I remember how challenging was to achieve my CCIE cert, and how much time I spent to study broad topics on a deep level, specially in terms of Implementation and Troubleshooting. Ultimately I have used this experience to move forward to Design and Architect space.
Of course there is also part of the CCIE preparation to practice a lot of Vendor specific commands, but let’s face it, if one not working in OPs, those commands will fade away quickly, but the concepts not, and you can still apply all the stuff, you just need more time, and get some refresh. On the long road, for me CCIE was never about CLI, but used those commands to understand the theories.
I’m big fan of Network Automation & Open technologies and used Linux before, and scripted stuff before. I think generally getting dev skills (Python) has real value.Ultimately we don’t like the boring stuff, so we try to solve interesting problems using creative ways.
Network Automation and development shall be the de facto way of working in the future,and an important skill but getting a CCIE is more about a personal & technical challenge, which is useful, and will be useful in the future also – in my view, although I agree that the exam shall include some aspects of network automation, and shall be updated to be more realistic.
So ultimately I would put an AND logic, and not an OR logic between getting Expert Level Certification & Network Automation. As the top engineers of the future will be expert in networking concepts, and effective in engineering and delivery, and will support the business using agile methods.