This post originally appeared in the Human Infrastructure Magazine. You can get it free when you sign up as a Packet Pushers member.
It’s been 17 years since I achieved CCIE status. The time has come to admit that CCIE skills are not a part of my future. I’m letting go of my CCIE.
Where Am I?
I have two roles today. First is Co-Founder/Chief Something-Or-Other of a startup. Packet Pushers as a business IS NOT about aiming and launching towards your goal; it’s more like guiding a very large falling rock so it doesn’t hit the edges as it accelerates and gains momentum. My second and more visible role is podcast host, analyst, and writer on networking at Packet Pushers.
The price of re-certification in both time and money is substantial. I’m guessing it would take at least 200 hours to get back into the books, work through my flash cards, and start memorizing a bunch of pointless information.
Is The CCIE Relevant To Me?
Hyperconvergence means legacy networking is pretty much over in the enterprise data center. SD-WAN means that deep knowledge of legacy protocols isn’t needed anymore. The SDN platform hides most of the details there and moves your career into proactive design and strategy instead of having a good memory and understanding of technology details.
Hybrid cloud / multi-cloud is the hotness for the next few years, and who knows what will come after that. I’ve already lived through the Novell Netware and Window NT eras before getting into networking, where I dived into the WAN and data center security. I also did some WiFi and a lot of monitoring before that became pointless.
The only place where active CCIE status matters is resellers, and the idea of working for a vendor reseller does not appeal to me.
Cisco doesn’t seem to care whether I re-certify. It offers no benefits or advantages to me to maintain my CCIE relationship.
In general, end users aren’t concerned about status these days, because the ability to communicate and be adaptable is as equally important as your technical chops.
I feel sure that I can re-learn what I need. The foundations of the last decade are still there and educational materials are widely available. The options for self-education are very different now compared to 2001, when training resources and labs were extremely limited.
If I wanted to invest a couple of hundred hours in training, I would focus on a career choice that is one step ahead of the market. Right now, I would invest time in public cloud – AWS/Google/Azure, doesn’t matter which one. Having cloud skills would be more valuable than relearning old knowledge.
My ego doesn’t need my status anymore. I’ve proven to myself that I’m good enough and I don’t need anyone else to validate me. In the middle stage of my career with only ten to fifteen years (if I’m lucky) of work, I can make this choice.
So farewell, CCIE program. It’s time to invest in new skills and leave the old behind.