Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

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The interviews–indeed this is how it is

I must admit that after so many contract positions and after seeing so many people being more or less up to the role that they were playing, the below picture is true in one situation: when the interviewer does not have what it takes to recognize a person who improved himself or herself by learning. What we learn does not stick with us forever, we forget if we do not use. What sticks with us from one role to the other from one level to the other, is those work habits, that thinking that is characteristic to the people who are able to evolve and who understand that knowledge is relative and becomes obsolete quite easily. What must be tested in the interviews is the aptitude to learn, to transform, to evolve, to look at yourself with a critical eye and to see where you need to improve and where you need to work with you to become a better person, a solid thinking, a critical thinking, objectivity and many others. I have not met many people able to look at this but yes the unicorns do exist.

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Note to the Cisco employees who are reading this blog

Dear Cisco employees who are avid readers of this poorly written blog

Thank you for reading this blog. As noted below I take it that you are reading …I don’t have lots of fans, a handful of them and you seem to be  devoted ones Smile. Since you read the below linked article I also take it that is your duty to inform your employer so I won’t bother. I never planned to do so but at least now nobody can accuse me of not letting Cisco know Smile . I am not in the business of hurting people so for now I am not going to disclose anything but if it comes down to defending my statements I will do it. As far as I am concerned I am more focused on the fact that this is possible and it has social implications. As stated before the reputation of this certification is not my concern and if you choose to act on the above it should be for your company’s own benefit. From my point of view I now consider that I have hard evidences to support my statements and I would like to believe that I mostly speak here about facts, first hand knowledge - - [08/Dec/2016:08:50:34 -0500] "GET /index.php HTTP/1.1" 200 14634 "http://www.1001qa.net/" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/54.0.2840.99 Safari/537.36" - - [08/Dec/2016:08:52:20 -0500] "GET /index.php/others/rants/120-update HTTP/1.1" 200 9200 "http://www.1001qa.net/index.php" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/54.0.2840.99 Safari/537.36"




A couple of months ago I was working hard on completing my CCIE R&S studies so I can finally go for the written. At that time I was finishing BGP and I was looking forward to reviewing my 2 years old notes for QoS,Multicast,Security and Network services. In the mean time I was offered a Network Architect contract position with a well known Canadian company and I am now getting up to speed with Data Center topics and Cloud topics. Life sucks when it comes to planning it. No matter what I have ever planned well ahead, it all went in a different direction, good or bad, so here I am doing something that I like but something that I did not plan to.

Should I have rejected the opportunity ? I don’t think so.. Is it a bad thing that I stopped my studying? I don’t know yet but it seems that this is not meant to be, to happen, me going for CCIE R&S. 

Anyway..the problem is that in the mean time I went sour, very sour on this cert. I am working with 3 CCIEs at this moment. The scope of the work is architecture and high level design. No rocket science but the nature of the work and the environment still requires professional maturity and experience and that you do not get with a paper. No other comments …  You might wonder what turned me sour on this … Well I have spoken with one of these guys and I have discovered that there is a tenebrous underground network that connects people who are pursuing this certification using less orthodox methods. I knew about it but I never had hard evidences and I never spoke with people who admitted that they did it.  The worse part is that these people keep close to each other and they recommend each other for jobs and they end up monopolizing a market in which the employers blindly trust the fact that you were certified by Cisco.

The way this guys are organized is not unique, I believe this type of network was polarized by Cisco’s inability to make these exams impossible to cheat. The way the CCDE exam is structured makes it almost impossible to cheat (at least the lab part) and for that reason the CCDEs is probably a better quality lot of people.

Worse comes to worst, there are some other vendors who offer you bridges between CCIE and their certifications so then this fraud that these people are involved in spreads like a disease and you get to meet people who have no idea about a certain domain but the got the paper because of these bridges…

So this are the reasons why I have not continued my work here. I hope that when the things settle I will be able to post some technical content. I am now sitting on a pile of docs (study notes) which are quite good IMHO and in which I put a lot of work, and I am wondering what to do with them. I was thinking about selling them but looking at what Ruhan’s experience (the guy behind https://routing-bits.com/ ) I can see that it is not worth it. His notes where at the time when they were released, one of the best in the market, clear and concise. They were focused toward the lab exam but I liked them a lot. I am also looking at study notes waiting to be converted to flash cards (I have taken my notes in a special format so I can convert them to that) and I do not know what do to with them. I am in possession of an older copy (but good enough for my purposes) of the Anki SERVER software for which I have, from his author, the legal write to use it specially for this (still bound by a non compete agreement) .

So if you drop by and you read these keep an eye on this …if the things go well I might end up resuming the work here and post my notes, cheat sheets and flashcards, that if life does not get in my way again and forces me to do something else …which seems to happen on a regular


Best regards!

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!