CCIE without much on the job experience

tomtom1tomtom1 Posts: 375Member
Hi Guys,

Recently I accepted a position as a sr. system engineer with a MSP. In this job, I will get exposure to Linux and a bit Nexus / Netapp (they're running UCS) and some ASA firewalling. However, CCIE R:S has always been a dream of mine and with my CCNP almost rounded up (only TSHOOT left) I was thinking about pursuing the CCIE as a preparation for a next job, which will most likely be more networking centered. I'm currently very broad, as I have some (3-4 years) experience with the network side (intermediate routing / switching on Cisco and Juniper), but also stuff like Windows / Linux, Loadbalancers, (NetScaler / F5 etc) however I'd like to be a bit more networking centered.

I'm hoping achieving a CCIE would get me at least 1 foot through the door, and that the experience I'm building up can at least get me a step further in the networking world. Would something like this make sense, since CCIE is best coupled with many years experience?

I will make sure the CCNP is finished since that is only one exam left, but I'm standing on the start of a mountain (CCIE) and before I start the climb, I'd like some advice from you pro's :)
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Comments

  • pevangelpevangel Posts: 342Member
    Why not? I have less experience than you in networking, and I've started studying for CCIE. IMO, the knowledge you gain through the journey of studying for the CCIE is worth more than the certification. Having the numbers is a nice bonus, but it's worth nothing if you can't talk at that level during interviews. As long as you study to understand and not just study to pass (no ****), then you should just do it. I got my CCNP with only 3 months of networking experience and it has opened up a lot of opportunities for me.
  • Dieg0MDieg0M Posts: 861Member
    I would study and get better in a skill that will help you further yourself in your current job. I am not saying not to study towards the CCIE but at least get a job in the networking industry. It is very hard to achieve the CCIE without any experience to back you up. It is one thing to know and understand the theory but when it comes to troubleshooting multiple technologies with time constraints and stress; work experience will help you tremendously.
    Follow my CCDE journey at www.routingnull0.com
  • RouteMyPacketRouteMyPacket Posts: 1,104Member
    Achieving a CCIE without years of experience is a pipe dream. Focus on accumulating experience, certification second.
    Modularity and Design Simplicity:

    Think of the 2:00 a.m. test—if you were awakened in the
    middle of the night because of a network problem and had to figure out the
    traffic flows in your network while you were half asleep, could you do it?
  • silver145silver145 Posts: 265Member
    Do what's best for you and what you feel like doing, simple as.
  • mochaaddictmochaaddict Posts: 42Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    One the aspects of proper certification pursuit is the knowledge gained during the journey. Realize that this, the ccie, is a very very long journey. During this time value the experience you get on the job too. Go for it and do it right; lots of structured reading and labbing. Good luck and congrats on the new job.
  • lrblrb Posts: 526Member
    I would bank on most of us on here, even with many years of experience, would not work with all of the technologies on the CCIE R&S lab on a day-to-day, or even a semi regular basis. I myself have never been in a situation where I've needed to use an OSPF virtual link, or connect two non-adjacent RIP speakers with AToM and the no validate-update-source command to get around the direct adjacency rule. But going through hours and hours of labs and reading I am comfortable enough to say that I could configure these things in the real world if necessary.

    You will learn a lot about the things you don't know while studying for the CCIE, and you will definitely become a better engineer for studying for it even if you don't take the lab in the next year or two.
  • NOC-NinjaNOC-Ninja Posts: 1,403Member
    I dont think you will benefit fully if you passed CCIE and does not have much networking experience. However, you can change that right now. The best thing that you can do once you finished your CCNP is to find a networking job. Find a networking job that they will let you deploy the whole infrastructure. They will pay you less since they will have to teach you or shadow you. 6months or a year on that role then you will be on a better spot.

    Also, CCIE is very tough. Less experience in networking will catch up on you in the test. Put it this way. Even the experienced network engineer guys fails a few times.
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Posts: 879Member
    There seems to be a strange bias against studying in the networking community that I haven't seen anywhere else. Some people claim that you have no business studying something that you don't have experience with in a production environment, or some variation of that theme. Generally speaking, I think the people in this camp have good intentions; it could obviously be disastrous if someone who has messed around in a lab thinks that this means that they know exactly what they are doing in the real world. A distributed system like computer networking is inherently unpredictable and it's probably inevitable that you will mess up if you only have knowledge from books.

    What I disagree with though is the idea that studying things above your level naturally leads to over confidence, making you a "loose cannon" that is going to destroy networks. I can of course only speak for myself but the more I study, the less confident I become. Sometimes I think that this subject is simply too hard. Because it's distributed, layered, chaotic, there's constantly this feeling of being unable to fully "get it". Instead of making me believe that people shouldn't study though, it makes me feel like it's even more important to study all the ******* time, regardless of how menial your networking job might seem. You may think that nothing weird could happen, but your unknown unknowns are so many that you eventually are going to mess up.

    Beyond that, I also think that there's a bias against self studying in general. If someone is in a Master's program at a good school and they are discussing and configuring some advanced inter-AS MPLS VPN scenario, that's fine to most people because they are in school. If someone watches video lectures created by incredible instructors like Brian McGahan or someone of that stature, reads documentation, and then implements it in the lab, that's a problem all of a sudden? It's literally the same thing, but people are too stuck in old paradigms to get that.

    Rant over.
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    I don't think there is a bias against studying, but there is definitely a bias against people getting certified (particularly high level certifications) in technologies they have never touched.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Posts: 879Member
    ...but there is definitely a bias against people getting certified (particularly high level certifications) in technologies they have never touched.

    But why is that when there isn't the same bias against people getting high level degrees? Let's say that someone is getting a MSc in software engineering and their final year they do some very advanced project for their thesis. I get the impression that this is looked on favourably but almost everyone. If someone acquires advanced knowledge of routing protocols and other such things on their own, then takes some exam, why is that different? I seems completely arbitrary to me.

    PS.
    The cynic in me wants to attribute it to a guild or tribe like mentality among networkers because it used to be impossible to get advanced hands on experience without already working in the field and having access to gear (or money to spend on rack rentals that used to be a lot more expensive than they are now, if I'm correctly informed). Since the late 2000s anyone can read the books and configure and do whatever they want. This is perceived, incorrectly, as skipping the usually process of paying your dues in order to get access to more advanced training. Software development has never had this problem because anyone has always been able to train themselves as long as they owned a computer. Is this plausible?
  • ccnpninjaccnpninja Senior Member EuropePosts: 1,008Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Dieg0M wrote: »
    I would study and get better in a skill that will help you further yourself in your current job.
    I second that.
    من طلب عزائم الأمور ، هان عليه بذل النفس فيها - محمد إبن ابي عامر
    www.keyboardbanger.com
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    fredrikjj wrote: »
    But why is that when there isn't the same bias against people getting high level degrees? Let's say that someone is getting a MSc in software engineering and their final year they do some very advanced project for their thesis. I get the impression that this is looked on favourably but almost everyone. If someone acquires advanced knowledge of routing protocols and other such things on their own, then takes some exam, why is that different? I seems completely arbitrary to me.


    I can't speak for everyone obviously, but personally I believe that if you are going to be a certified expert in something you should have at least touched it in a production environment.

    fredrikjj wrote: »
    PS.
    The cynic in me wants to attribute it to a guild or tribe like mentality among networkers because it used to be impossible to get advanced hands on experience without already working in the field and having access to gear (or money to spend on rack rentals that used to be a lot more expensive than they are now, if I'm correctly informed). Since the late 2000s anyone can read the books and configure and do whatever they want. This is perceived, incorrectly, as skipping the usually process of paying your dues in order to get access to more advanced training. Software development has never had this problem because anyone has always been able to train themselves as long as they owned a computer. Is this plausible?

    I'm sure there are people with this mentality out there. There has been decent training material around since I've been in the field (not quite as good as today though) though so I can't really speak to that.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • tomtom1tomtom1 Posts: 375Member
    Thanks for the replies everyone. It seems I misjudged the amount of networking that can be done in my current position (or at the company as a whole, they outsource most of the networking such as the BGP routing to their ISP). I think whilst working here, I'll be looking to see if any interesting jobs come up to build up some further networking experience to one day perhaps gain the CCIE certification together with the real world experience. In the meantime I'll at least finish up on my CCNP and start the theoretical study for the IE.

    It'll at least keep us busy, right? icon_study.gif
  • chrisonechrisone CISSP, eCPPT, CCNP RS, CCDP, CCNA SEC, LFCS Posts: 1,818Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Obtaining your CCIE is an experience in itself that many employers will appreciate. You are bound to get a pretty good job regardless of your experience. However why are you worried about getting a job? Arent you a Sr. Network Engineer ? Dude that is very impressive already. You can't get any higher than that, unless you go for a management position. If you go for management then your CCIE wont help you much. The next best thing is to work for a cisco gold partner or for cisco and specialize in a technology you are trying to stay focused on.
    2019 Goals:
    Courses: Real World Red Team Attacks- AppSec Cali 2019 (complete), Active Directory Attacks for Red and Blue Teams Advanced Edition - BlackHat,
    Certs: SLAE, Certified Red Team Professional - Pentester Academy (in progress), Certified Red Team Expert - Pentester Academy
  • powmiapowmia Posts: 322Users Awaiting Email Confirmation
    chrisone wrote: »
    Obtaining your CCIE is an experience in itself that many employers will appreciate. You are bound to get a pretty good job regardless of your experience. However why are you worried about getting a job? Arent you a Sr. Network Engineer ? Dude that is very impressive already. You can't get any higher than that, unless you go for a management position. If you go for management then your CCIE wont help you much. The next best thing is to work for a cisco gold partner or for cisco and specialize in a technology you are trying to stay focused on.

    Not true. Principal/Lead Enginner, Senior Pricipal Enginner, Practice Director, Architect, Distinguished Engineer (in no particular order) are all technical positions that are higher than a Senior Network Engineer. They may be classified as management level in some organizations, but those positions don't typically come with direct reports. The difference is that a CCIE alone won't typically get you anything higher than Senior Engineer, while experience making decisions that affect a business, designing, mentoring, etc will push you to those next levels.
  • tomtom1tomtom1 Posts: 375Member
    chrisone wrote: »
    Arent you a Sr. Network Engineer ?

    Well, rather a (sr.) system engineer. However, that's just a title and I don't Looking to expand my expertise in the networking part. I just mailed some contacts in the ISP world, perhaps they're looking for some people. In the meantime I'll at least finish up my NP. Thanks for the comments, again.
  • chrisonechrisone CISSP, eCPPT, CCNP RS, CCDP, CCNA SEC, LFCS Posts: 1,818Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    AHHHH! Sorry didnt see the Systems Engineer icon_neutral.gif I dont know why I skimmed through it and thought I had read Network Engineer. Anyhow, I would suggest continuing with your CCIE. There is no such thing as studying and gaining in your expertise as being a negative. You should NEVER EVER! wait for someone to hand you a job or for someone to just give you something. Go out there and get it my friend! For those who want to wait on their careers, let them continue to wait, while the go getters find all the jobs.
    2019 Goals:
    Courses: Real World Red Team Attacks- AppSec Cali 2019 (complete), Active Directory Attacks for Red and Blue Teams Advanced Edition - BlackHat,
    Certs: SLAE, Certified Red Team Professional - Pentester Academy (in progress), Certified Red Team Expert - Pentester Academy
  • alan2308alan2308 CISSP, MCSA 2008, MCSA 2012, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security Ann Arbor, MIPosts: 1,854Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    fredrikjj wrote: »
    Software development has never had this problem because anyone has always been able to train themselves as long as they owned a computer. Is this plausible?

    True, but a hobbyist developer can distribute their work, find users and get their feedback (bug reports, feature requests, etc). Linux was one mans hobby before IBM and SGI realized its potential. NOt really enterprise development for most hobbyists, but still a lot closer than I can get with a stack of routers in the lab.
  • spicy ahispicy ahi Posts: 413Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    "Just Do It." -Nike icon_thumright.gif
    Spicy :cool: Mentor the future! Be a CyberPatriot!
  • Heracles004Heracles004 Posts: 50Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    In my opinion I would say that you study and strive for a higher level of understanding. Shoot for the CCIE, maybe you make it maybe you dont. Either way you are much smarter than when you started. My last assignment was heavy in networking but my current job is senior management in IA so I spend tons of time on literature and home labs, I fully intend on receiving a CCIE one day but it may or not be while working in a networking position. My only caveat is that if you get your CCIE and you dont have much work experience just be honest about it. Eventually you will find the company that will fit for you.
  • KelkinKelkin Posts: 261Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Honestly thou.. If you worried about being stereotyped because of lack of experience and holding any high level certification.. Simply don't mention you have it.. and I totally agree with Heracles... rather it would be all personal study with no experience or a combination of study/experience.. you will be a smarter, better engineer for the pursuit..
  • JobeneJobene Posts: 63Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    you will get an interview with a ccie ! but the question is will you come out successfully? remeber high certification high level off question ;)
  • AwesomeGarrettAwesomeGarrett Posts: 257Member
    Wow, a lot of mixed feelings on this one.

    I think that because we're passionate about our studies and technology we often forget about the competition in the real world, the competition that doesn't always keep their skills sharp. If you earn your CCIE and have around five years experience don't expect to be setting up networks on the ISS and pulling down 200-300k a year. However, if you earned your CCIE with around five years of experience and you know your stuff then a Senior role while pulling 110k should not be a problem.

    I always say, it's not that I'm so good it's that the competition is just that bad.

    Maybe I'm just keeping my ego in check, who knows.
  • nagica22nagica22 Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Dear tomtom1,

    Go ahead for CCIE and note that even if you don't have experience at all still some companies are ready to hire you and pay you a lot of money since they are going to get considerable discount from Cisco.
    Project Engieer,
    Certification: ITIL, CCNA R&S, CCNP Route
  • HeeroHeero Posts: 486Member
    Go for it. It will be hard especially with your relative lack of experience compared to most people that pursue the CCIE, but you will learn a lot. If you are already working and gaining experience in networking, it can't hurt you to start studying for it now. If you didn't have a job in networking, my first piece of advice would be to focus on getting a networking job first.
  • silalavalsilalaval Posts: 33Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Go for it.... The worst thing that can happen is that you have learnt, practided a lot and became a better engineer.

    I am doing the same... I manage a medium network (ciscos) but guess what? Its a production environment and you don't change it everyday so I dont get to punch all the fancy and nice commands all the time.

    Even if you work 100% on network I doubt you get the chance to use all the technology with all the detail covered on a CCIE exam.

    I am studying hard Switch, Route and then cover the material for CCIE and I dont consider it a waste of time a money... Even if I fail, with the amount of study and lab time, I will be a better engineer... And I willl keep trying and moving forward.
  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Posts: 1,025Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Tom, have you considered following the CCIE Data Center track? It would be a lot more in line with your current job experience, and I can tell you right now, the hands on UCS experience is the first thing that most people on that track are lacking, and would kill for (trying to schedule ucs rack rentals at the major providers is crazy).

    I'm coming from the systems side too, and have already passed my written and have my lab scheduled for April. It's definitely something to consider, based on what you're doing and what you have access to.

    Even if you decide to go with networking, the certification would be helpful both towards getting your foot in the door, and towards learning useful stuff. Off the top of my head, think it's something like (at a high level), 30% Nexus, 30% UCS, 20% MDS, 10% troubleshooting, 10% ACE. ACE is EOL, but still useful, and the rest gives you a great coverage of pretty much everything from the edge of the datacenter on in.
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Posts: 464Member
    Well, when I got my first networking job, I had the CCNA already, and have never touched a physical switch before, but I definetly knew how to do stuff, so that went way easier.
    After that (1 year or so) I got a data center network/security engineering job at a MSP, got CCNP certified and got a great tech background (stayed there for a little amount of time btw), but got A LOT of experience seeing and doing real stuff while I was studying the concepts and labbing. Before implementing OSPF in a real enviroment, for example, I had already labbed it like 200 times, so actually for me what you have is not the important thing, but what you WILL have in the future.
    If you have access to nexus and ucs stuff, that's great, but if you dont have it and try to get the concepts and even get it virtualized or something, thats all you need. Nobody needs to know that...just get **** done and no one will say anything about how you got your skills ;)

    Just a few words of a 23 year old boy who is starting to get everything ready for CCIE studies.
  • colemiccolemic Posts: 1,568Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    From a motivation perspective, I would say that if you are prepared to invest in the resources needed (a LOT of time), then press onwards and upwards - as we all know, life has a knack for getting in the way down the road. If you are in a position to pursue it, I would.
    Working on: CCSP, definitely, maybe. On the twitters: @mcole1008
  • tomtom1tomtom1 Posts: 375Member
    Truth be told, also based on your advice I started to look into getting back into networking. Happy to report that I'm about to sign the job offer for a level 3 position at a datacenter / MSP where I and 1 colleague wil mainly be handling the networking side of things. So it will mean a lot of exposure to MPLS, VPLS, BGP and OSPF (IGP) as they mainly run those protocols. I'm also glad that I can also help the team out with my skills and knowledge gained at the VMware side of things.

    However, my main focus for the coming months after I sign and settle in a bit will be the Juniper track, since they lean heavily on MX and SRX based routers. I'm really looking forward to it! I think this is what I've been searching for, which is a mixture of working with everything I've learned so far and gaining new knowledge!
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