Ricardo Martins

Cisco Expert – Got my CCIE R&S and CCNA Voice

Posted by Ricardo Martins on January 31, 2009

Hello everyone,
For now, just let you now that my CCIE journey, lots of hours of studying and hands on live routers just payed off. Yesterday I became CCIE# 23373 in Routing and Switching on Thursday 29th January 2009.

Earlier this week, on Tuesday 27th January, I also got my CCNA Voice, in my opinion, the best and more pleasant certification I ever studied for. Call Manager Express or CUCME like Cisco now calls it is definitely funny to configure. I am starting to think that Voice may be my thing in the future. We will see…

I will update this post over the next few days after I get some hours of sleeping and resting, well deserved.

Story of my life:

All started in February 2007 when I decided to take my first IT cetification MCDST. I attended the MCSE course certification at a Microsoft learning center. On the first day, I knew nothing about IT, only windows XP and that was it. After the first lesson, I knew that certifications was my thing and IT would be my passion.

After my first exam I was a MCP and I jumped so much when I got my certification. After the second exam I got my MCDST. After 6 months I was done with MCSE, then I asked myself, now what?? Well I got some old CBT Nuggets of CCNA of a friend in September 2007  and I started to watch the first video. After 5 min I was like…where are the wizards and all the GUI’s? Didn’t like the feeling, but I kept on going because at the Microsft Center, everybody said that being a MCSE + CCNA was the best thing anyone could be. So I used GNS3 and practice a lot so I got my CCNA. At this point I was in love with Cisco. Worth to mention that, I found no use in taking lessons for Cisco Certs as I did for Microsoft. Found that most places are just trying to sell courses for huge price, and most trainers aren’t even prepared to teach.

After that I took my CCNP, CCSP. CCDP, CCIP. I studied day and night for these certs. After this I got a job in Northern Ireland in HP.

In HP, with all the certs and some experience in the pocket that I already had from a portuguese company I was offered that job. Man, the network here is huge…Anyways, I saved some cash and bought my own rack…and started my CCIE journey.

The next 8 months, used Internetwork Expert Vol 2 and spent 3 hours daily in my rack.

After practicing for a while, I started to feel confident so I went for the CCIE R&S Written exam which I cleared it. After this exam I practiced another 3 months just labbing, labbing, labbing and 12th Nov.2008 arrived fast….I was in Brussels…

“I will be your proctor for the day” – says Bruno

…. Ricardo….Rack 11

The exam started….after 4 hours I had only BGP and Multicast left…so I was relaxed. QOS and Security seemed a bit odd to me but there was a good chance to pass. Spent the whole afteernoon checking the configurations, having drinks, I knew I had a huge chance to be a CCIE…16.30…Lab over.

They say, if you were to pass your results should be available earlier, I’m guessing they run a script and if it says you pass, you passed but if says you have failed probably a proctor will check all your configurations and that takes extra time. Again I have no information on this, I am just guessing.

1:48am in the Hotel…the email came through and I had failed but with a good and very very very close score…QOS and Security was horrible…I say good because most topics I scored 100%, then on QOS and Security a disaster. I was actually happy, I knew if I studied those 2 topics, I would be fine next time…Flew back home and scheduled my 2nd attempt for 29th January…

During this 2.5 months I didnt touch 1 lab from start to end. I just practiced random stuff, OSPF, EIGRP and all the normal easy stuff just to make sure I wouldn’t forget a thing. Now the big secret….I opened the Cisco DOC CD online during my preparation, I read from cover to cover, Ip services, QOS and Security stuff and I labbed everything. Man…this was my salvation. I think IE vol.2 is not very good for Security, IP services and lacks some information for QOS as well.

29th Jan.  2009

This time Istvan if I remember his name correctly was the proctor. I was not nervous like the first time or anything and this time….”Ricardo…Rack 10″…I know I had to do it this time. Found this lab a bit more difficult and tricky than the first attempt but I didnt care, just followed the normal cisco procedures for the problems and troubleshooting they threw at me, and before lunch I finished the lab. In the afternoon, after lunch, I checked the configurations 4 times and all seemed ok. I was a bit afraid of the interpretation of some questions but there was nothing I could do. So I just had 3 drinks, Cecemel, this is some chocolate drink with caramel…if u go to brussels drink this…it is awesome.

Well…I think the say is true…this time at 11:30 I got my result and CCIE# 23373.

My biggest tip is, if you want something really bad you will get it…there are no limits, just study, understand the technologies and pass the lab. Motivaton is the key…

18 Responses to “Cisco Expert – Got my CCIE R&S and CCNA Voice”

  1. What an amazing accomplishment! Congrats!

  2. […] on over to Cisco Expert Blog and […]

  3. Congratulations Ricardo! Time to enjoy the beers 😉

  4. Newton said

    Congratulations! The story of your It life is very inspiring.

  5. Dana said

    What an awesome Job Ricardo. I hope to be in your spot in 8-9 months time. Congrats again. 🙂

  6. Rizzo said
    Hardwork always paid off at last.

    That’s really wonderful news and I been reading your blog.

    I am on CCIE Security quest and preparing for BluePrint V3. Its new exam and exciting blueprint.

  7. Jeriel Atienza said

    Hi Ricardo

    Congrats at first place, its amazing, i saw u in ieoc when u comes with ur first failed attempt, but now u are strong man. I curious u are portuguese, i am asking that because its my native language.


  8. Vineet said

    Congratulations pal.. Awesome news.

  9. Ric said

    Well done Ricardo!!! Enjoy the moment and congrats from your home land 😉

  10. Shane said

    Congrats on the number!
    Great news!

    Whats next? … Voice?

  11. shirwa said

    Congratulations Ricardo. I’m going to print your CCIE story and put in on my wall for motivation.

  12. Hussain Ali said

    Your story is very nice, and the number of certifications you had done.. you had done some really good work..
    I wish you continue with this spirit.. and achieve more..

    Good luck

  13. lo tan said

    Just currious, what can you do with that ccie number?

  14. Ricardo Martins said

    Make money!

  15. Ricardo Martins said


  16. Hey man, I just happened to run across your page here while searching for what IOS to use on 3640/2610XM for MPLS…I saw this post and wanted to say congratulations on passing your lab! I also just passed me R/S lab (#24347) and was also looking at the CCVP perhaps. It looks like I will probably have to do the CCNA Voice as well, so we have that in common. What resources did you use for that?

    – Joe

  17. Thejus said


    This is absolutely awsome stuff. You got dedication. I am also going to start the same path. I have a networking back ground in the field of testing(Mostly wireless), but yes your story is an inspiration.
    Thanks for sharing this.


  18. Hello Ricardo Martins.

    I have stumble upon your blog and seen your RACK, and oh man, what a RACK. Can I borough it? LOL.
    I have done the CCNA 6 months ago and even though I did some networking in Lisbon, as self employed, after I started the CCNA I had then realised I knew nothing about networking. I mean, subnetting, what on earth is that I though!
    Anyways, well done on your achievement and keep it going.
    I have been looking for a job here in the UK on the networking field but so far with no success. Must say that I am living on a not good area to get a job on this field.
    Any links for websites or online testing, practise exercises you might have come across so that one could practise more?
    Carlos Arruda

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