What is a CCIE?

Exactly what is a CCIE? Site Expert Greg Ferro enlightens us with this insightful and witty essay on what it means to be a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert.

What is a CCIE?

By Greg Ferro

Greg Ferro, CCIE
In the course of my day-to-day work, people ask me what is a CCIE(tm)? I thought about this for some time. I wrote some notes. And this is what I came up with: I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling 8 foot computer racks and charming magnetic security cardswipes. I have been known to remodel SME networks on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of capital deployment, reliability and performance. I translate technobabble for Management, I write award-winning technical presentations and deliver them better than an American president announcing tax cuts.

I can recite complete chapters of the Cisco Documentation CD, backwards and, with little effort and at the same time, perform decimal to binary conversion for very large numbers.

I woo women with my sensuous and godlike MIDI playing on a notebook. I can pilot computer trolleys up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I can rack Cisco gear faster than Arnold Schwarznegger can bench press. I am an expert in network diagramming tools, a veteran in web surfing, and know the Cisco Web Site better than I know my own family.

Just to keep it interesting, I occasionally tread water for three days while programming Cisco practice labs. I manage time efficiently and can complete a timesheet every week. In addition, I know the part number for every Cisco router cable.

Using only a Chinese AC power cord and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly rebuilt the network core of major co-location facility after the roof fell in. I used to play games, but now it's serious. I am the subject of numerous urban myths and I am the creator of a few as well. When I'm bored, I test fiber optic cable, calculate power loss sums on UTP and the minimum refraction index for 50 micron multimode fiber. I mean, what IS the point of it ?

I understand that DLSW and Source Route Translational Bridging actually has a reason for existence. It's not just IBM playing a practical joke. Really.

I enjoy urban guerilla activities. I can build a 802.11b parabolic dish antennae using surplus antennae from defunct satellite companies and a juice can. It has better performance than off the shelf products. I think that having a wind generator and solar array as power backup for my practice lab is not only responsible preparation, it's environmentally friendly too. On Wednesdays, after work, I repair old monitors free of charge for my local charity.

I know that canonical to non-canonical conversion is not about religion, it's about "ART."

Microsoft geeks worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear, which I don't understand -- it was supposed to be funny. I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number ten and have won the cash jackpot.

I can speak IPX NLSP, AppleTalk, ATM PVC, QoS, and BGP to name a few, and redistribute routes at will, with filtering, using non contiguous masks. I install IPV6 on customer sites whenever I can, just so I can play with it. Same for OSPF NSSA. Children trust me.

I can hurl squishy giveaway tradeshow toys at sales personnel with stunning accuracy, and ensure that the dweeb from administration gets the blame. I have charisma beyond normal mortals; if I didn't the boss would have sent the other guy to this exam.

I once read Cisco Quality of Service, Caslow Bridges and Routers 2nd Ed, and Jeff Doyles' Routing TCP/IP Vol2 in one day, and still had time to do practice on a Frame Relay multipoint network, using OSPF and IGRP, split horizon, route maps and ISDN. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket and I use a link state protocol to calculate the shortest path to get there.

I have performed several covert operations with the CIA. It was kind of fun having them follow me around. I know that security and privacy is a phantasm-like myth created by "security companies" to extract money from IT Managers who can't implement a decent security policy. But it's great fun to play with.

I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. I know exactly how much coffee my body will take to sustain me at peak function. While on vacation, I successfully negotiated with the hotel to fix their network in return for free accommodation. The laws of society do not apply to me.

I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact tech stock day trading. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down.

I can originate default routes, conditionally, after redistributing from a classful distance vector protocol. I have made extraordinary four course meals using my Cisco 7500 lab router as a stove (after all its runs all the time anyway).

I breed prizewinning idioms. Fox Mulder knows my phone number. I have spoken with Elvis.

I am Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Number 6920. I do good work on Cisco equipment.

Read more wisdom from Greg in the Dr. Network Forum or on his Ask the Experts page.

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