Specialist or Generalist

NullCodeNullCode Member Posts: 72 ■■□□□□□□□□
Hi Guys,

Well it seems i argued with a friend of mine, and we couldn't find a solution. What do you think? Should you be a generalist or a specialist in Networking ?

Two situations:
1. Specialist: Become a specialist in CCIE R&S
2. Generalist: Learn as much as you at the Professional Level(routing, security, voice, wireless etc)

Well i suggest situation 1, because you will do a lot of stuff with greater complexity.
But situation 2 sounds good too, with a lot of information, you can better find the solution of a problem. You won't be able to design a good Network Architecture if you do not know a lot about ASA/Call Manager/WLAN controllers etc.

What is you opinion?

Comments

  • ehndeehnde Member Posts: 1,103
    NullCode wrote: »
    Hi Guys,

    Well it seems i argued with a friend of mine, and we couldn't find a solution. What do you think? Should you be a generalist or a specialist in Networking ?

    Two situations:
    1. Specialist: Become a specialist in CCIE R&S
    2. Generalist: Learn as much as you at the Professional Level(routing, security, voice, wireless etc)

    Well i suggest situation 1, because you will do a lot of stuff with greater complexity.
    But situation 2 sounds good too, with a lot of information, you can better find the solution of a problem. You won't be able to design a good Network Architecture if you do not know a lot about ASA/Call Manager/WLAN controllers etc.

    What is you opinion?

    These specialties are available at the CCIE level as well.
    Climb a mountain, tell no one.
  • Mojo_666Mojo_666 Member Posts: 438
    NullCode wrote: »
    Hi Guys,

    Well it seems i argued with a friend of mine, and we couldn't find a solution. What do you think? Should you be a generalist or a specialist in Networking ?

    Two situations:
    1. Specialist: Become a specialist in CCIE R&S
    2. Generalist: Learn as much as you at the Professional Level(routing, security, voice, wireless etc)

    Well i suggest situation 1, because you will do a lot of stuff with greater complexity.
    But situation 2 sounds good too, with a lot of information, you can better find the solution of a problem. You won't be able to design a good Network Architecture if you do not know a lot about ASA/Call Manager/WLAN controllers etc.

    What is you opinion?

    Not quite the right forum for me as I am a MCSE type but for me it really depends on where you work (Geography) I am in the UK and if you work in or arround London then you can be a specialist, pretty much anywhere else and you have to be a generalist, you cannot simply get the work if you cannot turn your hand to many things, the same rules apply to networking and coding as in my field.
  • ehndeehnde Member Posts: 1,103
    I've noticed many pros suggesting starting with routing and switching then branching out from there. They say R&S provides a very good foundation.
    Climb a mountain, tell no one.
  • mikearamamikearama Member Posts: 749
    NullCode wrote: »
    Well it seems i argued with a friend of mine, and we couldn't find a solution.

    That's because in opinion-type questions, there's never one cut-and-dried answer.

    Having said that, I believe there's a middle ground between option 1 and 2. Why not be a specialist in one area, like R&S, with "side" knowledge of Voice and Wireless??? Let's call that one Option 3.
    There are only 10 kinds of people... those who understand binary, and those that don't.

    CCIE Studies: Written passed: Jan 21/12 Lab Prep: Hours reading: 385. Hours labbing: 110

    Taking a time-out to add the CCVP. Capitalizing on a current IPT pilot project.
  • mikej412mikej412 Member Posts: 10,086 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Depends on your environment.

    Someone working for a Cisco Business Partner may be a generalist -- but the knowledge and skills they've developed working at different customer sites in several different areas might put the skills of a specialist at a big slow moving bureaucratic company to shame.

    You may start as a generalist -- in so far as the new guy/gal in their first job generally gets the tasks that the other people who've been there longer don't want to do. icon_lol.gif

    Then you may specialize as you move up the food chain to maximize the money you earn -- or at least move into an area that will offer more job security (like security, since a lot of people think that can't be outsource).

    I like option 3 the best.
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • shodownshodown Member Posts: 2,271
    ehnde wrote: »
    I've noticed many pros suggesting starting with routing and switching then branching out from there. They say R&S provides a very good foundation.


    I agree. My 1st real IT job out the military was as a voice support engineer and I was way behind for serveral months and left behind. Solving voip problems was easy, but I struggled with IP reach ability. We had a few gateways that had BGP connectivity all over the place. Time spent at another NOC and then onto WAN engineer has made me a way better VOIP guy than before. One of the Old timers made a comment about VOIP guys not understanding the technology below there phones and that is so true.
    Currently Reading

    CUCM SRND 9x/10, UCCX SRND 10x, QOS SRND, SIP Trunking Guide, anything contact center related
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I would learn routing and switching first and then branch out into what ever you want to specialize in.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • chrisonechrisone Senior Member Member Posts: 2,207 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I would like to be a generalist with a specialist skill set in a certain technology.

    END OF DEBATE!icon_thumright.gif
    Certs: CISSP, OSCP, CRTP, eCTHPv2, eCPPT, eCIR, LFCS, CEH, AZ-900, VHL:Advanced+, Retired Cisco CCNP/SP/DP
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    Courses: eLearnSecurity - PTXv2 (complete), SANS 699: Purple Team Tactics (completed), PentesterLabs Pro (ongoing)
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  • NullCodeNullCode Member Posts: 72 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hi Guys,

    Well my thinking is that we cannot be good at everything. So my best bet is to be good at 1 thing and know a few about each domain.
    I wanted to ask mikj412(CCNP CCIP CCSP CCVP CCDP) and people like him. I see you have a lot of certifications at Professional, why did you choose to do CCSP and CCVP and not maybe a CCIE in R&S? (of course, maybe the employer you worked for requested that), but how much of ASA, Call Manager, BGP and MPLS do you really do in real life ?

    I mean it looks like you are a really smart fellow(i know you are:) ), but from the vast knowledge that you have, do you really have time to work with everything ?
    I mean would you have been better off learning for CCIE instead of, let's say CCVP ?
    Yea, the range of skills will get smaller but more complex(here i mean, you won't know Voice, but you will know a lot more about R&S).
    What is your experience, since i see here that you work for a company and you have some years of experience in the field?

    Of course this question applies to all.
  • cisco_certscisco_certs Member Posts: 119
    NullCode wrote: »
    Hi Guys,

    Well my thinking is that we cannot be good at everything. So my best bet is to be good at 1 thing and know a few about each domain.
    I wanted to ask mikj412(CCNP CCIP CCSP CCVP CCDP) and people like him. I see you have a lot of certifications at Professional, why did you choose to do CCSP and CCVP and not maybe a CCIE in R&S? (of course, maybe the employer you worked for requested that), but how much of ASA, Call Manager, BGP and MPLS do you really do in real life ?

    I mean it looks like you are a really smart fellow(i know you are:) ), but from the vast knowledge that you have, do you really have time to work with everything ?
    I mean would you have been better off learning for CCIE instead of, let's say CCVP ?
    Yea, the range of skills will get smaller but more complex(here i mean, you won't know Voice, but you will know a lot more about R&S).
    What is your experience, since i see here that you work for a company and you have some years of experience in the field?

    Of course this question applies to all.

    I also have the same question. are we better off to be on the market to have multiple NP's and not have 1 CCIE? there has to be a reason why you stayed in NP's rather than pursuing ccie. I think mike said one of the forum that he has 20 years experience in cisco. correct me if im wrong.
  • shodownshodown Member Posts: 2,271
    I personally hate the specialist certifications. I know this is different than what this thread is about, but I'm just replying to the guys above. The thing is that in the CCVP for example you are learning more a product line than a technology. You have the CVOICE and the QOS exams where you learn a technology(those are being combined btw) and the other ones you are learning a product. This gives you a less transferable skills set imo. My love is doing voice, but I still chose to do my CCNP and will do CCIE RnS over anything going into another technology. My boss is pushing the VP, so I hope someone steps up while I work my RnS. Thats my 2 cents on it all.
    Currently Reading

    CUCM SRND 9x/10, UCCX SRND 10x, QOS SRND, SIP Trunking Guide, anything contact center related
  • cisco_certscisco_certs Member Posts: 119
    mikej412 wrote: »
    Depends on your environment.

    Someone working for a Cisco Business Partner may be a generalist -- but the knowledge and skills they've developed working at different customer sites in several different areas might put the skills of a specialist at a big slow moving bureaucratic company to shame.

    You may start as a generalist -- in so far as the new guy/gal in their first job generally gets the tasks that the other people who've been there longer don't want to do. icon_lol.gif

    Then you may specialize as you move up the food chain to maximize the money you earn -- or at least move into an area that will offer more job security (like security, since a lot of people think that can't be outsource).

    I like option 3 the best.

    What technology do you think that cant be outsource?

    I thought security can't be outsource since US govt will never trust any other countries when it comes to security. I mean it does make sense right? US govt will only trust US citizens when it comes to network security. what's your opinion on this? I'm also thinking doing security in the long run...
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Outsourcing is not offshoring. It doesn't matter if you lose to the guy across the street or across the globe that's why its best to have knowledge in more than one area.
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Member Posts: 4,024
    network is such a broad area, that I don't think you can help being a generalist, even if you don't want to admit it.

    Even if your focus is in one area, it's good to keep your hands in multiple things. An adaptable skillset is very valuable in the market place.

    Otherwise you end up like a COBOL programmer - basically unemployable until a company realizes they need one RIGHT FREAKING NOW
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