Career thoughts

April 10, 2017

Inspired by the book Unintended Features (written by Daniel Dib and Russ White) I decided to think about some questions regarded to my career as a network engineer. The questions are mentioned in the third chapter (Education) and are in my opinion very helpful to think about. You should answer them to get a clearer picture of yourself and your (career) goals: Do I go forward on the right way? Which next step is the best for me? Do I make the (hopefully) best decisions at the right time?

Below you can read my personal thougths and answers to the questions.

Where do I want to go (in my life)? / Who do I want to be as a person overall?

There is the private part: I want to be a father for my family (wife and daughter). For me it is important to live in the near of my roots. So it doesn’t work for me to have a job which leads to massive traveling the whole week. Because I am a passionated christian I also want to put a lot of energy into the church where I go and their work with young people. And there is the job-related part: I also want to become a more experienced network engineer and one of my goals is to get a CCIE Routing&Switching in the next 3 years. In parallel my interest for python and network automation is there and I want to contribute to at least one open source project.

What am I not very good at today (skills as a network engineer)? What do I need to get to where I want to go and what do I need there?

After my CCNA I stopped focusing on certifications and fully concentrated on my work as a network engineer. I tried to do a good job and to get a lot of real life work experience. Now after about 5 years of experience I think it would be good to learn some technologies deeper with the help of a expert certification. This is why I decided to begin my way of becoming a CCIE in routing&switching. As first steps I want to re-certify my CCNA R&S at least until September and get a CCNP R&S in 2018.

What motivates me to learn?

What motivates me the most is to see results. I love to learn things with different methods and ways: read blogs, read books, read howtos, watch videos. And after reading and thinking about one thing I try to understand it and “build” something related to the new knowledge I got. If there is a working end result which ideally could be used by others and gets documented by me this leads to a very comfortable feeling and motivation for myself to go on and learn more. So it is important to me to interrelate the theoretical and practical parts of a learning topic.

What is the best way to learn this?

Like I mentioned there are different ways to learn something. And I think the best method to learn something is dependend on what exactly you want to achieve. If you for example want to be informed about the latest trends and news in networking, read some blogs, build a twitter network or participate in a slack team/group. If your goal is to get a certification you should mix it a bit more and think about what motivates you to learn constantly. For me this would be a combination of: reading books and blog posts + watch videos about the different topics and make structured notes.

What will have the biggest financial impact?

There are to parts here. One part is what will have the biggest financial impact to my salary. The other part is what are the costs for learning material to get the information and knowledge I need for successfully finishing the certifications.

What do I already have today?

I hold a degree (Bachelor of engineering) in communication technology, have 5 years experience as a network engineer and got a CCNA R&S certification straight after finishing my degree.