Monday, January 05, 2009

Summary of My Journey

I'm sleepless because for the past few days I've been staying up late for no reason. Probably because of so many challenges related to my relocation I have to deal with. Funny, I even thought once that the relocation process can really push me to the limit. It makes me standing on the edge, ready to free fall anytime. I have reached the bottom of my patience level, waiting to be exploded. This is a new experience to me, as I normally able to deal with the most difficult situation even with tough customers or painful projects.

Anyway, let's talk something not related at all just to break the pattern. Few days ago a friend of mine asked me the story of how I did all this journey. How did I start. How did I manage to reach my current state. And he insisted he couldn't find the answer by reading my previous posts in the blog. That's yet another simple question that requires lots of hours to answer. Actually I have presented How I Did It, Summary of My Journey when I gave the free lecture about CCIE in my former university. It was 4 hours lecture, most of the time I spent to talk about myself, my experience, my story. Well, I guess that's the only thing that I'm really good at.

So here I am. In the middle of my frustration with all this back office issues. I'm fed up trying to make the relocation process becomes smooth. So what I will do now, while listening to Adam Sandler's The Wedding Singer "Somebody kill me please.. put a bullet in my head.. " is to copy paste some bullet points from my slide to here.

This might be another cruel and useless post in this blog. But frankly speaking, I don't give a damn. Relocation sucks, and The Cure rocks!

How I Did It, Summary of My Journey.

- Mechanical Engineer from ITB, appointed in 1994
- Have been dreaming to work overseas since very young
- Not the smartest student, can be considered ordinary with GPA < 3.0 (out of 4.0)
- Graduated in the hardest time to find a job in home country, 1998 – 1999
- Applied to Schlumberger as Oil Engineer but rejected due to GPA < minimum requirement
- Worked as mechanical engineer but unhappy, wanted to do bigger and more interesting stuff, so quit after just couple of months even without any jobs in hand
- Learned about Microsoft MCSE in campus, learned about Oracle from freelancer
- Passed CCNA in 2000 and have been fall in love to networking
- Got the first IT job from the same company, Schlumberger, as engineer just several months after got rejected when applying as fresh graduate relying on GPA only
- Worked in shift in Network Operation Center (NOC) to maintain internal network
- Full of envy when seeing other colleagues got full training and facilities to become CCIE
- Decided to sleep in the office for 9 months, abusing the copy machine to make copy of training books at night
- Passed CCNP, CCDP and CCIE qualification test (R&S track) within the first 6 months in company without any training, and passed before the others who were sent to the training
- Got offer to move to IBM Global Services with triple salary and being the only CCIE candidate in IBM Indonesia, promised to get full support and lab to practice
- Found out that no lab equipment was available, so must “borrowed” from customers sometime
- Still lived separate with family even though company has provided rented house thanks to CCIE preparation
- Took the first business class flight in life to CCIE lab in Brussels just to fail with 5 points less
- Took another CCIE lab attempt in Tokyo 1 month after and passed, got the magic number #8171
- As the only CCIE in IBM Indonesia, was working as white collar pre-sales consultant without hands on
- Got a lesson in life when failed to troubleshoot networking issue as CCIE, really embarrassed and realized that "E" doesn't always mean Expert
- Decided to move to middle east in early 2002 to get overseas experience and better money
- Worked for Cisco Gold Partner in Dubai, local company, to serve local customers from Governments, Banks, Universities, Service Providers etc. And working in local company to serve local customers in a strange country is the worst you can expect in career
- Was working as consultant, pre-sales, technical project manager, team leader, senior engineer, designer, and the guy who mounted Cisco device in the rack
- Learned the hard way in how to become a good designer, how to handle under pressure situation, how to handle the customers, how to select the technology as what customer needs not what customer wants, and how to build relationship
- Passed CCIE Security track by self funding and spent USD 15k, supposed to be used as master degree fees
- Have been trying to join Cisco Systems since 2003 but can’t join from partner due to some dumb rule
- Worked together with Cisco Advanced Services in 2006 to migrate triple play network for residential area with 50,000 subscribers, have been fall in love to this team ever since and willing to join in any cost
- Quit the job in mid 2006 and started working as independent consultant/contractor, hoping to get hired by Cisco
- Got offer from many companies with high $$$ but none from Cisco Systems middle east
- Finally got offer to join Cisco Advanced Services in Oct 2006 to cover Asia Pacific
- Dropped salary by 30% to join Cisco, compare to others' offer dropped salary by 50%
- Living mobile mostly in South East Asia countries, and involved in several large scale deployments and critical migration projects i.e. Petronas, VDC, CAT, Telkomsel, Starhub
- Passed CCIE Service Provider fully funded by Cisco, 1st Indonesian Triple CCIE (and still the only one until date)
- Started feeling the comfort and can survive the projects even without using technical skills
- Applied to Cisco AS World Wide Service Provider practice team, team full of only architect and senior consultant, to cover Europe, Middle East and Africa customers
- Got accepted after the hardest technical interview, interviewed from 5 senior guys in different countries
- Was working on CRS-1, IPv6, NGN and Metro Ethernet migration project in Czech Republic and Slovakia
- Looking ahead for another journey in EMEA, will try to trace Jason Bourne’s path
- Writing this post in the middle of the night, trying to escape from all relocation issues. It seems work. Wait.... Nope :(


Bambang said...

"- Started feeling the comfort and can survive the projects even without using technical skills"

Very true.. at some point in time it is our "soft" skills that matters, more than any techie skills we've ever learned ...


umut said...

I am an associate systems engineer at cisco located in Amsterdam. Reading this post made me realize how valuable this opportunity really is...

I am considering to work as an SE in Dubai after the CSAP. If it happens I hope I meet you there this summer...

muhnur said...

u damn inspiring man.. keep it up ur sharing...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Super Respect!

Anonymous said...

Man you have inspired me to start thinking CCIE,Actually did CCNP in 2006 and was very close to a senior colleague Hashiru Aminu, doing his CCIE and passed that year.

You know what,I realised from your blog that journey to CCIE is similar to his.
So,focus,dream,sleepless nights and thinking like a CCIE is the key.Must go for it.Hope to meet you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Guru,

thanks for inspiring blogs it realy refuel my spirit preparing for ccie as i'm in the middle of my review now but sometime i find my self burnout by all of this material but when i come to think to my dream it keep me moving. i'm hoping to meet you someday atleast to have handshake. hehehehe. rightnow i'm ccnp,ccdp, ccna security working in top telco from U.S. as of this writing i am in the middle of reviewing my stuff from iexpert CoD, V1,V2,V3...i am also hoping that someday i can share my own CCIE journey. thanks and GOD bless.

Anonymous said...

Whao! You have done well and inspired me not to give up my dreams. Thank you

Anonymous said...

"Passed CCNP, CCDP and CCIE qualification test (R&S track) within the first 6 months in company without any training, and passed before the others who were sent to the training"


i keep on waiting for training so i dont have to pay for the exams as most training covers it. However there is a big opportunity costs associated with waiting... heck i'm going your route -- just pay for the exam myself and get it over with.

Anonymous said...

Awesome.... I'm really proud that you are Indonesian ^_^

ccie training in india said...

i am proud of you sir, you are the best.

CCIE said...

Quite Inspiring

Maverick said...

Wow.. so inspirational... really admirable..

Anonymous said...

when I start feeling a lack of motivation..a quick reading session of your blog...espacially this post to make me feel re-charged !
thanks man for such inspiring blog !!
Keep it up !