The world needs more network design experts.
That's what I believe. That's what I see.
I will not call myself as a design expert. But I've been traveling intensively the past 6 months, meeting different customers in different countries, to conduct design workshops in multiple projects. I may not be the best but it seems like not many people can do what I do. Or willing to do what I do. Or combination of both.
No certification program can make you a design expert. Not even CCDE. You need all of the following three instead:
Network or strong connection to many subject matter experts is crucial because I don't know anyone who is an expert in all the technologies and in different vertical industries. You need to know whom to ask. An expert is not the one who knows all the answers, but the one who knows how to find the answers.
Experience doing various design work can't be replaced with any certification. Experience to lead design workshop can't be tested in the exam. Experience to capture customer requirement, to present the proposed solution, and to defend it, is very difficult to be simulated in any classroom training.
Technical skills that relevant are still required. The skills must be broad and into not only deep understanding of how the technology works, but as well as why, when and where to apply it in different situation and scenarios.
In short: you may start with building the technical skills. Then you get experience by doing real design work. You gain more experience by doing more design work. At the same time you build your network, your connection. You build reputation. And someday, your customers and peers may reward you by calling you a Design Expert.
Last week I launched Project DEW to help with the technical skills part. During DEW workshop expect to see heavy discussion on design options for each technology covered. There will be exercise using CCDE-like design scenarios to gain the required skills: ability to analyze design requirements, develop network designs, implement, validate and optimize network design. And it's a weekend workshop program to help those who can't be off from work just to attend classroom training. The program is created to help network engineers to gain real network design skills. You may not do design work in daily basis, this workshop is for you. You may not have chance to meet another guys who design the network at your current work, well this is your chance. You may not want to take any certification bootcamp that focuses only to pass the exam, DEW is definitely for you.
But even DEW can provide some level of experience with exercise to analyze requirement until proposing design to answer it, you still need more. You need to be surrounded by design experts. You need to start building your connection. You need to hear and learn from others' experiences.
So other than Project DEW, I'm also launching Design Expert Warriors - DEW Community. It's a group filled up with design experts and those who want to be one. You can join if you are a CCDE, or you have taken any of DEW workshop, or you have the real design skill and extensive experience in network design, and willing to share it.
This is not another CCDE study group. This is a global community consists of those with real design expertise who are willing to share their experiences, and those who want to get the connection, who want to acquire design skills, who want to learn from others' experiences. It's a collaborative effort to become successful together.
I can help you with CCDE preparation but I want to do more. I don't want to see more design certified people. I want to see more Design Expert Warriors.
Who's with me?
And please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to join DEW workshop.