My own view on the whole ‘CCIE is getting less important’ debate

There have been numerous debates recently about how important the CCIE is going forward. My views seem to differ form a lot of others so allow me to get on my own soapbox.

What I am sick of hearing is how a CCIE is just a ‘cli jockey’ – I have not, and have never, considered myself to be that. I’m also sick of hearing that you’re either this or you’re that. People are far more complicated that being either one thing or another.

Different people have different reasons for pursuing the CCIE. I did it because I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. Some people do it to get more money, others to get a job, others for who knows what reason. The CCIE is not an end into itself, it’s merely something you can do if you want.

Does having a CCIE mean that all I’m good at is punching some commands into a router? No, and I find is extremely insulting for anyone to think such a thing. I took a view of learning how things work and fit together. The CLI is there simply to allow you to get to your end goal. The actual commands for me were the easiest part of the entire lab exam. Learning how things fit together and how protocols operate is the real business side of the CCIE in my opinion. This is perhaps why I was able to do the CCIE SP so quickly after doing my JNCIE-SP. The commands, defaults, and capabilities of each is the only difference. The technology is the same.

The same goes for programming really. You have something you want to do. You could use a load of different languages to get there. The language you use is irrelevant to the underlying problem you are trying to solve.

If you think that the CCIE is merely there to teach you to be a ‘cli jockey’ then I feel pretty sorry for you.

The thought that a programmer is inherently better at designing a network than a network engineer is, is laughable. The very thought that you are either one or the other is also laughable. The thought that a programmer is a better problem solver because they are able to break down big problems into smaller ones is also incorrect. We’ve all been doing this for ages. The very act of troubleshooting and designing large networks is all about this. You don’t just draw one big cloud and say there’s your network. The devils in the smaller details and how each small part operates in the bigger picture to give you your end goal. This could be applied to so many things.

For me, learning itself is one of my favourite processes. Learning anything. Heck if I could somehow spend 6 months every year doing nothing but attending lectures and studying I would do it at the drop of a hat. It’s what I love to do. CCIE before, Python next. Then what? Maybe Physics? Who knows. Will it help me with my career? Probably not, but I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy it nonetheless!

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