During this weekend I was asked by a friend if all the time studying, reading, watching CoD´s, labbing, and everything else, worths it or not!
He got my attention with this question... He went a little further with it, all around the world, with economy the way it is, companies are not willing to pay the way they were before the crises... Also, if you look at job postings nowadays, you´ll see job offerings asking for someone who knows R&S stuff, but also, needs to be specialist in Security, needs solid understanding of Voice, years of experience in Storage, Wireless, also needs to know how to handle projects (PMP), and ITIL... So, he asked... why wasting time doing such a "time consuming" certification, like the CCIE R&S, instead of lots of certifications in lower levels!
I stopped what I was doing... in fact, I don´t even remember what I was doing, probably was answering some emails... anyway... It took me at least a couple minutes to process his question before even think about an answer... Everything was really quiet for those couple minutes...
I asked him: So, you´re saying companies nowadays preffer to hire a "generalist" type of engineer than "specialists" ?!
He answered: No, I´m saying they want engineers who can handle everything, and not just a part of it! You know the potential of a CCIE, with all his dedication, and efforts along the way, but tell me, if you´re CCIE R&S, that doesn´t mean you know Security, Voice, and other technologies at the same level a CCSP, CCVP guy does... Also, consider a PMP guy, who is able to handle any type of project, no matter which one, he will be there to handle the project at all, puting all resources together and making it happen!
At this time I got his point of view... He´s right and wrong at the same time (at least to me)... Really... My answer was something like that to him (and please, do not take me wrong, I´m a generalist type of engineer nowadays too):
Ok buddy... Now tell me, when things starts to go wrong... who the companies will chase after for some "consulting" time to solve the problems?! A "specialist" or a "generalist" engineer?! They can have their teams full of engineers, but if they don´t have some specialists in their fields (R&S, Voice, Security, etc), well... soon of later things will start to go wrong! You can´t compare the experience of a CCIE Voice engineer, with years of field experience, working "only" with voice, and voice related issues, with a guy who needs to handle the "security, routing and switching, storage and voice"... It´s really nonsense! By the end of the project both guys can do a good job, but the specialist will do it with less impact, faster, with confidence, while the generalist engineer (like me), will need to do some "home work", pull out a few contacts to solve doubts, and for sure, it´ll take MUCH longer to do it! But both will do it at the end!
So... what´s the advantage?! Again... to manage a network, services and things like that, it´ll probably work... but not for new implementations, where everything starts from the scratch paper during a business meeting! Companies needs to have BOTH type of engineers! Specialists and Generalists! There´s place to everyone!
You need to love what you do to even think about getting CCIE Certified! If you don´t like, please, step away, think again about your career and choose something that pleases you most! I love it! I want to beat it! And that´s what I´m preparing myself to do!
If companies are hiring CCIEs or not it´s another history... but I want to be the type of guy who come up with solutions, and not doubts to solve! Come on! The economic crises will not be there forever, and also, it´s been used all around the world as an excuse to reduce staff, salaries, and everything else! I bet in a couple years everything will be back to normal... And when that time comes, I will be seating on top!
But, you´re right man! We need the best of both worlds... If during the way to achieve the CCIE, I can learn other technologies, it´ll be great! Thanks for the advice, I´ll work in more than one path during my studies! If possible I´ll get some CCxP level certifications (CCVP, CCSP, CCDP, CCIP)... anyway, that will help me to develop myself during my CCIE studies, and also, will make me more attractive to companies during this time!
In fact... my only concearn right now is to to be really attractive to the company I work for! It´s really a pleasure work where I do (Orange Business Services), and I love what I do... so... no worries about changes... :)