The last year has been crazy. I don’t mean “crazy” in the lighthearted sense it’s often used in—I mean literally insane. I changed jobs, attained my CISSP certification, won the CBT Nuggets Hero contest, saw 7 states in a couple of months on various projects, got exposure to all kinds of new technology, and felt like I blossomed professionally… in a very masculine way of course! I started referring to Tampa International Airport as my “home,” I lived and breathed Cisco documentation, and most importantly, got to do some really engaging work for some great customers.
Thinking about where I am now and where I’m headed, I’m reminded of something from my youth. When I was around 12 years old, I begged and pleaded for my mother to purchase an electric guitar for me. She did, after a lot of begging on my part. Only two weeks after having the guitar I gave up because it was too hard.
A few years later, at 16 years old, I was back to begging for another guitar. My mother, for one reason or another, gave in and bought me another.
This time I caught on and found it was effortless. I ended up playing shows in various venues throughout high school, and loved every minute of it. I still find it interesting to look back at that time, and wonder what was different between both attempts at learning the guitar. To this day, my best guess is that maybe I was just not ready to learn the guitar.
In some way, this is how my postponed CCIE lab attempt has been for me. Let me explain.
I’ve studied for the CCIE exam on and off for the past 3 years, and have not given it a serious push forward until 2012 (thanks CBT Nuggets!). Still, work requirements got in the way, and I had limited time to study, at least the topics I wanted to. I found myself immersed in wireless technology (which is awesome) instead. That’s not an excuse, but rather to demonstrate that I definitely had obstacles.
I had a choice in late 2012 to be one of two people: the 12-year-old who gave up quickly at the first roadblock, or the slightly-more-mature 16-year-old who had some sense of resilience and wouldn’t give up so easily this time. I chose the latter.
So in 2013, I’ve found myself with a new skillset (wireless) which I love, I have gained valuable experience with many customers around the country, and I have matured as an engineer. I’ve finally realized that the CCIE designation is just that, a designation. It denotes expertise. Since the journey to expertise is just that—a journey—I’m still en route.
As of this writing, I’ve scheduled to retake my CCIE written exam next week, and am looking forward to my first lab attempt this summer. Provided that goes well, I’ll either move onto other certifications (the new Cisco Data Center track, Wireless tracks, and more), or if it doesn’t go well, I’ll retake it.
Either way, I feel that as long as I continue pursuing knowledge, I can’t lose..and neither can you!