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.

Dig Deeper on Networking careers and certifications

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.