Almost a decade ago I passed my first CCIE exam. And even after being CCIE for about 10 years, there are still some people who like to have a debate with me about whether or not it matters to have certification. I usually try to avoid such discussion, and simply show from my own experience how CCIE has impacted my life.
Having knowledge about Cisco and networking in general gave me chance to work in world class companies such as Schlumberger, IBM and with Cisco Systems itself. I had opportunity to work with the best networking guys in the industry, including with some Ciscopress authors that I used to only know and read their names from the book cover. I have been in many interesting places from Cisco HQ in Silicon Valley to Bangkok, Singapore, Hanoi, Prague, Munich, Bratislava, London, Istanbul, Dubai, Mexico City and many others including soon to one unique place in Africa. I joined Cisco and have almost unlimited access to the detailed hardware and software architecture of the products ever since. I have been involved in several interesting projects with leading edge technologies. I have to deal with important Cisco customers, large scale networks, and I have been in the situation multiple times when I am expected to be the last resort to solve the challenge. I'm part of the team where the other team members are well known in Cisco community and even outside the organization. I have chance to deploy the latest Cisco products such as CRS-3 or ASR9K before many others. And recently I had opportunity to help developing the CCIE program by building new lab questions and taking the alpha exam.
Some people may be able to achieve the same or even more without CCIE, but in my case it was the CCIE certificate and the expertise gained during the preparation, that took me to the next level.
I didn't even plan for all the above when the first time I decided to learn about networking. I didn't know what the certification or CCIE would take me. What I knew at the time when I started, I enjoyed learning about networking and I used Cisco certification program to help and as guidance in my learning.
I did what I like, and the rest is just history.
Instead of arguing, you should probably do the same.