Last update: 2018-12-25
The life of an engineer
For the last 20 years of my life, I have been focusing on many different, strictly technical IT areas. About five years ago I realized, that I must get out from my cave and become more open for meeting and talking to people. I noticed how important, for an engineer, were skills like public speaking, negotiations, customer-facing storytelling, as well as time-management and productivity. I started developing those skills, which led me to become a quite successful half-presales, half-implementation engineer. Unfortunately, I have a curse, called perfectionism. The more I discover, the deeper I want to go. I was constantly improving my networking knowledge, but now I also have to add my soft-skills to the equation. And, it gets even worse. We live in a world of blooming technologies. There are so many new, interesting, valuable, and futuristic technologies being developed. I cannot stick with legacy networks anymore, as they become obsolete. We have to learn new things constantly, and I mean NEW things. It’s not about some fancy feature being introduced by a vendor in an upcoming software release. It’s about utterly new areas, like programming, continuous deployment, microservices, systems integration, automation, blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality, and so on. We (network engineers) get involved in them more and more, whether we want it or not. Fortunately, we always like to learn new things, it’s our nature to dig in. But, there two big issues, which EVERYONE faces, sooner or later. It’s a lack of time. And, we are getting older.
Is there a space for improvement?
I remember the days when I was studying for my first CCNA exam. There was no planning, no time-management, no taking care of diet, health, and exercises. It was all about studying. I slept 5-6h a day, and I was fine. Was it smart? Of course not. But I was young (and stupid), and I know that a young body can handle almost anything. But time flies, and things change. My cravings for knowledge did not drop at all, I still dig in and learn new things. However, when you have a family, mortgage, and full-time job, studying becomes a challenge. So, I wanted to know, how can I keep up with new technologies, not killing myself with over-studying and not neglecting my family. I know there are many ways to improve learning skills, but focusing only on studying is not enough. I recently spent lots of time reading many books, articles, and watching videos about numerous aspects of the physical and mental functioning of a human body. I have always tried to stay healthy (up to my understanding of what healthy meant), but my findings blew my mind. It’s time for the major lifestyle change.
In my research, I checked information about diet, health, sleep, cognition, studying, focus, time-management, efficiency, exercises, even biohacking. There are many good resources available in all those areas. Starting with books where authors focus deeply on a particular topic, ending with bloggers and vloggers (mostly biohacker freaks) developing their cognition and physical health. Where is the challenge? They give themselves up to it, but this is what they usually do full-time. The question is, how do you apply it ALL to the daily life of a mere mortal, working full-time, having kids, traveling a lot, getting stuck in a traffic jam every morning? This is where my journey starts.
Why CCIE Data Center?
“Hold on. You are first writing about modern technologies, and now you want to jump back into legacy CCIE? Again?”
First, it’s not legacy. Many people say the value of CCIE drops, and they try to compare it to emerging movements and trends. They often say: “don’t waste time on CCIE, get into programming”. Yes, programming is cool, but you cannot program things you don’t understand. Network engineers will have to program and automate at some point in time, it’s inevitable, but you still need to know how networks work (yes, in details).
Second, the data center market develops fastest now, so I think CCIE DC is a good direction. The blueprint covers also emerging technologies like IoT, cloud, automation, DevOps, etc.
Third, the CCIE is one of the hardest exams on the market so it may be a good choice to confirm if my plan will work. I may not pass at the end (leaving aside a reason), but I want to verify and develop skills and habits, about which I read a lot, and which seem very reasonable to have nowadays (at least for myself).
So, what’s the plan?
The plan is simple, to develop highly-efficient studying skills, and improve my physical and mental health with “biohacking”. Biohacking is a quite new and popular social movement, which has different meanings, defined by many individuals and organizations. Just like DevOps or SDN 🙂 It is mainly about self-experimenting and altering own body and mind to gain better physical and mental capabilities. But how I see it, we as a society, have deviated many areas of our lives, from what was to be perceived as normal, and with so-called biohacking, we try to re-evaluate and make use of things and techniques, which were discovered and used on daily basis ages ago. Of course, we have new technologies, new studies, and new findings, so there are definitely many new possibilities to consider.
I will be decomposing into pieces and dissecting the following topics:
- Sleep – this is one of the most important habits to work on. If you neglect sleep, all other habits will fail, too.
- Meditation – chasing your goals every day is very exhausting, so it is important to clear your mind and set your mindset properly.
- Exercise – this will be mostly a daily stretching routine, as well as some endurance training, but not for becoming a strongman, rather stay healthy and look masculine.
- Fasting – combined with a good diet becomes a very powerful duo.
- Diet – I have already started with keto. Mindblowing effects.
- Supplements – Nowadays food is not food anymore unless what you buy is 100% organic. Some supplements can also influence significantly cognition.
- Time management – very important piece of the puzzle, so many things to take care of, so little time.
- Speed reading – So many books, so little time.
- Speed typing – you can’t even imagine how much time you waste for staring at the keyboard while typing (and correcting errors) – been there, done that.
- Study techniques – most of the educational systems are lame. Schools do not teach us how to learn. There are so many extraordinary techniques which can improve the learning process and memorization.
- Exam preparations – the CCIE exam is very specific in nature, we have to consider its many parts and prepare for all of them
- The exam itself – it was a real challenge for me, and going through it a second time may be even more interesting.
The order is not as important as sticking with the flow. I will be changing my habits gradually while discovering each topic. I will also verify to what degree it is possible to have ALL habits incorporated into one’s life. There are so many of them, and the day has only 24h. We’ll see how an average person can handle it all combined.
- The main goal here is to get prepared and pass the CCIE DC exam. I already am CCIE certified, so this type of exam is not new to me. I passed my CCIE RS exam with the first attempt almost ten years ago. I was lucky to have lots of time for reading and practicing, so I went to the lab over-prepared. I finished 2 hours before time. Since I passed, I am going to use some of my previous strategies again. The whole process may be easier for me, than for someone approaching CCIE for the first time.
- I am just starting my new journey (as of Dec 2018), so (almost) nothing I write about is verified to work. You are more than welcome to join me, but do not expect anything magic here. Also, something that may work for me may not work for you. Use this information freely, but adjust to your capabilities.
- I will frequently be updating each original post, so sometimes it may be hard to follow changes, but I will try to indicate where they are. This is not going to be a series of blog posts. I want to keep everything concisely in one place. It will be more like a public tracking place for my habits.
I am not, by any means, neither a doctor nor a pharmacist or a scientist. I am just a simple engineer. I will collect and investigate many different lifestyle, mind, and body improvement techniques, found on the Internet, in books, articles, and I will test them on myself. Do not take any information posted here as a reliable source of information. Assume, that every sentence in my article starts with “someone on the Internet said…”. I take no responsibility nor liability for any damage or injury anyone can suffer from applying any of the mentioned techniques, digesting food, drugs, or performing exercises, whatever may be the cause. This article is for informational purposes ONLY. Whatever you do, you do at your own risk.
I do NOT possess, test nor investigate illegal drugs, techniques or even information. By drugs, in my articles, I mean any officially approved substances, which can be purchased in a drug store or a food store, or even on the Internet, but only from legal sources.
Everything I write about comes from many different sources like books, blogs, vlogs, and so on. I usually collect as much data about one topic as I can from different sources, and combine them into one article, so referring those sources becomes almost impossible. If there is a particular source, which was helpful the most, I will point it out. Otherwise, the credit goes to appropriate idea/solution/study owner(s), whoever they are.