There is some buzz going on at the moment about a guy that has managed to pass his CCIE at something like 18 years of age. First of all, congratulations to him for a job well done. However, I would point out that this isn’t exactly a great achievement. In my opinion, there are people who are much more worthy of recognition for passing a certification.
Time and Energy
There are two prerequisites to starting a study program ( for whatever certification you choose), the first is time. Time to read, absorb information, attend training courses, etc. The second is energy, the desire to do something better and be something more than you are today.
Money and Commitment
After you have the prerequisites, you needs the means. You need money for two things: purchase study materials, or courses if you need them and pay for the examinations. Second, money to sustain yourself during the process.
Commitment means that you must be able to prioritise study time ahead of other projects. Simple enough.
Motivation and Execution
And finally, you need to turn all of this into an ongoing process of motivation to keep going until you execute on the exam and pass.
Who is better able to achieve this ?
If I consider someone who is, say, mid thirties, married with two kids at school, mortgage, extended family commitments, a job at a reseller working for five or six clients and compare them with an teenager with a job who has a limited number of external commitments. The married guy has more motivation but the ability to commit, execute as well as find the time and money are very limited. The younger person can more easily change their life to make plenty of time, put money aside – the greater challenge for a young person is motivation to complete the program.
Who is going to find it harder or tougher to complete a study program ? That’s right, the married person with a life full of commitments and responsibilities needs to work a lot harder, and be more focussed. And probably has to re-learn how to study (ten years since school) and their mind is slower to learn.
Be Aware of the Everyone
So by all means, recognise the achievement, but the people that you should truly admire are the older people, who managed their time, resources, commitments and personal energy to be able to complete a certification, run a family, hold a job, and stay sane. The “youngest something ever” looks good on an advertising banner, and your lizard brain responds to these kinds of words ( like the “10 Best Tips for” or “Top 5 Reasons”) . But take time to think about it, at eighteen years of age I had time, energy, commitment – I just didn’t have the opportunity or access to money.
Please don’t believe what you read and take time to think about the back story and what other people might be experiencing. Here is what I would celebrate – the “Oldest CCIE to Pass” because they would have worked harder and sacrificed much more, and probably been humble enough to say nothing. Anyone know who that would be ?