|Today I have a special treat for you — an exclusive written interview with the CCIE Agent Emmanuel Conde.|
Eman (Emmanuel Conde) has the distinction of being the only CCIE recruiter promoted by World Wide Channels of Cisco Systems. Eman earned this distinction because of his tireless efforts on behalf of CCIEs and developing Cisco talent. He has spoken at Cisco Academy events, developed an international CCIE mentor program, writes for ITWorld magazine, has a very active blog focused on CCIE career concerns, and produces the CCIE Flyer an online magazine published monthly. He has developed a unique approach to recruitment which includes giving back to the CCIE community through his advice, career columns and CCIE Mixers which are networking events he hosts internationally. Unique to the industry is his specialization in CCIE recruitment and the many ways he has created a presence in the CCIE community. He is featured in many CCIE blogs, supports live music in Second Life where he advertises on two stages, created the CCIE Network in LinkedIn, has run the only CCIE supported CCIE Salary Survey, has appeared on TV advising Hispanic viewers about IT careers, works with CCIE training companies internationally to provide career advice to students as they prepare for the CCIE Labs, and he is now sponsoring schools in Delaware and NYC as part of the Cisco Network Academy program and IT Rocks.
So I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview Eman.
1. Regardless the previous introduction, I think the readers need to know Who is Emmanuel Conde personally?
I am an old fart who has been in IT since the early 1970s. My first mainframes were huge ugly US Navy systems Grumman Varion 2000s, I used to troubleshoot systems on various Airframes. From there it was on to IBM big blues, then Midrange systems like IBM 400s, then Client server, and finally network products like Cisco, Nortel and 3Com. I managed a large team of CCIEs for BANI (Bell Atlantic Network Integration) This was in the 90s where I learned about the care and feeding of CCIEs. Who I am? Well I am a guitar player, father and husband. I actually care about the people I meet and have in my network and my life. So it is often difficult for me to let things which are potentially bad for someone just happen. I guess this is why I worked so hard to get Karam out of Lebanon and to free two CCIEs from a channel partner that had basically stolen their CCIE numbers. Cisco really helped out there and while I was on the phone disassociated the numbers on my word.
2. What is really a CCIE Agent and what is so special about being a CCIE Agent?
I coined the term CCIE Agent because I feel that with so few CCIEs in the world they need representation by a person who acts on their behalf like a sports agent or talent agent. Careers are more important than jobs sometimes and I think this is key to CCIEs.
3. What does it mean to you to be working closely with those who are considered the best in the market?
This to me is the pinnacle of success. It has never been done before and my every move is important for me and the industry. So it means I have to be dependable and vigilant in regard to my network. I am a supply sided agent an advocate for the CCIE.
4. How do you explain/see the increase of the number of CCIEs in the last year?
The CCIE Number climbs ever higher but the number of CCIEs increases at a slower rate. There are many aged CCIEs who let their number lapse or retire. This past Sunday in Dubai a 3rd try CCIE got his number and it is 23459. I was in Dubai and met him at Narbik’s class there and he was really happy when he sent me his celebratory email.
5. How do you see the networking market nowadays and in the near future?
The Networking arena is still robust and I am seeing demand from many new markets like Libya, Nigeria, Egypt, Botswana. In the US and Canada the demand still remains high and I have a few new roles in the UK.
6. How do you think the strong competition between the different vendors will affect the CCIE and other CISCO certifications?
With Cisco having such a huge market share I see the competitors losing engineers. In fact some of my best candidates come from them. Their engineers learn Cisco because they have to interconnect in blended networks. Then they get the bug and go for certifications which results in them calling me.
7. As being so close to both the employers and candidates, what do you think are the main qualifications and skills that is needed by the Network Professionals to compete in today’s crowded market?
Experience! Hard to get sometimes, but always in big demand and behind that certification. To compete in any market key is confidence gained from strong knowledge and communications skills. Specifically there is a big demand for Unified Communications skills and then Security, Routing and Switching and Service Provider. My crystal ball tells me that storage will take a big leap in demand in the next 5 year though!
8. Do you think that it really makes different to have multiple CCIE certifications?
Not really. I know a lot of dual, triple and a couple of quad CCIEs. The amount of money you earn does not double, triple or quadruple to match the certs. Experience and a single CCIE certification is enough to be successful.
9. After running the CCIE salary survey for a while, do you think the salary average is increasing or decreasing?
Stagnant for the past two years as an average. But that is due to things like geography and lack of knowledge about the global market. I think the more exposure CCIEs have to information about these markets the more their salaries will increase.
10. How can you help network engineers all over the world to plan and find thier right placements? Are you helping only CCIEs?
I am heavily supported by the Cisco SRS program and the World Wide Channels team. Whenever a CCIE reaches out to me I try and advise them about roles and if I have none in an area they are looking I contact the CAMs from their targeted region and get introduced to the channel partners in the area. This results in an interview and hopefully a placement. But I do not only support CCIEs. The CCIE is my main service for Cisco since it helps the channel partner gain Silver or Gold status, but I help network engineers at any level. My team of recruiters actually handle most of those roles and there are many!
11. What is the CCIE flyer and how can it be useful for readers?
The CCIE Flyer is my love. I enjoy relationships with many CCIEs and 24 are regular contributors in one form or another. It became impossible to reach out to every member of my network individually about roles, So I have a Want Ad section which carries my urgent positions and allows the folks in my network a chance to tell me which they would like to discuss. The CCIE Flyer had over 37,000 unique sessions in February alone. I was amazed at the popularity of it so I am always trying to improve my magazine.
12. How can we reach you or request your service?
Thank you so much Eman for your time and information that I think will be helpful for all the readers.