Future of Cisco Tracks Part 1 | CCIE Exained

By + | May 5, 2015


The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) remains what is perhaps the single most coveted networking certification available to IT professionals. Internationally recognized, the CCIE is an expert-level credential achievable by only the most highly skilled, technically proficient and experienced IT networking professionals. All roads in the Cisco certification path lead to the CCIE, making it a career pinnacle and the culmination of years of hard work, training and experience. CCIE credential holders are recognized by peers and employers alike as experts in their respective networking fields. Such skilled professionals possess superior network engineering skills and are able to manage and operate large, complex networks, as well as develop creative solutions to complex networking problems across a broad range of circumstances and technologies.

Currently, there are seven different CCIE certification specializations available, each corresponding a Cisco certification path: Collaboration, Data Center, Routing and Switching, Security, Service Provider, Service Provider Operations and Wireless. In addition to a rigorous written exam, credential seekers are also required to pass a strenuous lab examination. Labs are timed and designed to test technical skills such as problem determination and the ability to find solutions under stressful conditions.

Obtaining the CCIE is time intensive and requires commitment. IT professionals who like a marathon will find the rewards at the end of the journey — recognition, prestige and earning potential, to name a few — make the CCIE credential well worth the strenuous effort involved in earning one. A CCIE is a long-term career goal that should be considered by IT professionals who are serious about their networking careers.

Required Courses: None.

Required Exams: Each certification path requires both a written and lab exam. Written exam scores are valid for 18 months. Lab exams must be attempted within 18 months of the written exam. CCIE candidates may not schedule a lab exam until a passing score is received on the written exam. Candidates must retake the written exam if the lab exam is not passed within three years.

Exam Costs: Written exams are $400 or equivalent worldwide. Lab exams are $1,600 or equivalent worldwide per attempt (available only at specific Cisco sites worldwide). Exam rates may vary based on exchange rates and local taxes (VAT, GST). Pearson VUE is the authorized Cisco test delivery partner. US and Canada only: 1-877-404-EXAM; contact online: www.vue.com/cisco.

Source: Peter John Hill

There was a time when I wanted to get a CCIE. Eventually one gets to a point where experience trumps certificates. Just having a CCIE is no guarantee that Facebook or Google will hire you. I’m sure they have interviewed CCIEs and then rejected them for even a junior engineer position.

If you are new to the field, a CCIE it is a nice challenge to shoot for, but even better is to get a job in the field. IMHO, don’t waste time at home alone in a lab preparing for a CCIE if you have zero job experience. Once you have that base level of knowledge that gets you in the door at a job that gets you near a router, go for it.

I started out as the tech guy at a pair of private high schools. I had to teach secretaries how to do mail merges. I had to manage exchange servers. I also got to manage their 2501 router and Cat 5K/RSM “core” router. I was lucky to find a great mentor who inspired me. I’ve interviewed way to many people with a CCIE who haven’t worked in the field.

Openflow and all the other wizbang new networking technologies are not going to take of the world tomorrow. There are way too many devices out there running ospf and bgp to even consider saying that the skills you need to pass the CCIE won’t stay relevant. I love our field. We have awesomely interesting problems to solve. If you bring that hunger for knowledge and a proven ability to dive deep into core protocols (including TCP/IP), Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc will find you.

Source: Ivan Peplnjak http://blog.ipspace.net/2012/02/does-ccie-still-make-sense.html?m=1

Does CCIE still make sense?
A reader of my blog sent me this question:

I am a Telecommunication Engineer currently preparing for the CCIE exam. Do you think that in a near future it will be worth to be a CCIE, due to the recent developments like Nicira? What will be the future of Cisco IOS, and protocols like OSPF or BGP? I am totally disoriented about my career.
Well, although I wholeheartedly agree with recent post from Derick Winkworth, the sky is not falling (yet):

Derick, Amazon and Google are years ahead of (almost) everyone else.
Technology changes are never abrupt. It took SNA decades to die (and it’s still kicking).
TCP/IP will not disappear in the foreseeable future. One would hope to see IPv4 disappear, but even there I’m not an optimist.
Nicira NVP is a point solution for huge IaaS clouds. It will be years before something similar will take hold in mid-range data centers. Most of them don’t need more than what VLANs offer today.
Data centers are not the only environment where we need networking (although they are the fastest evolving one).
CCIE gives you a lot of knowledge you’ll need in the future – regardless of whether you’ll be configuring routers or virtual appliances from Cisco, Juniper, Vyatta or someone else. The same applies to firewalls, load balancers etc.
The never-ending layers of abstractions, facades and glass panes don’t make the technology less complex – they’re just hiding the exploding complexity and zillions of hastily thrown together moving parts. Someone will have great fun fixing the whole enchilada once it breaks down (and you can’t reformat a network like a laptop).
On the other hand, do remember that networking is just plumbing – it works best when you don’t know it’s there – and CCIE, while indubitably being the most prestigious certification in this space, is no longer The Top Gun it was when it was introduced.

To summarize: Go for your CCIE, but focus on knowledge not typing skills and memorized configuration commands … and never expect your CCIE certification to be a final step to a lifelong nirvana. If you decide to work in a data center environment, you’ll have to learn a lot more about virtualization, servers, storage, and emerging technologies – but that’s what makes it so much fun.

Finally a snarky thought on the OpenFlow versus OSPF/BGP conundrum. Although the OpenFlow pundits like to tell us how OSPF, BGP, and the rest of the protocols we use today are broken (and I somewhat agree with their “having a separate protocol for each problem is stupid” mantra – I would just use BGP+MPLS 😀 ), we’ve seen wide-area systems with centralized management and control planes before – they were called SDH, Frame Relay and ATM networks. Do I have to say more?

Part 2 will cover CCIE Datacenter and its Future

Jeremy Cissell
Network Engineer


About Jeremy Cissell -A results-driven IT professional with experience in Cisco Data Systems, Network Administration, Cabling & Infrastructure, Information Systems Project Management & Support.Network Consultant located in Louisville, Kentucky. You can also find me on Twitter, Google+, or Manta.

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