice Exams

Last month I presented my first CCDE practice exams to the public.  The offering was a success, and two of the participants went on the take the November CCDE Practical Exam.  Both indicated that the offering was a great help for their preparation.

Upcoming CCDE Practice Exams

Registration is now open for these practice exams in January 2011.  The Enterprise exam will be delivered to participants on Wednesday, January 5th.  The review session is scheduled for Saturday, January 8th @ 9am EST.  The Service Provider exam will be delivered to participants on Wednesday, January 12th and the review will take place on Saturday, January 15th @ 9am EST.  One item of feedback I received from the initial offering was that it would be nice to have more time between the practice exams and the real exam.  This schedule gives candidates four weeks to digest the information and reach out to me for follow-up guidance before taking the exam on February 15th.  I was also asked to move the review sessions to the weekend to accommodate busy work schedules.  If you are interested in the offering, but the dates listed above do not work for you, let me know.  We can work to find an alternate date/time to complete the review session.

The Registration pages for this offering can be found at:

Enterprise Exam

Service Provider Exam

Combo (Both exams at a discounted cost)

Please email me with any questions you may have (   As before, the first hour of the review session will include my presentation and an open discussion on the CCDE Practice Exam (format, testing experience, future developments).  The CCDE program is constantly being updated, and I do my best to keep this information up to date.  Former CCDE Practice Exam participants are invited to join this session to receive updated information.


Other News

I regret to announce that I will not be teaching the upcoming live CCDE Practical Bootcamp offered by CCBootcamp.  After reviewing my work/life balance for 2010, and my already full professional calendar for 2011, I cannot find the time to participate in this program.  I wish CCBootcamp the best of luck with their CCDE training.  I am confident that they will find a wonderful instructor to take my place.


CCIE Recruitment and Placement

The CCIE community for years before the beginning of the CCIE Agent’s efforts was treated with little regards or respect.  In fact back in 2007 and 2008 the salary surveys were underreporting CCIE salaries because little contact was actually being made with most of them.  There was a demand for them which had been building, yet wages, quality of life, training and incentives were treated as if the CCIE was no different than a Microsoft professional. 


There was a healthier economy for one thing and recruiters could focus on harvesting whatever low hanging fruit was out there.  So they chose to recruit what was easiest to place in IT, developers, database and server admins and any flavor the client asked for in any given week.  Like some lowland gorillas lulling in the sun they got lazy.  Then the economy started to change and the job of recruitment became hard work.  The IT jobs began to dry up and with this change came the knowledge that some companies like Cisco were still making a profit.  As many of the small and large shops began to die CCIE Agent™, Ltd experienced a time of growth. 

Sourcing and recruiting CCIEs seems to have become a fad these days and with that fad comes a string of companies trying to shift their focus to the requirement that existed all along right under their noses.  Yet knowing how to spell CCIE and knowing CCIEs are two very different things.  The need for help in educating the highest demand sector for networking professionals became a priority for the CCIE Agent™ team.  This is why the journey began for Eman the CCIE Agent™. 

The history is fun and has been quite a ride for the best known recruiter in the world.

Back in 2007 when the first CCIE Agent™ initiatives began they followed on the heels of the single minded focus Eman brought to his newly found profession, recruiting.  Recruiting was an incidental need in previous management roles so he had learned the ins and outs of IT recruiting as the demand fluctuated from season to season.  But there was a reoccurring discussion coming from his clients about network engineers and the need to provide these professionals to them for projects and to join their staffs.  As the TAC manager for Bell Atlantic Eman had helped develop and hire one of the largest pools of CCIEs in the early days of the program.  Since there was no organized training easily available he helped his team develop a lab and a mentoring program.  This became a very successful program within the organization and many of the company’s network and telecomm engineers were lining up to use the lab and to connect with a mentor.

It was no stretch to return to that CCIE focus. 

With a history that started with the Top Gun program and the new CCIE program back in the 1990s it was a simple task to see that the CCIE community was under-represented and poorly regarded.  So Eman began to help the CCIE community with the first CCIE salary survey that was responded to directly by CCIEs from around the world.  His suspicion was that wages were under reported and might be depressing the offers CCIEs were receiving.  Previous surveys at the time claimed $108k as the average salary.  Yet offers in the Eastern USA were commonly much higher.  So after the CCIE Agent™ survey was completed Eman published the figures and discovered that in the USA the average was $120k, a vast difference from the surveys that used hiring managers and HR representatives for the details.

The CCIE Flyer was launched in 2008 and grew to become the largest single effort to provide CCIE information to the community and those interested in retaining CCIEs.  The new focus and announcement that an agent was available to the CCIE, one who did not function as a recruiter stirred interest from many sectors.  It was about this time that Cisco started an effort to provide the Channel Partner resellers with sources for hiring talent to assist in their growth.  There are many companies that do recruitment and the typical tactics included poaching and bait-and-switch techniques which left many resellers in need of help.  The Strategic Recruitment Program (SRS) was developed by a new team at Cisco.

The SRS program rules were simple; provide the best in-class recruiting firms to the Channel Partners while ensuring quality and integrity.  The highest demand for CCIEs come from the Cisco Channel Partners so it was logical to try and secure the services of the best known and only recruiter solely focused on CCIE staffing.  The CCIE Agent™ was asked to consider the new initiative.  Eman was asked to do two things to begin with;

1-start recruiting CCIEs for the Cisco reseller community only

2-no more poaching CCIEs from one channel to another

What this meant was Eman had to give up clients that were not supporting the sales of Cisco solutions and that he would not Actively Recruit out of the channels.

No Brainer!

The salary survey taught the CCIE Agent™ a couple of things and the most significant was that the Channel Partners paid the best average wages of all companies interested in hiring CCIEs.  It was not a hard decision and the CCIE Agent™ became one of the first to be inducted into the SRS program.  It became evident that the Channels also needed help to understand the unique requirements of CCIEs professionally and educationally.  The CCIE Agent™ presentations began in locations such as Atlanta, Dubai, Cape Town, London, San Jose, Zurich, Brussels, Cairo, Athens, NYC, Johannesburg and Toronto.  The Channel Partners needed help and it soon became apparent that CCIEs also needed support beyond the typical body shop mentality.  The fact that anyone would risk focusing so keenly on the careers of CCIEs was registered as a bold step and accepted broadly by the reseller community.  The CCIE now had a voice to help them by educating the highest demand sector seeking them out.

PEP, not just talk but results!

What has evolved from this growth for the CCIE Agent, LTD team is a new concept to further enhance the integration and CCIE hiring efforts for Eman and his team?  Partner Enablement Program (PEP) has become the product for CCIE Agent, LTD.  It is now being rolled out in countries like India, Africa and the Middle East.  PEP is composed of several aspects which are targeted to help emerging markets and Channel Partners that are focused on growing.

Training – Not just Network Engineer certifications but CSM and specialized training required for reseller certifications.  Eman has worked to support the Cisco Authorized training providers as they distinguish themselves from the Grey Market.  Now he is organizing those same training companies to offer reduced rate and specialized offerings specific to the needs of Channel Partners.  While Grey Market training companies are trying to offer recruiting as they poach from the ranks of their students and clients, authorized support for channels is growing.

White Label – Not just contractors but dedicated resources that can support the Channel Partner as an integral part of their team.  These dedicated resources will help the Channels achieve success in delivering solutions to clients and in supporting their efforts to gain Silver and Gold certification.  Available as Consultants, Contract-to-Perm or Temp-to-Perm these CCIEs will soften the blow to the bottom line while earning their place on the team.

Staffing – Not just CCIE anymore!  While Eman remains focused on the CCIE demand his team is now helping the Channel Partners with the growing demand behind the need for CCIEs.  Sales, Presales, Telecomm professionals, Virtualization, Storage, Data Center, IT Professionals and the rest of the Channel Partner’s unique requirements that equip them for success.

New Offices

CCIE Agent, Ltd now has offices and representatives in the USA, UAE, India and UK with more coming soon.  The virtual nature of recruitment has caused it to lose the personal touch many organizations and candidates need.  Eman has traveled the world and held CCIE mixers, attends Cisco Live and GITEX as methods for remaining a real person in the lives of many of his clients and the CCIE community.  The fact is many people do not trust the social media alone to support their careers.  So the demand for real people to help them as they grow is now being satisfied by a real presence.

What’s next?

What do CCIEs need?  You can count on Eman to grow not just with the demand but with the CCIE community’s changes.  The demand of Channel Partners is driven by solutions and their changes.  The demand for the CCIE Agent™ is driven by his advocacy for CCIE careers!

Please contact Eman with questions or input.