Sunday, January 18, 2009

One year CCIE - Was it worth it?

Today i got the following email from Cisco reminding me of my CCIE recertification:

Dear XXX:

Our records show your CCIE recertification deadline, January 18 2010, is approaching. We want to encourage you to prepare for and schedule one of the available CCIE written exams to satisfy the recertification requirement.

CCIEs are required to pass one written exam within the 24 months preceding their current recertification deadline. You may either retake the written exam for your track, or attempt a different written exam. A passing score on any written exam will satisfy the requirement for recertification. If you haven't yet, this can be a good opportunity to attempt a second CCIE certification.

So what happened/changed during the last year (as a CCIE) in my life?
  • I have halved my free time
  • I have changed my way of thinking (broad when designing, tight when implementing)
  • I have taken responsibility for almost 500 devices (routers & switches)
  • I have seen my role as a network engineer being put aside
  • I have seen my role as a network designer/architect being put in front
  • I have read more RFCs than all the previous 10 years
  • I have read all (and implemented many parts of) Solution Reference Network Designs (SRNDs) @
  • I have heard many of my colleagues making fun of my CCIE number. Mr 19xxx (thx God they don't remember it) :-P
  • I have changed ~20% of the standard config (mostly regarding security & management) of my company's routers/switches
  • I have created per-service templates for different parts of my company's routers/switches configurations
  • I have opened ~15 service requests @Cisco; half of them proved bugs, while the other half came out as hw/sw limitations (i'm still not happy with tac's service)
  • I have practiced my mind to find better solutions in shorter times (that of course means more work)
  • I have indicated at least 20 documentation corrections/improvements @ (but many more pages still suffer)
  • I have converted all my network -Visio made- designs to much better/cleaner ones based on templates (thx to Michael Morris for the idea)
  • I have found 5 major improvements for my company's internal network (too bad 2 of them were outside my section)
  • I have designed one of the best modules for our internal NMS (but i feel sorry for the guys who implemented it)
  • I have bought 10 new books (but read only 3 of them)
  • I have made a few enemies in my company (the ones who are afraid of loosing their job in a specific section)
  • I have made a lot of fellows in my company (the ones who want to follow my path)
  • I have found out what each IOS command does (regarding the devices i'm responsible and their current configuration)
  • I have seen my 2008 annual salary almost doubling due to bonus and the new monthly salary (thx to the previous Chief Technical Director)
  • I have gotten tenths of emails/posts asking for IOS software (for use in dynamips)
  • I have implemented EEM/ESM/ERM/EOT on many parts of my company's network (thx to Ivan Pepelnjak for many ideas)
  • I have completed 2 grand major projects sooner than expected
  • I have gotten an "offer/proposal" from local Cisco for becoming an instructor
  • I have met a lot of interesting people (bloggers & twitters)
  • I have saved a few bucks on various registrations
  • I have spent a lof of bucks on various seminars
  • I have seen the number of CCIEs increase by 3350 (9 CCIEs per day!)
  • I have met the geek love of my life
  • But i still haven't been married!!!

Did the CCIE make me a better human? Probably No!

Did the -path to the- CCIE make me a better engineer? Definitely Yes!

Was it worth it? Would i do it again? YES! YES (probably in less than 3 months) ;)


  1. That's 3 months of dedication for a lifetime of payoff. Great work.

  2. Have to say I find your posts and the little you let us in on about your life very inspiring...

  3. Paul, besides those 3 months of dedication, there were many years of working experience. I just wanted to make clear that it's very difficult (if not impossible) to get the CCIE with only 3 months of preparation.

  4. Greetings from Greece. ;)

    I wanted to congratulate you for your success. Im giving my second attempt in May and your story has inspired me to try even harder.


  5. Tassos,

    I'm interested in the template you are using for your Visio diagrams. Could you send me an email when you get a chance?

    Ted Kim
    CCIE #22769

  6. Hi bud,
    Do you have any QoS quickie / shortcuts?
    My lab date is in Feb 2009 and I am having problem with it.

    I found a good blog where QoS is possible in 10 minutes:

    I am looking for similar blog.


  7. @Nick, καλή επιτυχία στην 2η προσπάθειά σου φίλε.

    @Ted, i'll probably make a post regarding my visio templates. Do not expect anything fancy though.

    @Anonymous, i dislike using all these automated commands that do things behind your back. It maybe useful in every-day work, but i don't think they were introduced for CCIEs. After all, i believe you have more than enough time to do your lab, if you really know your stuff.

  8. Hi there great blog by the way. I am fellow greek guy that I reside in the US for the past 13 years. I am a security engineer and currently working on my ccie. In my mind I always have greece and I hope that some time I will come back. My question to you since you are working on the Greek market what a security engineer architect compensates? and also what a realistic salary would be after I pass my ccie in security?

    Thank you in advance

  9. Dimitris, i wouldn't recommend to return to Greece if you're interested about money. The Greek market doesn't offer so many chances as abroad and what counts most here is experience.

    Security is a very interesting market by itself and one of the specialities with an assured future. Maybe local enterprise companies with management in abroad would be the best solution for you.

    Good luck in your CCIE.

  10. Do you know what is the life outside from your mind?

  11. Congratulations.... spend money for papers of nothing...

  12. You're probably right about the papers, but the experience gained is more than enough to justify it.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Greece License.