Network Engineer - let's define our terms!

Discussion in 'Cisco' started by newsreader, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. newsreader

    newsreader Guest


    Just a quick observation and solicitation for comment here. Does anyone have
    insight as to why network engineering has seemingly been redefined as a
    Microsoft systems administration? Until recently, it used to be that a
    network engineer was a router/switch/LAN/WAN guy/gal; a pure infrastructure
    focus. Now, network engineering seems to mean that I am both networking and
    systems oriented. How can one be the best at everything? Am I behind the
    times? Is Microsoft systems admininstration really the future of network
    engineering? Have things in the networking world been so dumbed down that
    it's possible to know everything? :) I know that infrastructure includes
    the back-end systems, software processes, and the like. But I'm also
    wondering about the level of knowledge/experience expected because at my
    last assignment (about 4 and half years), I had all I could handle to keep
    focused just on WAN issues. The more in-depth I became on issues of WAN
    design, QoS implementation, tool deployment, troubleshooting, HA and
    redundancy, end-user consulting, standards definition/enforcement, etc., the
    more I found I didn't know, or at least, many new doors of focus opened for
    me in which to specialize. Am I just running across shallow need that thinks
    a cursory knowledge of both is good enough? I've been told by some that once
    a network is built, there really isn't much more to it and the focus shifts
    to the systems side. I would disagree with that position, but I keep hearing
    that kind of opinion either stated or implied in the opportunities that I've

    I'm currently out of work, seeking a "traditional" network engineering job
    with which I've had many years of experience, up to and including my last
    assignment (Cisco, LAN/WAN, routing, switching, QoS, convergence, HP
    OpenView, Solaris/Linux, shell scripting, PERL, VoIP, H.323, packet
    analysis, wireless, etc.). I have 11 years of experience and a CCNP.
    However, the only opportunities I've received in the last three months
    require SQL Server, AD, NT/2000 admin, SMS, etc. Even though my resume makes
    only a passing reference to systems administration (by virtue of the fact
    that one has to maintain the systems used to monitor/support the network
    gear), my previous titles of Sr. Network Engineer, Network Analyst, etc.
    seem to be the culprit. Am I out of touch and my skill set a dinosaur?
    Please don't tell me that the future of networking makes my Cisco/CCNP
    network skill set obsolete, and I need to go the way of the file server!
    Thoughts from you old timers would be especially appreciated!
    newsreader, Sep 7, 2003
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  2. newsreader

    nick Guest

    people are expected to do two jobs for the price of one it seems.
    nick, Sep 7, 2003
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  3. newsreader

    nrf Guest

    Skillful and persistent marketing on the part of Microsoft had a lot to do
    with it.
    Most companies don't really need somebody who's "the best". They just need
    somebody who's 'good enough'.
    As stated above, a lot of companies aren't really looking for somebody who
    knows everything, but somebody who knows enough for them to get by. The
    attitude of most companies is that their networks and systems are cost
    sinks, so all they care about is that they are up and running, and rightly
    or wrongly they don't see any value in paying for anything more than that.
    Again, for many companies, good enough really is good enough.
    I believe there actually is some truth to this, in the sense that
    maintaining a built network is easier than designing/building it in the
    first place. This is incidentally why there are so many unemployed network
    engineers (real network engineers, not Microsoft systems guys), because the
    fact is, there aren't a lot of networks being built out these days.

    Just think of yourself as a company CFO who knows nothing about technology.
    Let's say your company decides to build out some network infrastructure.
    You know you will have to hire a fairly decent network guy to do it, or it
    won't work. So you do that. But now let's say that the buildout is complete.
    You could now get rid of that guy in favor of a less skilled (and hence
    cheaper) guy, and the network will still work, at least for a while. Sure,
    the network might have problems later without that skilled guy watching over
    it, but the point is, it's far less urgent to have that skilled guy around.
    As a CFO, your job is to direct funding to problems that are urgent. If
    network maintenance is not urgent, then it won't get funded.

    2 ominous trends are looming on the horizon. #1, core enterprise network
    capacity, particularly on the LAN side, has outstripped the ability of the
    typical enterprise to use it. For example, most enterprises have upgraded
    their LAN's to switched FastEthernet and sometimes Gigabit. But how many
    enterprises consistently use even 1Mbps of LAN capacity? Few. WAN
    bandwidth is also cheap and getting cheaper every day. Cheap bandwidth
    reduces the need for fancy skillsets like QoS and for network integration
    techniques like SNA-IP or VoIP (if WAN bandwidth is getting cheaper all the
    time, then the cost savings involved integrating networks together are
    reduced and may no longer compensate for the extra engineering expenditures
    involved). What is clear is that today's enterprise applications have not
    caught up with the heady improvements in network capacity. Enterprise
    networks today mostly sit idle.

    The other ominous trend is the steady improvement to network reliability
    that vendors are building into their gear. Vendors are working on
    technologies like nonstop forwarding, nonstop routing, redundant processing,
    and so forth. Advancing optical technology like wavelength protection, RPR,
    and so forth, allows service-providers to turn up cheap link-level
    redundancy for all of their pipes. The net effect is that as networks
    become more reliable, there is less need for network engineers. Think of
    the Maytag repairman.

    Note, there will always be a need for some network guys. But these 2 trends
    seem to indicate that there will be less need for them. Not zero, just

    See above.
    The world just went through an unprecedented network buildout, and as a
    result, companies are no longer asking to build out new network capacity,
    but rather they are asking what they can do with their existing capacity. I
    know, sucks for us, but surely you see their point of view.
    nrf, Sep 7, 2003
  4. newsreader

    mikester Guest

    Job title is really subjective. Watch the description, that's the key.
    mikester, Sep 7, 2003
  5. newsreader

    Sean Guest

    I totally understand the way you feel. I have been in the industry for
    many years, I have seen many jobs go to underqualified individuals because
    they had their MCSE. It didn't matter that others were more qualified, or
    had more experience. Everyone loves that MCSE. I am seeing however a
    trend in the fact that MCSEs are losing credibility. People are realizing
    that it doesn't take a lot of effort, or experience to get one.
    Don't get me wrong, an MCSE is a great thing to have. Just like a degree.
    But when I get my degree, which teacher do you think I'd prefer? A
    ten thousand year old guru who LIVED through history, recording it's
    happenings in his own record, or a 30 year old professor, who read about
    it in a book once?
    An ideal Network Engineer should be skilled in many different areas of
    networking. You should really know enough about all the platforms you are
    using in order to make sure the ENTIRE network is functioning correctly.
    As it has been pointed out Microsoft with their MCSEngineer cert. Makes a
    "network administrator" into an engineer. However, a true MS Engineer
    should posess the skillset required to "Engineer" a MS network. However
    for an enterprise level network, an MCSE isn't enough. They should also
    know their routers, SPT, routing protocols, etc.
    I guess, when all's said and done, a network engineer should not be a
    specialist, but instead, they should be flexible.
    Sean, Sep 8, 2003
  6. I agree with Robert. Usually if you see a posting for a "Network
    Engineer" and most of the duties are Microsloth related, it's going to
    be a small company, they just know know the difference. How many
    times have we all heard someone outside of infrastructure (or even
    within!) say something like "I couldn't connect to that 'network'
    drive this morning", or "I'm printing to that new 'network' printer".
    Last I checked, my network has no "drives" or "printers". Sure, there
    are plenty of printers connected to the network and there are a heck
    of a lot of Windows servers that have shared drives that you can
    connect to. It's all the same to an outsider though.

    I work for a large enterprise and the Network team manages LAN/WAN,
    Remote Access, and Security components (administration, not policy).
    There is a whole other group of folks that deal with Microsloth stuff.
    They even have a sub-team for messaging. We also have groups for
    UNIX and other for Open VMS. If we ever posted for a Network
    Engineer, the job is for Networking. The only time you'll have to
    deal with Microsoft is on your laptop. And that's the way we like it!

    On a slightly related topic, years ago there were some states working
    on legislation that would make it illegal to put "Engineer" on a
    business card unless you were a PE. Any know if that ever went

    Mike Gallagher, Sep 9, 2003
  7. newsreader

    nrf Guest

    That pretty much went nowhere, although I actually thought that was a good
    idea. Right now, there really are no well-defined controls over who gets to
    use the term engineer. If you want to call yourself a doctor, you actually
    have to have an MD or a PhD, and if you want to call yourself a lawyer, you
    actually have to have a law degree and passed the Bar. But apparently
    anybody these days can call themselves an engineer and as a result, we got
    janitors who call themselves custodial engineers or waste-management
    nrf, Sep 9, 2003
  8. newsreader

    Bob Goddard Guest

    nrf wrote:
    My pet hate at the moment is those folk who call themselves "architects".
    Unless they have a degree in either building or naval architecture then
    they are breaking the law - at least in the UK.

    And this is now going wayyy off topic.

    Bob Goddard, Sep 9, 2003
  9. I agree it was a good idea. I don't think they needed to go as far as
    the PE though. I think an engineering degree from an accredited
    institution is enough.

    Mike Gallagher, Sep 9, 2003
  10. newsreader

    nrf Guest

    If I may really start going off-topic...

    Your listing of your academic background raises another one of my pet peeves
    I know you listed your degrees in your sig as a facetious offshot of your
    discussion of the need for accredited degrees before you start calling
    yourself an engineer (whereas I see that you never used such a sig before),
    but other than that, I have to ask - why exactly is it that IT people seem
    to feel the need to list in their sig every single cert they ever got in
    their life? Surely you've seen those posts where the actual text of the
    post is shorter than the sig-listing of all his certs - CCxx, VIP, ABCDEFG,
    etc. etc. etc.

    I've seen this behavior in email sigs, and I've also seen it on business
    cards, which to me really begs the question - what exactly is it with some
    IT people that they feel the need to always list an alphabet soup of certs?
    It's like some people can't let their knowledge speak for itself, so they
    feel the need to wrap themselves around their certs, and if that's the case,
    then that really speaks to a lack of self-confidence. When George Bush was
    a young rake tooling around the Texas oilfields, did his business card
    include the line: BA-Yale, MBA-Harvard? When Bill Clinton was a young
    politico in Arkansas, did his business card say: BA-Georgetown, Rhodes
    Scholar, JD-Yale? If email had been around during those times, would Bush
    or Clinton have really listed any of these things in their email sigs?
    Somehow I doubt it, and if they did, I'm sure they would have been dismissed
    as being pretentious and tacky. I would say that IT seems to be the only
    field where people seem to wear their certs like military medals, except for
    the fact that military heroes don't generally go around listing their
    commendations wherever they go. I'm fairly certain former Senator Bob
    Kerrey and Senator Daniel Inouye don't go around signing their email with
    the phrase "Congressional Medal of Honor". So what exactly is it with IT
    nrf, Sep 9, 2003
  11. newsreader

    Scooby Guest

    Now, that sounds like a pretty self centered post and is typical what I've
    come to expect from the LAN/WAN only guys. The last time I checked, there
    were 7 layers to the OSI model. Yes, many of the hard core infrastructure
    networking dudes only think of layers 1-3 (or 4) as networking. I have had
    the privilege of working all the layers. I've done Novell CNE, Microsoft
    (almost MCSE), and have done plenty with LAN and WAN, including cabling. I
    even write network based programs that will automate FTP, SNMP or other
    functions. ALL of it is networking/engineering, not just the routers and
    switches, cables, transceivers, etc...

    I'll admit that I'd much rather spend my time on the lower layers, and that
    is mostly what I concentrate on these days. But, I think it is wrong to the
    of "applications" networking people as not being network engineers.

    The reason you see so many more posts for Microsoft engineers is that
    because there are more needed. A company may only need a handful of
    networking equipment, mostly install and let it do it's thing. On the
    applications side, things are always changing and requiring more attention.
    So, more time needs to be spent on the applications side than the
    infrastructure (if it is built right), which equates to more jobs on the
    applications side.

    Scooby, Sep 10, 2003
  12. Not at all, and thank you for noticing my facetiousness. I see the
    sigs you are referring to all too often. Although not in every case,
    mostly the people who list their plethora of certs aren't the ones you
    go to for help, and vice versa. Why they feel they need to list
    everything, I haven't figured that one out yet.

    Familiar with the old adage, "Those who can't do, teach"? I know this
    really isn't true for Cisco folks, but for Microsoft, "Those who can't
    do, get certs"? ;) JUST KIDDING!

    CCBG (Cisco Certified Bad Golfer)
    Mike Gallagher, Sep 10, 2003
  13. newsreader

    Evan Wagner Guest

    Agreed, I've never understood the certification laundry list propensity for
    technology professionals with their e-mail, business cards, etc. either and
    also believe that it is some form of insecurity (or just plain bravado).

    Even worse, a couple jokers running around Northern, VA have CCIE and CISSP
    vanity license plates. I cannot help but laugh every time I see those vehicles.


    Evan Wagner, Sep 10, 2003
  14. newsreader

    newsreader Guest

    Among other things, I was trying to make the point that there is much more
    to a network (even at layer 4 and below) than routers, switches, and
    circuits. I disagree with anyone who states that bandwidth is the resolution
    to the current issues in network design. People who claim that big dumb
    pipes are all that's needed demonstrate that they haven't worked very much
    with services that place unique demands on a given network system such as
    voice and video. For example, it doesn't matter how much bandwidth in the
    form of lambdas, LSP's, VC's, etc. I throw at a given circuit if my protocol
    implementation requires precise, periodic arrival of a given packet. No
    amount of bandwidth will fix that if packet scheduling is done incorrectly.
    In fact, extra bandwidth can make the problem worse. How about incorrect
    output ring buffering? I could have a 56K DDS circuit degrade an OC-3 due to
    head of line blocking. I could go on, but the point is, the dumbing down of
    the networking by industry pundits and authorities simply demonstrates
    technical ignorance. No matter how fat the pipes, at some point in the
    network system, I will have to aggregate them and their traffic in some
    fashion. How do I deal with that issue without some sort of engineering

    I simply have a hard time accepting systems and networking as "equals" in
    terms of how one should approach them. In contrast, that's like saying
    networking and security can work totally independent of each other, which is
    simply absurd. The sharpest systems folks I ever met had a passion for their
    craft. Same for the exceptional network folk. Neither could be an absolute
    guru with the other's focus in additon to their own. Yes, one has to
    understand the whole OSI stack. However, I fear that too many view network
    engineering in the way many posters have already mentioned - just be good
    enough at everything. We see this happening in other areas. Take MP3
    files...many broadcasters use them instead of CD's. Being a former broadcast
    engineer, most radio station MP3 source material sounds like crap! They
    sample at a far too low of a bit rate, then dump it into a digital
    processor. Then after that, drop the composite stereo signal onto a
    digitally compressed studio-to-transmitter link. You hear nasty artifacts in
    the on-air sound, especially "jetstreaming" on highly compressed material
    and aliasing errors. I say this to point out that many broadcasters think
    that this is cutting edge stuff. Well, if one takes the time to engineer the
    entire audio-chain, it can be a wonderful solution. But, many just want to
    get the stuff on the air and move on. Listeners generally don't care, but
    then again, audio processing is a bit of a science in and of itself. Old
    analog systems with high compression often caused listener fatigue. The
    trade off was to either be the loudest station on the dial and risk causing
    your listeners to subconsciously desire to tune out, or not be the loudest
    but appeal to your demographic and minimize processing artifacts. Nowadays,
    however, digital control can actually cause those psychoacoustical elements
    to come into play more than ever, and can give a station an edge. You ask
    any program director at a radio station about their on-air signature and
    demographic, and they'll tell you it's a big deal to taylor the sound to the
    audience. Even something as seemingly simple as the way a song sounds can
    impact a broadcaster's bottom line. There are entire companies that
    manufacture processor gear and market it aggressively as the thing to make
    your station stand out to the listener...if getting a song or commercial on
    the air was all that mattered, then these multi-million dollar companies and
    FCC regulations governing these techniques wouldn't exist. There's a little
    more to the broadcast industry than bass and treble.

    What in the heck does this have to do with my original post? Well, the idea
    is that I'm having problems accepting the "just good enough" approach,
    especially when there are so many tools at ones disposal to really take full
    advantage of the resources available. Besides, what about ROI? What about
    using things creatively to solve business problems? The most difficult
    problems have the most rewarding solutions. I want to work in an environment
    that wants to excel, because I want to excel. Maybe I'm too idealistic, but
    I think it's incredibly arrogant and short-sighted to believe that something
    as complex as network systems can be thrown together and left alone
    (referring back to my radio station example...IT networks are a bit more
    complex than audio quality, wouldn't you agree?). That's kind of like the
    teenager who thinks they know everything...when they turn 90 years old, they
    feel quite humbled by the world around them. There's got to be room for
    those of us who don't look at networking as 9-5 and a means to get paid. I
    have a passion for what I do, and it saddens me to see what seems to be so
    many companies I come across simply look at what I've poured my career life
    into as a necessary evil. I'm no business person, but even I can see the
    value to my company if I can squeeze every last ounce of feature and
    performance out of an IT investment. Isn't that what a business person would
    want? I hope I can find a company that sees the value in IT, and realizes
    that there are those of us who can really make that layer 1 - 4 (and beyond)
    device more valuable, and help make business happen more effectively. That
    was my point...

    Things are never as simple and straightforward as they appear.
    newsreader, Sep 10, 2003
  15. My two cents worth on this very arb little thread about a few very arb
    little peeves.

    Me, I like to know that when someone answers my innocuous little BGP peering
    question with a local-preference setting, that maybe he knows what he's
    talking about. The badge is the authority.

    Secondly, these guys have worked really hard for their certs, these certs
    are really the only thing that allows them to demand a salary somewhere in
    the first percentile. So why not brag a little. They're not getting payed to
    post their knowledge.

    Finally, your email certainly shows your knowledge of a few American
    political figures, but you've gotta ask yourself, do these guys need to have
    gone to all of their fancy schools to get their admittedly pathetic cheques
    from the US government? Maybe, but certainly going to those schools isn't
    enough, whereas the fact that I'm an MCSE, CCNA, CCNP, CCDA, CCDP, CCSP,
    CISSP and CCIE is the only reason I'm getting my admittedly pathetic cheque
    from my private sector company.

    Terry Pattinson
    Just Another Ordinary Guy # 1412331245
    Terry Pattinson, Sep 10, 2003
  16. Does anyone have any insight as to why garbagemen have been seemingly
    as "sanitation engineers"?

    The word "engineer" is extremely misused. A real engineer is someone who
    the state to maintain a license. The Microsoft people and the so-called
    "ccie" people
    do not do this and thus are not real engineers.
    Well it ought to be obvious, but you cannot really properly bolt together a
    without being familiar with the applications running on it, now can you?

    The old "switched vs routed" and "fast ethernet vs gigabit ethernet"
    arguments are
    really inventions by vendors looking to sell equipment. Some vendors are
    excellent at doing this, in fact, take Cisco. Cisco originally was real big
    on routed
    networks, then once they got all the enterprises to buy expensive routers,
    started pushing switches, then once they got all their big customers sold on
    they went back to touting routers. And so it goes.

    All these are the router/switch/LAN/WAN guy/gal's reasons to use to not
    anything about the applications that run on these networks. It's easy to
    get involved
    in arcane arguments within your discipline instead of going cross-discipline
    getting at the real root of a problem.

    What has happened is a growing number of people out there who know both the
    infrastructure and the applications are coming in to organizations with
    problems that neither the infrastructure people have been able to solve by
    the latest hardware at a problem, and the systems people haven't been able
    to solve
    by throwing more programmers at the problem, and these people are cutting
    knots and replacing the entire combined infrastructure/applications with a
    infrastructure/application that actually works. CIO's are starting to sit
    and take notice.
    No. Speaking as one who has had to get involved with both the
    and systems side (an angry user that can't dial in and websurf doesen't care
    the problem is in their PC and not your network, understand) I must assure
    that the latest incarnation of Windows is vastly more complicated than the
    previous. In particular, Active Directory has made a whole bunch of things
    suddenly matter in Microsoft-land that the prior admins didn't have to care

    Case in point - try upgrading a NT4 + Exchange 5.5 mailserver. Should be a
    simple task, eh? By the time you end up doing it, your going to be into it
    new server hardware, new server software, and new mailserver software. And
    result is going to be more of a network hog than before, so you may have to
    tampering with the clients. You really have to have an extremely good grasp
    the entire shiteriee - server/clients/network infrastructure - if you want
    it to succeed.
    No, what you were finding is that there's a way to do the job the RIGHT way,
    and there's a way to do the job a half-assed way.

    You really have to keep things in perspective. 20 years ago, a modern LAN
    /ethernet network as practiced in a corporation today, simply didn't exist.
    the space of 2 decades, an entire industry has been created that to do it
    demands as much knowledge as, say, a GP medical doctor, or a civil engineer,
    or a lawyer, or any of those other "very difficult to be good at"

    However, and this is the key, there have been a whole lot of people (like
    myself, for example) who got into the business back in it's infancy. At
    that time
    none of this complexity existed. You could spend about 6 months of just
    reading various articles/manuals/etc. and playing with equipment, and end up
    knowing as much as the best minds in the business. Sure, there was a lot
    of complexity in the UNIX os at that time, but the complexity was all in the
    mainframe/server itself. Everything else was very primitive, and very
    To give you an example, one of the early arguments that revolved around
    the design of "curses" in UNIX was some terminal maufacturers were fighting
    against certain cursor sequences being required, as if they wern't, they
    build the entire terminal WITHOUT a microprocessor, ie: entirely with
    discrete parts! If that doesen't give an idea of how primitive things were
    then I don't know what else to tell you.

    Fast forward to today, where the amount of computational power embedded in
    a device as simple as, say, a DSL modem is probably equal to that used to
    the Apollo moon shots. No wonder your wondering about the level of
    needed. In fact, some of the stuff your probably aware of now in
    wasn't even commercially viable 4 years back when you got started on your
    current assignment, and thus wasn't even on the radar.
    What your running across is the concept of the "uninformed consumer" It is
    to take several more generations to fix this problem.

    A lot of the 45-50 year olds who are owning companies today got their start
    business in their early 20's and at that time, nobody had a computer on
    their desk.
    Their business paradigm was formed during that time when they were malleable
    and they really have a deep down lack of understanding of how the typical
    business computer and network are supposed to fit in to a company. There
    still tons of CEO's and CFO's out there who labor for a week on spreadsheets
    then feel compelled to call a board meeting to do a power point presentation
    the results (or worse, print them out on paper) It's a total lack of
    understanding of
    how even simple applications like e-mail can be used.

    Now, not all of them are like this. Some of them have seen the light, and
    are modern companies out there. But for the majority of industries, until
    people have been cycled out into retirement and the corporate movers and
    end up being people that grew up with computers and the Internet, your going
    see a real lack of understanding of the importance of IT in the modern
    by most CEO's and CFO's.

    Thes ecompanies and organizations have really very little clue of what the
    is between a system admin who knows what he is doing, and one that is just
    playing around. And some of these people have been so ruined by the
    admins, that they have come to believe that it is just _normal_ for
    computers and
    the network to crash and be down every few days. I mean, "the computer
    ate my homework" is actually an acceptable excuse! It boggles the mind.
    There's a good reason for this. The plain fact of the matter is that these
    are so poor and run so much like crap, that good systems people detest
    on them. As a result, the companies that have bought into this technology
    are by and large either staffed by juniors who can't get it together and are
    thus firing them as fast as they hire them in, or they are simply not
    staffed at
    all because the good systems people aren't willing to put up with the crap
    at what they are being paid to do, and are quitting.
    No, it's just this. Which company would you rather work at:

    a) Company built entirely on Windows running on cheap unmanaged hubs
    they got from Dlink, where your going to spend 50% of your
    workday repairing virus damage (ie: SoBig) helping users print out their
    power point presentations because the NT print server keeps locking up,
    and rebooting the SQL server that keeps locking up at odd hours because
    of a bug that the applications people claim doesen't exist.

    b) Company built on mixed UNIX/Windows running Cisco smart switches
    that are all monitored, where the major apps are all running on the server
    and the major end user application on their Windows system is the web
    browser, and if their system craps up, you just reimage it in an hour
    there's no company data stored at all on the client.

    Now, think of this - do you really think the admins of company B are going
    to be
    much inclined to look for another job? Do you really think there's going to
    many openings in companies like that compared to companies like A? What
    do you think the retention is going to be like in company A?
    The want ads are probably the worst place to get an idea of what the world
    is currently doing. The same logic would dictate that there's a big future
    being a caregiver in a home, given the number of people desperate to hire
    caregivers. Of course what isn't said is that the reason people are
    is Uncle Fred's heirs either can't or won't pay more than minimum wage for
    the work.

    In your case, as much as I hate to say it (being as I've been in this
    myself plenty of times before) your biggest liability is that your
    "currently out of work, seeking" Thus, your going to have to take a shit
    job like a Windows admin job, and put up with the bullcrap while you
    wait patiently for a decent position in a nice company to open up. Or,
    if your the bold type, you might try a different tack of getting the Windows
    job, then gradually persuading them to move off the crap, and on to decent
    infrastructure and applications that don't go down quicker than a
    $5 Mexican... well you get the idea. ;-)

    Ted Mittelstaedt, Sep 10, 2003
  17. newsreader

    nrf Guest

    Ahem, there are plenty of people who know what they're talking about
    vis-a-vis BGP who aren't CCIE's and vice versa. I once had a very brief
    conversation about BGP with Yakov Rekhter, who just so happens to not be a
    CCIE. Yet when it comes to BGP, Rekhter is a guy you should probably listen
    to, as he's surely forgotten more about it than all the CCIE's in the world
    combined will ever know.

    The point is, at the end of the day, a guy either knows what he's talking
    about or he doesn't. If a guy can present to you a solution that is
    logically coherent and can, if needed, back it up with RFC references, CCO
    links, or other strong evidence, then he probably knows what he's talking
    about. A guy who just states that he happens to have such-and-such
    qualifications and therefore his answers are therefore necessarily right is
    behaving rather suspiciously. In the final analysis, a dog is a dog, no
    matter how much you might dress it up.

    Uh, first of all, they're also not getting paid to brad about their certs
    either. Second of all, they're not really getting paid simply for their
    cert, but for the knowledge that is supposed to accompany that cert.
    Bernie, Hansang, ain't that right? Where are you guys when I need you?

    I'll put it to you this way. I graduated with high distinction from a
    rather famous undergrad college and I may be about to attend a famous grad
    school. Should I post my academic qualifications with all my emails?
    Should I put that on my biz-card? Hey, why not - I too worked really hard
    to get my degrees, so using the same logic, I should be allowed to brag
    too, right?
    Oh, I don't know about pathetic checks. Mr. Bush is drawing $400,000 a year
    from the Fed government, and that ain't too shabby. Mr. Clinton is now
    getting $161,000 a year. That's not too shabby for being retired. I know I
    wouldn't mind drawing that kind of money for doing nothing.

    Finally, are you really telling us that the sole reason you have your job is
    because of you certs? That things like your experience, your work attitude,
    your relationships with other employees, your formal education, and other
    such qualifications have nothing to do with it? Or the fact that you happen
    to do (I hope) solid quality work for your company has nothing to do with
    why they keep you on the payroll? If so, then jeez, I don't want to be
    harsh, but looks like you work for the stupidest company in the world. I
    have never heard of a company that only cared about certs and didn't care a
    whit about anything else. You're basically saying that a guy with
    absolutely zero experience who dropped out of grammar school, has a rap
    sheet of murder, that everybody in the company loathes, and never does any
    of his work might still be hired simply because he has some certs, which
    surely you would agree is ludicrous. Yet that is the conclusion one must
    draw if you say that certs are the one and only reason you have a job.
    nrf, Sep 10, 2003
  18. newsreader

    nrf Guest

    Actually, I have to disagree somewhat. Now, don't get me wrong, as you've
    pointed out, cheap bandwidth doesn't solve every single networking problem.

    But it does solve a lot of problems, and in particular, cheap bandwidth is
    not just useful simply because you can make fat pipes. Cheap bandwidth also
    allows you to simply run multiple networks. Because of cheap bandwidth,
    many of your engineering problems can be solved simply by providing a cheap
    dedicated network for every special protocol you may be running. You say
    that you will eventually have to aggregate your service traffic together and
    then apply some sort of engineering technique - but instead of that, why not
    just build one dedicated network per service? After all, bandwidth (and
    networking gear) is cheap and getting cheaper every day, so at some point
    it's simply more cost effective to do away with fancy engineering and give
    every service its own TDM-style network that's segregated from other

    Again, that doesn't mean that you'll never need any sort of engineering - I
    never said otherwise. But the amount of engineering would be reduced.

    Hey, I'm with you on this one. I think it's our job now to convince the
    business world that networks really do matter to the bottom line. The fact
    is, companies don't build out networks "for fun", they do it for a business
    reason. So if network engineers want to continue to have gainful
    employment, they are going to have to justify themselves from a business
    point of view, which means that network engineers will probably have to
    worry less about protocols and worry more about how these technologies
    translate into profits and losses. Bill Gates and Larry Ellison aren't
    successful because they are great technologists, but because they knew how
    to use technology to make money. Network guys will now have to do the same.
    It's all about the bottom line now, gentlemen.
    nrf, Sep 10, 2003
  19. :Me, I like to know that when someone answers my innocuous little BGP peering
    :question with a local-preference setting, that maybe he knows what he's
    :talking about. The badge is the authority.

    You might as well put me in your global kill file, then -- all I
    have is a general science degree from a third-tier university nearly
    20 years ago.

    Guess I should go back to lurking and waiting for the certs to
    eventually answer peoples' questions (or, more commonly, not answer.)

    Whatcha think -- should I remove the blight I've left on these newsgroup
    by asking google to cancel the thousands of posts I've made
    to ? That'd save people from accidently being
    exposed to my ignorance.
    Walter Roberson, Sep 10, 2003
  20. newsreader

    Sean Guest

    I've worked for some of those jobs before though. You know the ones that
    think it's all about the Certs.
    They don't count the years I've been doing this kind of work. Or the
    countless hours I've spent researching technology at various different
    levels. All they looked for was those certs. At the time I had just
    gotten my CNE (Novell) (Tells you about how long ago that was). And the
    boss actually told me: "Certs don't mean anything for my staff, only
    performance, but the certs decide who gets an interview and who doesn't"

    I was floored. He continued to tell me that because the computer industry
    was such a dynamic world, that experience and degrees were just not as
    important to him.

    I totaly agree that experience is the key. I've seen too many people with
    certs that think that now they can do the same job I can, only to have
    them come ask me for help when they can't. But when your boss tells you
    that the only reason you got the interview is because of the certs...

    Certs are just a good way of telling someone you don't know that you've
    put *some* time into learning said topics. But I myself am very leery of
    "certified" people. I like to hear what they have to say a little, before
    I dismiss them as inexperienced, or accept them as knowledgable. I've
    seen too many certified people that have never seen the real world, and
    sure as heck can't troubleshoot real world problems.
    Sean, Sep 10, 2003
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