CCIE Lab Success Strategy Part II – with Dean Bahizad

by Mirek Burnejko

Dean Bahizad - CCIE LabToday we talk with Dean Bahizad (CCIE RS and CCIE Service Provider, CISSP). He’s also a part of Cisco Advanced Services (one of the best networking team in the world). Dean with his colleague Vivek Tiwari (also a double CCIE) have just released their new book Your CCIE Lab Success Strategy: The Non-Technical Guidebook.

Dean and Vivek have a few books in their portfolio and work on new ones.

In this interview you will find:

  • Why elite certifications like CCIE are so important
  • How to pass the CCIE lab
  • What three steps help you with the CCIE lab

IT Certification Master: Hello Dean. It’s a big pleasure to have you here. Tell what are you doing and what was you first IT job.

Dean Bahizad: I have been working at Cisco Systems on the Advance Services Team and as a Network Consulting Engineer and Educational Specialist for the past five plus years. Though I have been in this industry for over fifteen years, my first networking job was as an engineer in a Financial Technology firm in the Washington D.C. area. I handled all the software, hardware and networking design and issues. It was around that time which I started looking at certifications from Microsoft and Cisco CCNA.

ICM: I know you’re also big fan of certifications tell us about your titles. What was your first certification and what was the last one?

DB: Just like everyone you have to start somewhere and with me I started with the certification that was really popular and sought after at the time—MCSE. From there I started looking at networking instead of software and hardware. The current certification I am looking at is not strictly IT, I am pursuing my Project Management Professional – PMP.

ICM: Why certifications are that important for you? Why you use your free time and a lot of money to achieve them?

DB: I have always felt that self education and lifelong learning is very important, it is amazing how far one can soar just through knowledge. In order to be competitive in networking/IT and in the workforce, you need to bring added value to your team and yourself and you can do this through certifications. Elite certifications, like CCIE also at times gives you credibility.

ICM: You have one of my favorite certifications: CCIE SP. Tell us something about this certification. Has it helped in your career?

DB: After going through the Cisco certification path, I realized that I needed to reach that peak CCIE. This long road to this certification has helped me immensely it has taught me never to give up and keep going. As I said previously CCIE gives you a sense of accomplishment and also

ICM: You and your friend have few books. The last one: CCIE Lab passing strategy. Why strategy? Is it really important?

DB: Our latest publication called “Your CCIE Lab Success Strategy: The Non-Technical Guidebook” talks about both Dean and Vivek’s CCIE journey and the most important lessons that we learned the hard way and all of these lessons takes strategy and planning. In our journey we realized that the CCIE is not just technical, but it’s strategically non-technical as well. You need a carefully devised plan of active in order to achieve your goals.

ICM: Where can I find in this book?

DB: The book can be purchased via and can be shipped internationally. The book preview and sample chapters of the book can be found along with our videos at 2DoubleCCIEs.

ICM: Please give us three the most important things that can help us with a CCIE lab.

DB: It’s really difficult to point to three things, but if I had I would say the following:

  • The three step lock and key solution which we dedicated few chapters to it.
  • The dos and don’ts of the exam. Though some of these ideas may be deceivingly simple, yet they may make or break your thought process once you are in the actual lab.
  • Partnership-a quality partner is key, we have a recommended list of criteria’s that we consider crucial. I have met many candidates that decided to go solo and half way through they can’t pull through, by the time they decide to look for help or partners they may lose momentum, and procrastinate so that they may not follow through.

ICM: You have also other books. Tell us something about them and what can I learn from them.

DB: We are in the process of releasing a few more books, and also an e-book.  We will give you a hint it also deals with Networking. You CCNA Success Strategy: The Non-Technical guidebook, as well as the eBook series would be another guide for any individuals who are considering pursing Networking as a career and the challenges that it brings.

ICM: My readers still ask me a question. Where I should start? You know the industry. What is the best, first step to become a networking rock star.

DB: To be a rock star–you need to start with the basics CCNA. Once you understand networking fundamentals, you may process with professional or expert track (CCIE) certification. To start, first thing you need to do is to set a goal, CCIE certification; and then second things is a guidebook which will give show you the road, provides you the map and faith in the process, this guidebook is the now available at and it can be shipped internationally it’s call “The CCIE Lab strategy.” With hard work and perseverance you too will be one of the elite network engineers.

ICM: Any plans for the future? Will we see new certification in your portfolio and new books? 

DB: Vivek is writing the eBook series called your CCNA practical Learning “Sink or Swim” learning by Immersing, which walks you through a scenario and imparts knowledge about the use of CCNA technologies. In these series we will teach by immersing the audience in real life scenarios and the practical lessons learned. The best way to learn is real world hands on examples. This book would enrich any new engineer’s perspective about technologies and troubleshooting. There is also a subsequent eBook called “Comprehensive Answer book” along with “Your CCNA Success Strategies” will soon be available on

ICM: Thank you so much Dean. Tell us what is the best place to find you?

DB: Thank you for inviting us, and to share our thought with our few engineers who are planning to purse their dreams as well did. Don’t forget to go to our website and buy our book on Amazon–keyword CCIE strategy. We also encourage everyone to visit our website and like us on Facebook.

CCIE Success

[This is part of the Interviews with IT Pros Series]