Update (January 2015):
Well, it has been just over three years since my original "About Me" post and quite a lot has changed. To begin with, I'm no longer 27 and no longer working for the same company I was at the time of writing the original post. I'm now 30 and have been working as a Consultant for the past few years. My current gig has me working in a FlexPod (UCS, NetApp and VMware) environment for a Cloud Services provider.
I completed the CCNP and did start studying for the CCIE R&S certification, but due to my employer's needs, I put the certification on the back burner and began working on other areas. These areas include Netapp, Cisco UCS (to be covered in future blog posts), AWS (also to be covered in future posts) as well as various other bits and pieces.
While on the topic of certifications, I have recently passed the DCICN (one of two exams required to become a CCNA DC) as well as the DCUCD (one of four exams required to become a CCNP DC). Other exams/certifications which I hope to be sitting in the near future include:
- The remaining CCNA Data Center exams
- The remaining CCNP Data Center exams
- Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA)
- Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP)
- NetApp Certified Storage Associate (NCSA)
- NetApp Certified Data Management Administrator (NCDA)
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate
- AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate
- Palo Alto Accredited Configuration Engineer (ACE)
- Palo Alto Certified Network Security Engineer (CNSE)
But even if you were learning at your maximum rate, the opportunity cost argument actually works in favor of the multi-disciplinary approach. Design and its component practices are like any other craft: you can always develop a deeper familiarity with the minutiae, asymptotically approaching mastery. But this is a process with diminishing returns. Would you rather carve a door 1% better than you did last year, or learn how to build the rest of the house in the same amount of time? As I argue below, the connective tissue between these skills may actually be more valuable than incremental gains in a single practice.
Although the author is a programmer, his post is completely relevant for my line of work too. While I could continue studying the same Cisco topics over and and over again in order to gain small pieces of knowledge (1% gains), my time is better spent studying topics areas where I have no knowledge (100% gains).
Further to this, as covered by the last sentence in the quote above, it's better to know how all of the components work together (e.g how iSCSI data flows from a UCS blade through a switched network and then reaches the Netapp storage) rather than only know about one of them (e.g the switched network). Finally, as I mentioned in my How to Land your Dream Job post, "The I.T industry is constantly evolving, and if you want to land your dream job, you've got to evolve with it. Gone are the days where being an expert in one field and/or vendor's products is enough to get you a high end role. The majority of employers are now looking for people who have knowledge and experience in multiple fields and/or vendor's products."
Returning to my updates on the things covered in my original "About Me" post - My list of extra curricular activities remains the same (if not grown) and I'm still posting on Whirlpool.
Unfortunately my two website ideas have also been put on the back burner. The reason being that there simply aren't enough hours in the day for all of my ideas to come to fruition. They will definitely see the light of day, but today just isn't that day.
In the interest of ending this post on a high note, I'll post a few photos. As mentioned at the start of this post, I'm now 30. My wife said she'd orgranise the cake and promised that I'd love it, and boy was she right :) She made the design and had a friend make it. Not only did it look great, it tasted delicious too.
Finally, here's what the lab is looking like now. You probably can't see it (due to my poor cabling), there is an extra switch or two as well as a new AP. The lab is cabled up in accordance with INE's CCIE 4.0 lab guide, though it is definitely needs to be tidied up! I've also got a few virtualised appliances/emulators/hypervisors, including Cisco UCS, ESXi 5.5, CDoT, Juniper Olive, Riverbed VSH and Virtual CMC.
As always, if you have any questions or have a topic that you would like me to discuss, please feel free to post a comment at the bottom of this blog entry, e-mail at email@example.com, or drop me a message on Twitter (@OzNetNerd).
Note: This website is my personal blog. The opinions expressed in this blog are my own and not those of my employer.