If you haven’t heard, the networking community is awesome. I’ve made some great friends, developed strong new relationships, and I’ve had the incredible luxury to bounce ideas off some seriously talented people. However, whether it’s through various Slack groups, Google hangouts, or private email chains, it’s all been relatively private. Not much makes its way onto Twitter, and not as much as I’d like makes it into blog posts.
There’s a new story being told in the networking industry. The CCIE isn’t what it used to be, and pursuing it doesn’t make as much sense as in years past. My initial response to this is simple: BALONEY.
I can’t help myself. Even though I couldn’t wait to get out of a teaching career in my mid/late 20s, I still teach a class every semester at a local community college. I don’t plan to ever stop.
Being a good network engineer requires a strong technical skill set. In fact there’s an entire industry devoted to technical training in networking technologies. We know that persistent technical training is necessary to keep pace with constant changes in technology, so I’m sure we agree that technical proficiency is important for the network engineer. If you don’t have a deep understanding of how VPN technology works, you’ll have a very difficult time troubleshooting a site-to-site VPN without the help of some [unnamed] technical assistance center. But is that all that’s required for a successful career in networking?
Few fields require the continual professional development that IT does, but few fields offer the incredible rewards that a commitment to developing the skills of our trade can provide. Many factors come together to shape if, why, and how we advance in our field, and though I can speak only of my own experience, I believe the lessons I’ve learned from my journey so far may be of some value to others also on a similar path.