About 3 years ago, when I’d first decided to go down the route of getting my CCIE Workbooks, I remember speaking a colleague who had done his a year or two before, and asking him was it worth the effort. He told me ‘regardless of having the certification, the process will make you a better engineer’. When I asked him what he meant by that, he told me ‘you’ll see’, then went off the pub for the afternoon leaving the hard work to his minion (me).
Now, as my first re-cert is getting close, I get what he meant. There’s an awful lot of rubbish talked about the CCIE, and how guru-like CCIE’s are begged on a daily basis to move to higher and higher paid jobs. I can’t deny, it is a door opener when looking for a gig, and sometimes clients specify they want a CCIE for a given role, but door opener is all that the certification is. You don’t get an easy interview as a result – in fact when you say you’re a CCIE, people try harder to catch you out, and you have to be better than ever to get and keep your credibility.
The reason the ccie routing and switching lab teaches you to be a better engineer, is not because it gives you god-like knowledge of the IOS (you do have to learn the IOS backwards, but this soon starts to slip and become out of date unless you keep it up), but it teaches you four things:
When you’re studying for the CCIE, you have to be able to come home from a tough day, go to your lab, and study for hours, day, after day, for an average of 12-18 months. You give up on your home life, lose weekends, don’t see your buddies, and so on. It’s hard – really hard, but you have to have the discipline to sit down, and get on with it. This stands to you afterwards, for example, before I did my CCIE, I couldn’t work at home – I got nothing done.
Documentation and Manuals
The use of the DocCD (sorry, I’m old fashioned). I don’t remember every timer default, or how to configure every feature of the IOS. But I can find out pretty damned quick, and I never use google. You have to know the documentation site backwards to do the lab. During preparation, you learn how to navigate the documentation site quickly and effectively, and learn where everything is. In the ccie voice lab boot camp, this is really useful every single day. No more searching google and hoping the answer isn’t on experts- exchange.