This was prompted by the experience and advice of many of my colleagues who have already earned the coveted CCIE certification in either R&S or Service Provider. They said that the effort (and expense) involved in studying and passing the three CCNP exams would be better spent studying for my CCIE which, strangely, requires no pre-requisite qualifications to sit. When I began my networking journey I had told myself that I wasn't really interested in the time and effort it would take to get my CCIE, but the longer I am in this field, the more I realise I want to prove to myself that I still have it in me to work really hard at a very difficult task and attempt to overcome the inevitable issues that will arise in order to succeed. In a way, I am viewing this as my PhD, or at least a pinnacle of achievement in my engineering career of which I can be proud and which will help me in terms of better knowledge and understanding of the details of my chosen field, and for the kudos such an achievement will bring.
I started last year, but was seriously derailed by the death of my father and the need to travel to my family's home in New Zealand for the funeral and to help out my mum. Now, with that substantially taken care of, and with my own emotional energy returning, I decided once again to set myself the task of climbing the "Everest" of Internet Protocol networking; the CCIE.
My goal is to be prepared for the written exam in February of 2016. That gives me 6 months to study and prepare, and then one month to revise and cram exam technique for the exam itself. After that, of course, it's on to the infamous lab exam, which has left many a broken engineer in its wake! It is, frankly, terrifying, and I don't like to fail. But this journey will teach me, I'm certain, that failure is just one of the stones on the path to success.
I am based in and around Reading, UK, and would welcome any local study groups to get in touch.
19 Jul 2015: Updated with reminders of why I'm doing this.