When you've chased your profession rainbow and identified that pot of gold, what would you do with it then? You could invest it, save it, use it or lose it. This option and all of those options are accessible to all specialist qualification candidates chasing the certification pot of gold and I am no exception. This post is aimed at network engineers, especially those walking the CCIE road. But the post is generic adequate to be applicable to most IT pros.Because I started my profession in IT in 1992 I generally hoped to be greater than the next guy. I tried tough to understand and started to take specialist IT exams to prove to myself that I did know that which I hoped I knew.In the 90's the dominant network operating system of the time was Novell Netware and I achieved my CNE qualification in Netware four.1 in 1996 by passing 5 exams over 12 months. So why did I want to pass it? Well it was to prove I knew what I believed I knew. I also required to get out of my present job and move on for greater challenge and (fingers crossed) much more dollars. So when I identified a new job did I move for the dollars? Well I got a fair spend rise but identified I had moved mostly for the challenge. In the new location I got my hands dirty with networking and *nix rather than just as a hobby. After that exposure my next role was with NT and SGI Irix. I passed the MCSE and Solaris/Irix admin exams. Spin forward yet another 12 months and once again a job move into full-time unix and networking. I sat and passed the CCNA and then I was promoted to a team leader role. I cherish those days. I had time to study and dollars wasn't so required as it is presently. The location I worked valued expertise in it's staff and invested well in our time.So now we move onto my rainbow story, the Cisco CCIE. Ever because 1998 or so and surely following 2001 when I met my very first true CCIE it was my challenge to pass the 'pinnacle exam'. I had generally wanted to do my greatest in whatever role I identified myself and so far points had worked out fairly well, but I generally felt I could do greater and had (have) tiny self-confidence in my potential. The CCIE felt like the ultimate challenge, my peers placed considerable kudos in those 4 letters and so I created it my 'unrealistic goal'. I spent the next 5 years finding to grips with networking, I sat and passed the CCNP track then the CCIP and CCSP but I did not have the self-confidence in my potential to go for the CCIE for yet another 2 years.In 2 007 I sat the CCIE exam for the very first time in Brussels. It was a amazing day and I loved just about every minute. I wasn't prepared to pass and I knew it prior to I went. The issue about the CCIE exam is when you've paid you can not back out without paying the dollars anyway...when you write your name in the sand you want to be prepared to see it through. I resigned myself to enjoying the day and finding the most out of it. Apart from anything I hoped to have a day out of the office, doing something I loved with likeminded many people and (this is the greatest portion) get a damn superior meal out of it.I did fail, or course I did. I got a middle score and surely much more than I deserved. In the finish I sat the CCIE practical exam three times prior to I passed and the day I passed I knew it was mine, indeed it felt a lot less complicated. The typical CCIE candidate takes three times to pass the CCiE so I guess that makes me, well typical. Absolutely my youngsters, wif e, residence, stressful job and 3hour commute owe something to my typical score but then once again, I am blessed and fortunate to have such 'distractions'. I chased the rainbow, identified the gold, and had a amazing journey. So is it over for me? Not at all. The next challenge is just around the corner. Absolutely Cisco believe so as they now have two even higher challenges than the CCIE for anyone who wishes to try. One particular issue is for positive although, in IT there are roads to travel and as one door closes yet another one opens. Absolutely my story has lots of twists and I am thankful for the opportunities I have had. I like to feel regularly that I am fortunate, but my wife says "No, you make your personal luck".Just before we move on to the possibilities section I just wanted to cover off the 'use it or lose it rule'. Absolutely for me, expertise has been tough earned so when I come across that something I when knew has left my head by one of holes (frequently the ears) I get annoyed with myself for forgetting. This nevertheless is one of the tragic guidelines in life and one which will stick to you in your personal profession. As a Netware guy iI believed I knew it all. I could load a Netware three.12 server without the startup files, I knew just about every module and even the arguments to get it operating optimally. Could I do it now? Not a chance, but it doesn't matter because Netware 2.12 is no much more, time moves on. Don't be afraid of adjust, try to embrace it and do not be scared to forget what you have learned. Do not be reticent of the expertise you have lost. The books you when read are nonetheless with you, only the detail is less vivid. The advice you processed into expertise will echo on and serve you well.Your profession will move you around and that is a superior issue. Do you want to start off as a network engineer at 18 and operate as a network engineer until you are 70? Get knowledge in lots of points, start off out with a broad brush. As my old schoolmaster said "At the start off of your operating life be a do-er of all points and a master of none". As you progress through the myriad of roles in your field you will naturally be attracted to specific points which will allow you to specialise and become an specialist. As an specialist you will become the 'go to' person inside your sphere of influence which will give you self-confidence and get you noticed. Just recall to not become distracted by the points you are forgetting, as you understand new points the old points will become less clear in your memory. I come across it frustrating and I am positive you will too but do not let it hinder progress, you can not do everything. My consolation for plenty of years has been my superior buddy Dave A who tells me regularly when I doubt myself, "Don't be concerned, you've forgotten much more than they know".I wish you all the highly greatest of luck chasing your rainbows. - Rich Choice #1 - MoneyIt makes the world go round of course but dollars is also what we want to survive. The price of living goes up and our facility to invest also grows with time. One particular highly frequent saying is "the much more you earn, the much more you owe". As you develop in your profession you 'should' earn much more. It is a self fulfilling prophesy and your individual option will be greed or satisfaction. As you go up the job ladder at some point you will out develop your spend scale as an engineer and the 'manager' in you could possibly be exploited. If job satisfaction is your aim and you are technical then management must be the final resort ( see option four). If you come across your self being the highest spend grade you can be as a network engineer and want a fresh challenge then have a appear for style roles or else move to a bigger corporation with a bigger network. Selection is following all 'the spice of life'.Choice #2 - SatisfactionMoving up a grade in your present role is generally satisfying. New levels of trust equals larger spend and (hopefully) a much more fulfilling role. Technically and practically speaking a CCNP must be doing greater operate than a CCNA in the identical team in the identical corporation. It is fairly clear in most circumstances nevertheless that proving your worth with qualifications is not generally an indicator of being a greater engineer BUT it is clear that qualifications are required when it comes to finding a new job. To my mind job satisfaction comes from possessing busy and challenging days. Regardless of whether you are just at the start off of a profession or you have carved out your niche, if you are content you are productive. Attempt not to settle for the mundane, mediocre or easy. To my mind, a slow day is a lost day. My Father-in-law tells me regularly, "Rich, on your death bed you will not appear back on your life and wish you had spent 15mins longer in meetings each day"..a highly sens ible man I feel you will agree. Be productive and effective in your operate by all signifies but be content in your life. Because operate makes up such a enormous portion of your life, you want to make positive you are doing the right job. I recall being in a job interview when where the HR director went nuts for saying 'Work/life balance". Why? Well given that she believed saying it that way round prejudiced life in the equation. To paraphrase the conversation, "It must be Life very first, I feel you want to revaluate what is very important to you".Choice #three - ResponsibilitySo you want much more responsibility and you are studying tough so you get that next greater role? That is amazing. Of course you hope that the next role will imply much more focus technically but it could possibly also include a leadership responsibility. You will have responsibility for your personal operate and those operating with you. You will now a mentor and so the individual development of th e members in your team is your responsibility. It is down to you that they know what they are doing and the buck stops with you if anyone on your team screws up. So it is in your greatest interest that your team are well skilled. This signifies you want to develop your team and give them responsibility...wait...yes that is correct...your team are developing and they want your job...time to operate tough and move on.Choice #four - Management or LeadershipMost many people don't know the distinction in between these two roles but they are practically in juxtaposition. As far as I can recall a manager is a person who takes tiny to no responsibility for the delivery process but lives or dies by the result (occasionally). A leader is a person who takes responsibility for the delivery process and cares about the result but superior or bad learns, grows and engenders a 'team'. I have identified in my knowledge that there are two forms of engineers, frustrated managerial wannabes in it for the ladder ride and the others are students of expertise. It is a individual challenge to determine if you are a manager or not. As you develop, specially in a bigger corporation, it is probably the moment will come where you are asked to determine your approach. All I would add here is that the greatest engineers don't necessarily make the greatest managers, they care too much about the item.Choice #5 - Stagnate or Re-generateConsider your role presently and feel of this, "The 'Top 10' most in-demand roles in IT presently did NOT exist 5 years ago". So if you want to move on in your profession you want to keep an eye on what is going on and not be too precious about the past. I've worked in areas where the dinosaurs nonetheless roam zero cost. That old PBX guy that used to tough wire in the telephone extensions is likely nonetheless in your location but maybe he (she) is the odd job person. The role has moved away from them and through complacency or fear they are le ft behind. Do you want to be a dinosaur or worse nonetheless King Canute? Do not stand in front of the tide given that the present can be strong and will wash you away. In your small business try to look at new approaches to old challenges. No matter how tough you come across it to adjust, at least look at it, do not be un-necessarily stubborn or the 'No person'. Getting said that read the word I used....'consider'. In some cases it isn't required to adjust or re-invent the wheel. I've personally seen millions burned on projects which deliver tiny or no much more benefit than the old system. Modify for alterations sake is not superior adjust. To close here is the obligatory 'Jerry's Final Thought'. Contemplate your challenges, check with on adjust with your peers, investigate greatest practice in other organisations and ultimately stick to your personal path. In the finish I come across happiness in the roles I have chosen to put myself in.
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