My interest in networks goes way back in time, I was 14 and I wanted to connect to another computer to play a videogame and we were not able to figure out how to do it.
I knew nothing about IPs, subnets or a crossover cable to connect computer-computer. Of course, none of my friends or family had any idea, but I had this question in my mind: how does this really works?
It was not until 10y later when I was in my first CCNA RS live lessons, I was lucky enough to be eligible for a free course paid by the government aiming to help unemployed people.
I attended the CCNA course for almost a year during weekday mornings (over 800h lessons in total), while in the evening I was going to IT lessons to get a degree. What a year!
As you can imagine with 800h you have enough time to touch all the CCNA topics, also some CCNA security. We spent almost a month just doing subnetting and also, they had several physical routers/switches in the academy which were nice to touch.
My first foot in the door was after passing my first two Cisco certs, CCNA RS and CCNA security. I could land a temporary job helping replacing Cisco routers and configuring them remotely, it was interesting.
I was around 25 years old when I passed my CCNA RS in May 2012, I knew little about networks but I was sure I could configure everything and understand everything.
Not even close! A few years later CCNP showed me how wrong I was.
CCNP does a reasonable job in pushing you on how to do the configs, but not the why. I struggled with the why and seeing the big picture, All day I was hearing stuff I didn´t understand and too many acronyms that were out of the CCNP RS scope.
If you thought CCNP RS was difficult, take a look at the old the CCDA content. Even it was a CCNA level, the scope is so big that it’s scary. I´m pretty sure that the A in CCDA was for “Acronyms”, but the point was to get a broader view of the technologies with that cert.
A new goal
Passing the CCDA was a tough experience, really difficult questions, but it showed me the way to something more interesting than just routing and switching.
Suddenly I had in my mind concepts of wireless, datacenter, multicast, QoS, MPLS, l2vpns…even LISP, what´s LISP? If you have heard about SDN, and Cisco SDA for the LAN; then LISP is responsible for the control plane of Cisco SDA implementation.
I studied hard after that to try to get the CCDP before the 2020 renewal of Cisco certs, and I got it just in time before February 2020. CCDP was harder but far more interesting than CCDA.
CCDE was(and still is) a mayor interest for me, those sweet design concepts and broad technology overviews.
A stop in the way before pushing for CCDE
With so many new technologies introduced by Cisco on the enterprise path, now I felt out of shape about SDN and Automation stuff.
Not knowing much about automation puts you at a disadvantage. Automation is the new fancy word.
I decided to make a stop in the way before the CCDE to go for the CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure. This is the forever debate about studying broad vs deep; design is broad but not so deep and CCIE is very deep but not very broad in the topics.
Well guess what, CCIE EI now has a design part for the lab so it is not so crazy to make a stop here to really understand routing, switching, MPLS, QoS, multicast, SDN, Automation…all topics of the CCIE enterprise.