IT Certification and Career Paths

Scott Morris


Keeps Coming Back for More

No learning goes unrewarded. Morris has seen the pay-off both professionally and monetarily from his elite status as a four-time CCIE.

According to Scott Morris, one of only four people who hold four-CCIE certificates and the only non-Cisco employee among this elite group, seeking multiple accreditations is an "entertaining irritation."

"I like to learn," said Scott, an independent consultant and instructor on network design and implementation and columnist for the TCPMag journal, regarding his tongue in cheek description. "But the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know - and this is reinforced every time I go through a CCIE study process."

"There's no such thing as a paper CCIE. You can't just go in and memorize systems and procedures and pass the test. You need the day to day practical experience, along with the ability to apply this experience quickly and under pressure."


Scott said that it is exactly this conundrum that keeps bringing him back for more. "I get a lot of personal satisfaction from learning. It keeps me interested and moving forward in my career. Plus, everything I've studied in the CCIE exams I've been able to put to practical use in my consulting and course instruction. I like to think I'm a pretty good instructor and this is based in part on my CCIE studies -- specifically the currency of my knowledge and the depth of experience that I can share with my students."

Scott was one of the first people to pass the original Cisco Design Specialist (CDS) certification back in early 1998. After that experience he decided to go "right to the top" and began to study for his CCIE certificate in Routing and Switching, taking the exam the next year. He failed his first attempt - something that really took him by surprise at the time. "I studied hard and thought I knew it all, so when I encountered a couple of new situations, I did what I always do. I dug in and beat the problem to death until I had resolved it. But that was exactly what caused me to fail. You don't have time to do this during the test. It's all about time management. There's a lot of psychology to the test."

With this experience in hand, Scott did pass on his second attempt and went on to achieve CCIE certifications in Dial-ISP, Communications and Services [name changed to Service Provider CCIE], and Security. He is currently studying for his fifth CCIE, in Voice.

"I think that people should know that the CCIE is an attainable credential," said Scott, "and one that carries undeniable stature, both monetarily and professionally. It's one of the only field-experience credentials out there. There's no such thing as a paper CCIE. You can't just go in and memorize systems and procedures and pass the test. You need the day to day practical experience, along with the ability to apply this experience quickly and under pressure."

Scott believes that it is this unique aspect of CCIE accreditation that represents the biggest benefit to CCIE employers. Employers will have a pretty good guarantee that, not only will the employee have a deep grasp of how Cisco products work and operate together but perhaps more importantly, be assured that the employee can act quickly and accurately in high pressure situations.

September 2003