Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom

People talk about whether knowledge or experience is better – I believe that knowledge is better but the experience matters too. Michel passed his CCIE lab exam recently, Daniel is close to taking the exam. I say this piece of conversation on Twitter.

Exam experience wisdom

I have to admire the openness and good humour of these men. Daniel already knows the answer of course, but Michel is making a good point. Knowing all the theory in the world will not necessarily make you the best engineer. Equally, having all the experience in the world will not make you the best engineer.

It’s possible that there are jobs where either of these is true. Maybe having twenty five years of experience on X25 is still useful. Or maybe knowing the X25 protocol in full detail so as to build X25 terminal software is important.

But having both experience and knowledge leads to wisdom. Knowing what you can and cannot do, helps to make the right choice. Practical experience means being able to fit into a team, and learning how to communicate, fill out the paperwork, making better technical choices, understanding how technologies move through acceptance to death, and so much more.

> there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path… Morpheus, The Matrix (Movie)

  • Daniel Dib

    Good post Greg. This is very true. I’m just about to start at a new employer with more senior work and network design involved. Getting a CCIE won’t do a lot for my career at the moment, it will lead to respect among others of course but with that respect comes also expectations. I plan to see this thing through but there is this thing called life that you don’t know what will get thrown at you so whatever the result I will definately not regret the studying. The learning experience is tremendous whether I get a cert or not.

  • MCLNicolas

    You could have told us something on twitter Greg 😀

  • Anonymous

    Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Experience is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. It is difficult to gain experience without also gaining knowledge. It is rather trivial to gain knowledge with no experience.