10-Year CCIE Still Enjoys the "Instant Credibility" of Expert Certification
Getting a CCIE was a company mandate, versus a choice for David Ferguson, but having it has paid off many times in the ten years since his initial certification.
David Ferguson, expatriate Scotsman living in Norway and employed as a network development engineer for Norway's telephone company, Telenor, remembers the day he received his now well-worn CCIE leather jacket. It was in 1993 when David became the first person in Norway to receive a CCIE in R&S, in which he is still certified. He took the exam in Paris and remembers that it was a "killer." "It's not an exam for the weak of heart," he said. "It wasn't just the high standards of the technical material. It was the time pressure." Looking back, David believes that Cisco initially designed in the time pressure as a way of separating the really serious people from the 'wannabe's. "There are still only 40 CCIE-certified individuals in all of Norway," he says.
Unlike many CCIE holders, David didn't initially take the test for personal achievement or even perceived career goals. The certification was new at the time and Cisco was requiring its partners to employ a certain number of CCIEs in order to retain their status. "It was something that was expected of me," he says. Even so he believes that the certification has been of significant benefit to him - perhaps even more so over time.
"With the CCIE I can look any employer straight in the eye and know that I don't have to prove anything."
"As an older engineer, I wonder sometimes if potential employers consider me a bit 'past it,'" he says. "Having the CCIE proves my qualifications and skill set as the highest available for Cisco technology. I can look any employer straight in the eye knowing that I don't have to prove anything."
David said the certification has also been useful in meetings with customers - particularly when language has been an issue, or there was little time to gain an understanding of the customer's technology. "When I present my card and they see the CCIE logo, the questions go away and we can start communicating on a level we both understand."
David has developed a successful strategy for his recertification preparation. He attends a Cisco networking event, such as Networkers, and takes the exam in conjunction with the conference. "It's worked really well for me," he said. "I sit in on the presentations, freshen up, and after being immersed in the technology for a few days I can pass the test."