In a month I will officially be a “10 year CCIE. I passed my “lab exam” in June 27, 2001, that date is engraved in my memory like the birth date of my children, my spouse and our anniversary (Oops, not that I remember that one). I even remember the wheather that day in Halifax.
I have no real recollection of the exam except some outline, I remember that 2 candidates have passed, I remember the stress at the beginning of troubleshooting session, I knew I was close but had no clue how much I needed to score to pass. I recall the euphoria and relief when the proctor handed me the letter with my number.
Since then, my career move away from Hands-on and became more and more network design and architecture for better and for worse. The better is having an 8 to 5 Monday through Friday job without having to be on-call, and the worst, Losing the edge on troubleshooting because the less you do hands on, the more you forget how do operate, or must operate under different protocols.
I already recertified my CCIE 5 times and I find it increasingly difficult, having worked mostly for midsize companies using EIGRP as the routing protocol and MPLS/VPN WAN managed by the provider, I must say that BGP and OSPF concept are not frequently requested.
The CCIE was the achievement of a goal but not the end of it, because to stay on top of the game, you require to always work, learn and try to guess where the industry is heading. I am currently at a crossroads. Either I become a CCIE Emeritus or I pull up my sleeves and go deep on IPv6, the data center networking, Wireless to understand them thoroughly.
I am almost tempted to return in the trenches to make installation, implementation, troubleshooting and to learn not only, how it’s works but what will not work and be able to argue with the architects.
Furthermore, Being an eternal “techie” who still loves the CLI and the hours of fun troubleshooting, I would go back to my old love.