I still remember the entire experience like it was yesterday. Leaving my friend’s wedding reception early to make my flight to RTP. The airline being delayed and nearly missing my connection in Dallas. My luggage being lost and arriving to the hotel very late. Trying to remain calm during the test and follow my plan of attack. That I spent over 1200 hours preparing for. Checking and rechecking and rechecking my configurations. Walking out hoping “this was it” I did not want to have to take the test for a 3rd time. Back at the hotel room I finally got the email alerting me with an update. Logging into the portal I must have clicked refresh 50 times to make sure it was real. The number, #18559.
Is It still worth it?
Now its 10 years later to the day. 8/7/07. A lot has changed in that 10-year time span in this industry and at the same time a lot has stayed the same. I often get asked “is it still worth it” Yes… I don’t even hesitate to tell people that today. Do I think this industry is changing and things are moving away from complex CLI templates and hacks to mend together networks, For Sure! However, the CCIE was never about just passing a test. (Least it shouldn’t be) For most it was always about the journey and what you learned along the way. What the test really taught me was how to study and troubleshoot. These two skills alone have been worth their weight in gold or even something far more valuable. Troubleshooting to me is probably the most important skill to learn. Not just in work but in modern life. So much so I wrote a separate blog link on just troubleshooting.
Do you still use your CLI Ninja skills?
10 years is a long time and in that time, frame my job role has changed quite a bit. Am I still getting down and dirty with complex BGP CLI configs? Not really now that my role has shifted more into design, architecture, solutions offerings and managing a high performing solution architect team and mentoring. I will still get down and dirty if needed but not nearly into the weeds as I once did. I know that information is still buried deep in my head.
Never Stop Learning that’s always been a big core belief for me. In these last 10 years, there have been plenty of ways I have continued my education and pushed myself with great mentors. Tons of various Cisco certs, hands on training in things you can’t learn in a lab, mentoring, blogging, presenting to clients and staff, doing panel interview, podcasting, etc…etc. I am less about the deep technical bits and bytes now a day. Unless something really interests me. Looking back, I should have probably gone right for a second CCIE after I passed but it’s not something I regret.
Knowledge is contagious, infect
Derek Pocoroba, CCIE#18559