In the first part of this post, we looked at the written journey and lab practice. Lets continue and look at the lab day and the interview that follows this.
HUAWEI HCIE LAB
Having passed the written, its time to schedule the actual lab. This is where you get the real test ! Its an 8 hour long config only lab test, which requires 80% to pass. I did the lab in Sydney, with my proctor being Anna who was fantastic! They took care of making sure I had everything needed, and also provided lunch ! I was given an exam room to myself, so I could focus on getting through the lab. Things you need to know about the lab day:
– You are supplied a laptop for the test. I took an external keyboard and mouse in so I didn’t have to work off a laptop keyboard for 8 hours
– The lab starts the second the proctor gives the PC to you. You need to read the notes, and then configure the Terminal to connect to the routers/switches as per the notes. Then you click the Question tab and get on with it ! I lost 20mins here not realising that the test had started since I had not gone through the tabs.
– You get a lab number (eg 21) – this is used throughout the lab for IP config (eg 192.168.10.21 for loopback). In all the mock labs you always use lab number 1 for this octet – be careful not to get in the habit of only using 1 as the lab number when you practice, as you may enter the wrong IP in the real thing for the config or later testing ! This happened to me on my CCIE R&S many years ago – added to the stress once I worked out that I had configured the wrong IPs to match the test requirement! Had to very quickly correct a lot of addresses in the middle of the lab…
– You have full searchable access to Hedex. You should be well familiar with Hedex by the lab time, as its a great tool to refer to for config when you don’t know or are unsure. BUT don’t rely on it for everything as there wont be enough time for that ! I used it for 2 minor points in the lab that I needed to confirm.
– The points for each question are clearly marked – totaling 100 across the test. This allows you to make sure that if you have a few questions you are not sure on, you can check which ones to go back and complete when you review so you can still get above the 80% mark.
– Once you have completed the lab, re-check all your questions are working and IP/Multicast reach-ability is as expected, then you can close the lab and save your config. With 10 minutes to go you are locked out from the question set, and you have to manually copy the config of each device to text files, then .rar them to a file and upload (clear details are provided in the lab, so dont be concerned of this). This concludes your lab!
Now you wait… up to 5 days for the result. Hopefully you get the pass 🙂
Once the lab is passed, you need to schedule the interview. This is a 1 hour remote video/audio session with 1 or 2 Huawei engineers in China (again in the local Huawei offices), where you will be asked 3 main questions (L3 Routing, L2 Switching, and Lab Question in my case). You need to answer those questions – BUT then they ask you more detail about that topic and keep going… so basically each question spawns 8-10 sub questions around that topic. Ive read that you need to get 2 of the 3 questions correct, but I dont know exactly what getting a question correct means, as I got the first one 100%, but probably 60-70% on Q2 and 3 (I think), and passed. To study for this I went over the Huawei course guide that is used in the Video Training series and made sure I knew as much from the theory space again that I used for the written test (including the minor details like what ICMPv6 port does IPv6 ND advertise on)
In terms of a training/learning classroom option, there is also instructor led courses. ITIC in Sydney is the Australian provider for this (who I am planning to be working with in 2018 as part of the teaching team), and there are other providers around the world that can help you learn the Huawei HCIE theory and labs, as well as provide interview hints and tips.
So how long did it take to complete? For me it was a 5 month journey (done after hours and on weekends around my working life and family). But as noted at the top I have a background that reduced the normal learning time. If you are coming from the CCNP/HCNP space – 9-12 months would be reasonable, especially if you do the instructor led training course as part of the learning.
Once all this is done – you are an HCIE ! Congrats you can add an IE level qualification to your certifications.
Feel free to post any questions on the HCIE (or CCIE) below and I’ll answer what I can. Good luck !