Some words for CCIE candidates

I had been planned to be a game/software developer since 10, but I’ve jumped into another industry — network — right after my graduation from college. After dedication of my most of time, I finally have passed three tracks of it — R&S, SP, Sec. Within these years, a lot of people in this industry or not have talked and discussion about CCIE with me. I’d like to share my personal ideas of CCIE about WHAT, WHY and HOW.

What Is CCIE

I’d like to quote some words from the official Cisco site to answer this.

The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification is accepted worldwide as the most prestigious networking certification in the industry. Network engineers holding an active Cisco CCIE certification are recognized for their expert network engineering skills and mastery of Cisco products and solutions. The CCIE community has established a reputation of leading the networking industry in deep technical networking knowledge and is deployed into the most technically challenging network assignments.
The program continually updates and revises its testing tools and methodologies to ensure unparalleled program quality, relevance and value. Through a rigorous written exam and a performance based lab, the CCIE program sets the standard for internetworking expertise.
Cisco introduced the CCIE certification in 1993 to assist the industry in distinguishing the top echelon of internetworking experts worldwide. Today, CCIE certification holders represent less than 3% of all certified Cisco professionals and less than 1% of the networking professionals worldwide.

Why to Be a CCIE

CCIE is hard and expensive to achieve, but people out there still want to get this. There are the reasons from my personal view:

  • Salary. About 10–15 year ago, in China, you could simply have about 10,000–20,000 RMB/year for renting your CCIE certificate to the local Cisco partner company. Though there are an overwhelming number of CCIE in the most developed cities in China, and the average salary has been continued getting lower and lower. People who have passed this certification still have better chances for better jobs, positions and incomes.
  • Challenge. CCIE is considered as one of the most difficult certifications at least in China. During the process of being CCIE, you will face knowledges which not have been understood, known or even heard about. CCIE does not only require you to know them, but also to be an expert on them. This could also be looked at as a disadvantage of being a CCIE, because there is an expectation for you to show your expert level knowledge of networking in a wide range. Of course, you will have difficult issues and some smart-asses want to test you.

I also want to quote from the summary from Ivan’s post about CCIE

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.

How to Become a CCIE

Just some tips for you:

  • Forget about your social life. This is not even an option for you.
  • Read documents from Cisco that relate to exam blueprint
  • Read books that are recommended
  • Keep practicing, lab is important
  • Discuss with other candidates. Mail list is a good choice.
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