Worth Reading: Iron Chef - Certification Edition

In one of his recent blog posts Tom Hollingsworth described what I semi-consciously felt about the CCIE lab exam for at least 25 years: it’s full of contrived scenarios that look more like Iron Chef than real life.

I understand they had to make the lab harder and harder to stop cheating (because talking with candidates and flunking the incompetents is obviously not an option), and there’s only so much one can do with a limited set of technologies… but forcing networking engineers to find ever-more-devious ways to solve overly-complex problems is nothing else but fuel for rampant MacGyverism.

Anyway, I don’t think this mess will ever be fixed, so the only thing we can do is to enjoy the rant.


  1. Last year I failed CCIE Security lab and they were using a completely different approach. 1. Instead of creating difficult tasks, create a million of simple ones 2. Instead of preconfiguring essential things (like addresses, VRFs and routing), give a completely blank device, so that a candidate would spend more time 3. Is it a security lab? Introduce errors in tasks that are not related to security (for example, shut down all WiFi radio interfaces in WiFi+ISE task), and that your candidate might be not familiar with.

  2. I had an engineer colleague who was in love with his in-depth knowledge, and always created complex designs even if he could kept it simple (I'm talking about DC networks, not MPLS TE). Albeit I told him many times, he couldn't understand what "KISS" means and he always had to redesign his masterpieces when handing them over to operations (large organization, not a small startup where he operates his whole environment).

    Please note I'm not belittling people who have CCIE. They're very skilled networkers but I think the majority of their extensive knowledge is only valuable in corner cases.

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