E89 - George Koukis at Cisco

George Barnes
George Koukis

By George Barnes & George Koukis

Today on The Route to Networking podcast we were joined by the George duo, our Co-Founder & Director George Barnes and George Koukis, the Lead Exam Program Manager at Cisco. George Koukis talks to us about how he found moving to the UK and adapting to the culture after relocating from Greece. He provides advice to anyone thinking about stepping out of their comfort zone and pursuing a career in an unfamiliar place.

George is part of the team that put together the Cisco certifications which involve everything from the question to the maintenance. Certifications are a thing that is constantly having to evolve and something that his team have to take into consideration. This requires them to bring new trends and test people on the latest and greatest, with that being said, they still need a blend of the existing, where the technology is going and then the latest and greatest. They have to evolve as the candidates’ needs and technology evolves.

George came straight out of college and went into a Junior Network Engineer role. He wanted to expand his knowledge and horizons and his manager at that time said if you want to stay in this company you need to get certified, so that’s exactly what he did!

He knew what he could do but he just needed to find a way how he could prove his knowledge to others. He decided to take a step back to study to become a CCNA of Wireless. He knew Wireless was expanding back then so it was the route he started off down. He ended up reaching CCNP-level Wireless due to its huge expansion across Europe. George Barnes got him a job through the recruitment process, so he moved from Greece to the UK to start his CCIE journey.

Moving to the UK was a blessing because it gave him the opportunity to focus on his work. He knew he wanted to be successful but taking this on from a personal perspective, the hardest thing for him was the socialising side. When you study English, you learn formal English which he had no problems with there. When you communicate on a personal level nobody teaches you the slang, that was a different ball part for him to learn.


At the beginning of the journey, DevNet was just an idea. The idea was to take things you do on a daily basis and try to automate them to make things faster and more efficient. Now people are starting to see this is the future and they have seen a huge increase in numbers daily taking the DevNet certs.

What a disaster…

Not everything goes to plan, especially in the Networking industry. When he was taking his CCIE lab, he completed everything, all the configuration was done, he just needed to cross-check a few things before leaving. When he checked the wireless interfaces, the whole system was down. He had no idea why…

George shares some advice if he was to go back and talk to his 16-year-old self. It’s something that everyone can take something from so make sure you give the episode a listen now!