To CCIE or not to CCIE…that is the question

I apologize for the horrible plagiarizing of the Shakespeare quote, but it has been something that I’ve been struggling with for years. Do I truly want to go after my CCIE certification? Certainly, the recognition, monetary rewards, and personal satisfaction that would go along with obtaining it are something that I’ve seen as motivating factors in obtaining it. I have a great respect for those who have dedicated their lives to getting their number, and I’ve always hoped that I would be among those few to obtain it. But, in the end, do I really have what it takes to get my CCIE?

Let me start off with some backstory about myself. I’ve worked for the same company for the past 15 years, a cable ISP in the Midwest, starting at the level of tech support. I eventually moved up into the NOC and for the past 8 years have been in our network engineering group. I obtained my CCNA back in 2007, which is what helped me break through into this group, and finally got my CCNP in 2012. I then passed my CCIE written back in late 2013, but since then, I’ve constantly put off the serious study needed to take the lab exam.

My day to day job has taken me away from working on routers and switches on a daily basis to working more with our fiber optic equipment and cable CMTS’s, due to a re-organization within our group back in early 2013. While I enjoy these endeavors, I still know my heart is working with the IP side of things. I love reading about new technologies and make sure I keep my skills current by throwing things together either in a lab or at home in VIRL.

For so long, I’ve thought less of myself and my skills because I didn’t have a magical number that I had attached so much meaning to. What I’ve come to realize though is that although the accomplishment would be amazing, it probably wouldn’t be as life changing as part of me always thought it would be. My mind likes to jump around and learn many different things, from Python to SDN to Data Center to optical…the list goes on and on. I think that is probably my main personal problem with focusing on the requirements of the CCIE. I have problems focusing and taking the time needed and have the personality that I’d rather learn something that I find exciting at the moment rather than sit and go through a CCIE blueprint. And I’ve come to a realization that it’s ok for me. I’m still a good engineer at the end of the day. I love my life, and if by some chance I get my CCIE some day, I’ll still have the same life at the end of the day.

Just a disclaimer, by no means do I want to take away anything from those of you who have accomplished what I consider to be a huge undertaking. I have nothing but respect and admiration for anyone who takes the time to achieve any certification, from an associate to an architect level. But one thing I’ve learned is that the person behind the certification is far more important than the letters they may put on their resume.


1 thought on “To CCIE or not to CCIE…that is the question

  1. Wow this resonates a lot inside me, i`ve abandoned the quest like a year ago after putting a lot of pressure on my Anxiety condition and developing recurrent panic attacks . But turning back to the Core of the post , you are not a bad engineer if you dont have your number, there are lots of variables that relate to being a good engineer , and simply having a IE its not one of them.


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