IT Certification and Career Paths

Alexandre Faroni

Handling the Pressure

Alexandre Faroni’s positive attitude has seen him through the pressures associated with pursuing and keeping his CCIE certification.

For many, preparing for the Cisco CCIE® certification is a daunting task. A candidate will likely spend weekends and evenings away from family and friends, tucked away in the confines of a dark practice lab, where long hours are spent configuring networking equipment and laboring over study material. But Cisco Systems® Network Consulting Engineer Alexandre Faroni has developed a positive attitude to handle the pressure.

“For my job level, [having a CCIE] is a requirement,” Alexandre says. “I would say it’s important for staying in this organization. Managers say anybody who doesn’t have it should get it, and anybody who has it shouldn’t lose it. It’s kind of a requirement for survival,” he adds, jokingly. But Alexandre does not see this expectation as a bad thing. “It’s seen as a challenge and a motivation factor; it’s not a negative—it creates healthy competition.”

While working for Hewlett Packard in Brazil in 1998, Alexandre became one of the first ten engineers in Brazil to earn a CCIE certification. And he had to deal with the pressures from the time he began his pursuit two years earlier. “Achieving CCIE became a mission for my team [at Hewlett Packard],” Alex says. After failing the lab exam on his first attempt by only four points, he was approached by a company manager. “He said, ‘Are you going to try it again? Good, because you have to pass it the second time—otherwise don’t try it anymore,’” Alexandre remembers.

“Having a CCIE not only proves you know something but also that you can face all the stress that comes along with it.”

Rather than allowing the pressure to sour him, it seems only to have fueled Alexandre’s positive outlook. “You have to see life in a good way [when pursuing certification], because the CCIE is a big challenge. You have to be in a good mood for the long weekends of study. Having a CCIE not only proves you know something but also that you can face all the stress that comes along with it.”

Alexandre completed his mission and passed his CCIE exams. And what did Alexandre get for all of his hard work? “The relief of taking that mission off my shoulders,” he laughs, and then adds, “It opened doors for me . . . [and] brought some financial benefits. On the professional side, I got recognition from my peers.”

And perhaps those still working toward CCIE status should take note of Alexandre Faroni’s parting words. “I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s not impossible, either. With the right preparation . . . and if you set your mind to do what’s necessary, you will pass it. It’s not impossible—it is possible.”

April 2006