Saturday, January 31, 2009

In This Part Of The World

In this part of the world, people may gain respect not because of what they know, their reputation or what they have done. But probably because of what they own, what they drive, how they look, what they wear, what family name they have, even to silly thing such as what passport they hold.

But respect is not the reason why I bought my latest toy.

When I got it, what I had in mind was just to have fun. I made a list of 10-things I want to do in life and one is related to skill and ability to ride different type of vehicle in all kind of terrains. Another reason is probably because I also want to tease my buddy who kept telling me I don’t deserve a British car >:)

In case you were wondering, nope, it’s not an Aston Martin. It was in Quantum of Solace movie too indeed, but it has 4WD, more doors and a bit lower BHP.

In this part of the world, all we need to do is slowing our pace a bit, lowering down our expectation, and everything will be alright.

The name is Bond. James Bond.
No, wait.
The name is Bourne. Jason Bourne.
Nah, never mind.

Stop whining. Start living. And live like you mean it.
Sand dunes, here I come.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

No Interview Means Good News?

"There’s no bad news or good news. There’s only news"
- Master Ogway, Kungfu Panda :)

Some people might think interview in CCIE lab is difficult. Some people think the opposite. And I'm one of second group. I can say this out loud because I did the 2-day CCIE lab, with interview after the first day and troubleshooting section to explain what I did, how did I find the problem, which debug command I used, two times.

For those who are in doubt about their English, think like this: I believe all CCIE proctors are aware that not everyone is native speaker. So even they decide to conduct a real interview in the lab, I guess they don't expect the candidates to have a perfect English. What matters is the ability to communicate the keywords. And with one-to-one interview that I had back there in 2001, I could use the white board drawing to put more explanation.
More drawing, less talk.

For me, it looks easier then explaining the answer in detail in writing. And again, I have done it that way. My CCIE in Routing and Switching track is the witness.

If you think writing the answer is easier, well, it depends. I know many engineers out there who don't like to write documents, who don't like to write long emails. And yet they still exist. Just as some guys I know who like to talk and explain in white board, but not writing it in detail.

Good luck, anyway.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Interview @ CCIE Goes Official

Update: I heard it won't be interview but computer based questions instead. Oh, crap.

Just got it today. I wrote similar idea in my previous post. Good luck to all candidates. And let the real CCIE candidates win! :)

Changes to CCIE Lab and Written Exam Question Format and Scoring

Effective February 1, 2009, Cisco will introduce a new type of question format to CCIE Routing and Switching lab exams. In addition to the live configuration scenarios, candidates will be asked a series of four or five open-ended questions, drawn from a pool of questions based on the material covered on the lab blueprint. No new topics are being added. The exams are not been increased in difficulty and the well-prepared candidate should have no trouble answering the questions. The length of the exam will remain eight hours. Candidates will need to achieve a passing score on both the open-ended questions and the lab portion in order to pass the lab and become certified. Other CCIE tracks will change over the next year, with exact dates announced in advance.

Effective February 17th, 2009, candidates will also see two other changes in CCIE written exams. First, candidates will now be required to answer each question before moving on to the next question; candidates will no longer be allowed to skip a question and come back to it at a later time. Second, there will be an update to the score report. The overall exam score and the exam passing score will now be reported as a scaled score, on a scale from 300-1000. This change will not affect the difficulty of the current set of exams and will assure CCIE written exams will be consistent with Cisco’s other career certification exams.

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 :(