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EOD thoughts

What learning networking and investing in stocks have in common

Due to a twist of fate I got knee deep in SND, Automation and Orchestration. These are topics that I have wanted to study for a long time but my commitment to studying the CCIE Routing and Switching topics stopped me from doing that. The opportunity that was offered to me was to good to pass and here I am, again not finishing my studies (again!) and re focusing my efforts on the above so trendy topics. I must admit that this was not pure chance, my Unix/Linux experience and my Python and automation scripting and my previous work helped me to get where I am today.

Now that the introduction is done, here is what I actually wanted to comment on in this post: only after getting a closer look at these topics I realized how far from reality is the way we study for CCIE R&S.  “The network CLI is dying” article by Greg Ferro describes in essence the reasons why I see studying for Routing and Switching lab obsolete. In short I would say that the way the R&S Lab test is designed becomes obsolete in an era of SDN and SDN controllers, automation and orchestration. It is like trying to program in Assembler when you have Python.

Besides the above points, somebody who looks at the current networking technologies landscape with an open mind (as opposite to a brain washed one vendor devoted mind) must realize that putting all your money/career on one horse/vendor is a risky decision. With so many Evolving technologies knowing Routing and Switching becomes just fundamentals and these are far from what is required these days from a Network expert. Becoming an expert in Cisco R&S CLI (because this is what you become after passing the lab) to the level that you will be able to write coherent router configs on a whiteboard without looking into a manual sounds slightly primitive and obsolete when you have something like SDN.

Don’t get me wrong. A Cisco router or switch (more exactly the IOS running on them) will remain an excellent piece of technology and Cisco is and will be a strong market leader on a couple of segments.

For this reason I think that for learning and skills going with one vendor is like putting all your money in one stock. The “One vendor” position is a short one and the network engineers that own that stock only will become a disposable, these days you must fight hard to become an asset for a company and not a commodity.


Be careful with your investments!

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