North American Network Operators Group

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Re: list problems?

  • From: Vadim Antonov
  • Date: Thu May 23 03:55:33 2002

On Wed, 22 May 2002, Andrew Dorsett wrote:

> I have to say that the idea of requiring a degree for the IT industry is
> obsurd.  

In my many years as network operator / software engineer / engineering 
manager I found that most "computer" guys (even the better ones) have very 
shallow understanding of things which are supposed to be central in their 
profession - such as formal logic, algorithms, probability theory, and 
mathematics in general.  My favourite way to impress new hires is to 
engage them in chat about things like skip lists or dependency of queue 
length from parameters of inter-arrival times distribution.  At that point 
they start to say things like "Oh! I can use that!" and I have little 
trouble having them to do things my way in the future :)

It is definitely possible to do routine job (like slapping together a 
network doing BGP over OSPF, or whatever) but coming with things like that 
in the first place (or figuring out why things don't work when they 
should by something more effective than changing things at random) 
requires discipline of thought which can be acquired only by systematic 
study of mathematics and engineering.

> A computer engineer/scientist only learns in college how to code 
> software or design hardware.  Not how to maintain a network or configure 
> a router.  That is what the career certs are for, they should be 
> designed into college curriculums and then maybe I would enjoy my 
> college experience......

The knowledge of how to configure a router is highly ephemeral.  The
_skill_ of understanding complicated stuff and quickly digging out an
answer in the mountains of arcane texts is permanent.  I do think that
colleges teach too many specifics at the expense of fundamentals, and
spend too little effort on getting students to think (instead of applying
recipes).  Adding vendor-specific certs is only going to make that worse.

> Cisco Certified Network Associate

I do not have any certs :)