I had an interesting conversation yesterday with one of the network engineers at my current job. We began talking about the new position I had received and he seemed very happy for me. This engineer has always been someone that I could pick the brain of. He is very humble and also loves to teach people that are willing to learn. He was a very valuable resource of mine during my studies. I truly will miss him and I hope that at my new place of employment I find someone similar to mentor me.
He began telling me that their are two types of network engineers. Ones that specialize in a certain niche and ones that are more generalist. By that he meant they handle the servers, voice, networking etc. At my current job the network engineers are more on the generalist side since they often need to wear different hats throughout their day. Their are pluses and minuses to being a generalist or specialist. However in my opinion I think being a generalist is good to be during the beginning of your career and then as you grow and learn you pick a specialty and make that your main focus. Of course it is always good to be “well-rounded” however I believe you can only get so far. I much rather be a master in one specific thing then being decent at everything. Reason being is that as you move into more senior roles you will be required to have very in-depth knowledge of a particular niche.
We both agreed on this, and I am very happy to say that my niche will be Cisco. My new employers network infrastructure is all Cisco gear so I know that my studies and day to day work will go hand-in-hand. I feel very fortunate to be given this opportunity and I hope that my transition will go smoothly.