How to Become a Networking Rockstar – with Rick Mur (CCIE JNCIE)

by Mirek Burnejko

CCIE JNCIERick Mur (CCIE JNCIE) is the MAN. Not because he is a young engineer who has three CCIE certifications (Routing and Switching, Service Provider and Storage Networking) and one JNCIE certification. Not because he is a part of a development team in IPexpert.
Rick Mur is the man, because he uses all knowledge from IT Certifications in his day-to-day work. He works with the biggest projects in Europe for service providers, big data centers and mobile operators.

In this interview you will find:

  • Why a guy with three CCIE certifications thinks about JNCIE as a good investment?
  • Why CCIE Storage is a hard exam and JNCIE is quite fun?
  • Which IT certification is a must for a good network engineers?
  • How to become a networking Rockstar?


IT Certification Master: Rick, it is a pleasure to have you here in IT Certification Master. Tell me what was your first certification and what was your last one?

Rick Mur: Thanks you for having me! I hope that I can be of any service to you. My first certification ever was when I was pursuing the Microsoft MCSE track. I passed MCSA and MCSE for Windows 2003, so these were the first certifications I passed when I was just out of high school. The last certification was the JNCIE-M lab that I passed in June 2011.

ICM: You have three CCIE certifications (RS, SP and Storage) and JNCIE-M. Tell me, which one gave you the biggest improvement to your career?

RM: All of them have their own value in my career and on my resume. The job that I currently hold is thanks to CCIE R&S. So I have to say that this was the one that gave the biggest improvement. I think that when you pass your first CCIE, no matter which one, it gives such a boost to your career when you earn those digits!

As I work mostly for large Service Provider customers the JNCIE-M was also a very good addition as we do a lot of consultancy on Juniper equipment it has a lot of advantages to have that logo on your business card as well.

ICM: Which one was the hardest? On our list of the hardest IT certifications CCIE Storage is on the 5th place. What do you think about it?

I think they are all hard to pass. The CCIE Storage networking is definitely the one that costs the most in terms of hardware and possible training material, but the material that is out there is very good! Compared to other CCIE certifications, the Storage one tests a lot on features of the platform, where in other tracks you are tested on protocols and interworking. The Storage track requires you to know EVERYTHING that is possible on the MDS. Additionally I think that the written is the hardest written test to pass! That took some blood, sweat and tears to pass as the questions are so theoretic and really require you to know the Fibre Channel protocol by heart!

So I agree that the CCIE Storage is very difficult to pass, but I think the SP Ops should be treated equal as studying for that track is even harder as there is 0 study material currently available.

ICM: Which one was the funniest? In other words, which certification was the most excited to learn and to pass?

RM: By far I got most excitement in studying for the JNCIP and JNCIE labs. The Juniper labs are just so nice to make! They really test you on thorough knowledge of the products, the protocols and even some optimal design.

You are required to deliver a well performing and scalable network and it will cost you points when paths through that network are not optimal!

ICM: Do you have any other goals? Virtualization, design, other vendors?

RM: I do have some goals. One of them is the CCDE. Most of my work is writing network assessments and designing networks, so the CCDE is a good addition to that. Other goals are that I’d like to earn a B.sc. and (hopefully) M.sc. title in the near future.

ICM: You work mainly as a network expert. Tell me which certification is a must for all people who think serious about their job as network engineers.

RM: As a network expert you really want to earn a professional level of certification at all vendors that you want to support and if you want to support multiple product lines at several vendors than a professional level is probably the best choice as you can’t be an expert in everything! At least that’s my opinion. I chose specifically not to pursue any other expert level tracks like Security or Voice, due to the fact that I don’t think I can deliver the quality as I think that an ‘Expert’ should have.

ICM: You know the industry. In your opinion, in 2012, what is the best start (what certifications) for a person, who wants to be a rockstar in the near future?

RM: To be a rockstar, the Expert certifications are always very good to start. Furthermore a good resume with projects that require expert level knowledge definitely bring you where you want to be.

To start, study-study-study and focus! Focus and concentration is important when studying for these high-end certifications. Then combined with enough enthusiasm you can pass any test!

ICM: Thank you so much. Tell us where we can find you?

RM: You can always find me on LinkedIN or through my website. I’m visiting several conferences this year, one is already confirmed and that is Cisco Live San Diego where I’d love to meet and have drinks with great networking talents and rockstars. So send me a message through my LinkedIn and I’d love to meet you!

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Telindus Rick MurRick Mur – is a 24-year old networking expert that has been in networking right after he graduated from high school. He quickly absorbed all knowledge he could get his hands on and now uses this in his day-to-day job supporting all large Internet Service Providers and Mobile Operators in The Netherlands. He works on designs, implementations, escalations and is a public speaker at networking events. Rick currently works as a Technical Consultant at Telindus-ISIT in the Netherlands and holds a CCIE (#21946) in Routing & Switching, Service Provider and Storage Networking along with a JNCIE-M (#851).

[This is part of the Interviews with IT Pros Series]

  • Rick is simply awesome. A huge inspiration to all network engineers.

    • ICM

      Not only to NETWORK engineers 🙂 Thank you Big Evil.

  • Lukasz Dorosz

    Great article! As Big Evil wrote ” a huge inspiration to all…”
    I wait for next interviews with another awesome persons.

    • ICM

      Thanks Lukasz. There will be more inspirations and rockstars 🙂

  • Grzegorz Zowsik

    Great job! Now give us more and longer interviews! 🙂 Good luck!

    • ICM

      Hi Grzegorz.
      Rick is the man and also was/is my inspiration.
      I am going to add new interviews once one/two weeks.
      Thank you so much.

  • Jochem

    Nice job, proud to have you on some nearby projects…keep up THE good and great job…one happy collegue

    • ICM

      Hi Jochem. I believe in Telindus you have much more rockstars. I have heard a lot of good words about your company.

  • Great article indeed! I have to give it to you Rick is an example or Role Model to many starting network engineer … it very motivating to see someone that knowledgeable setting an example for others 🙂

    • ICM

      Thank you for you update Ivan. You are also an inspiration for many network guys. Any plans for fifth CCIE or CCDE? 🙂

  • I am currently busy with my Master Degree of System and Network Engineering at the University of Amsterdam (that will take another 1,5 years) when I am finished with than I am planning to do CCIE wireless and CCDE and CCA… 🙂 so the plans are there …

  • Rishi Sharma

    Hi Mirek,

    I’ve red thorough the article of the same and there i find rejuvenation and lots of enthusiasm for Network Engineers especially…

    I’m very excited this time to thank you and I appreciate your job.
    The way you took Rick’s interview and provide once again awesome stuffs towards the vast Networking subject…

    Please keep providing us the great stuff like this…
    I appreciate you once again for your overall great job work.

    Have a great day a head.

    • Thank you so much Rishi.
      Rick is the man and I believe we should learn from him a lot. He is a great guy.
      Thanks for your words and good luck!
      Mirek

  • Rick is clearly a networking rockstar, but I can’t help but chuckle a bit at how his age is always mentioned, as if it’s somehow relevant.

    • ICM

      Thank you so much for your answer Chris.
      His age is always mentrioned and I belive always will be. The curse 🙂
      Rick and few other guys (we have an interview scheduled even with an younger expert) give a lot of motivation for me and other engineers. He can, so I can 🙂

  • Wow, amazing interview. Rick is a great engineer and also a huge inspiration to all, especially for young guys like me who dream to enter into this wonderful world make of routers, switches ando so on. I’m 21, I hold only a CCNA and completing by BS in Telecommunication Engineering righ now but I really hope to have the strenght, the courage and also the luck to become what I want 🙂

    • ICM

      Hi Gabriele. Thank you for your comment.
      Good luck with your journey to CCIE.

  • Marcial

    Mirek, good job with this interview !

    • ICM

      Thanks Marcial. Every week we are going to add a new interview with an IT Pro.

  • Nishad Dadhaniya

    No world for this amazing article. I’ve just made a plan and decided to go with CCIE RS and I’ve just came across this article. This will help me a lot as I already decide to go with the CCIE certification and add strength and confidence. Defiantly, this will not make journey easy but it will worth to take it 😉

    Thanks for this NICE INSPIRING article,
    Thanks a lot.

    • ICM

      Thank you for this comment. I’m so inspiring that you want to choose that way. Good luck Nishad.

  • Sahil

    “Genius”

  • I can’t count the number of times I’ve read this article since it was posted. This is so inspirational, his story is so inspiring! Especially to a young person like myself who wants to achieve similar goals. Simply amazing!
    I look forward to more posts with more Networking Rockstars because I can’t get enough of these inspiring stories.
    Thank you for posting!