Apart from the people I work with and anyone else I know in IT, most people have not heard the term CCIE, most people have heard of Cisco but fewer actually know what they do. The question I get asked most when I speak with friends or family about my studies is what is a ccie? For those who do know what it is the next big question is how to become a CCIE. In this post I will try to answer both these questions.
What is a CCIE?
CCIE is the highest level of certification offered by Cisco Systems, it stands for Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert. You can become a CCIE in 8 different tracks and to pass the exam you need to pass a written exam which consists of 100 multi choice questions which you can sit at any Pearson Vue testing centre. Then you need to pass an 8 hour lab exam which has to be taken at one of the 9 Cisco testing locations which are based at Cisco locations around the world.
Since 1993 the CCIE has been considered one of the hardest certifications in the IT industry, and anyone who has passed the exam is considered an expert in their field.
As mentioned above you can become a CCIE in one of 8 different tracks, these are currently
- Data Center
- Routing & Switching
- Service Provider
- Service Provider Operations
- Storage Networking
By far the most popular track is Routing & Switching, the main reason for this is the availability of study materials and access to hardware for practice.
Brad Reese has guide to current CCIE numbers worldwide on his site here: http://bradreese.com/worldwide-ccie-count.htm According to this there are about 17,000 CCIE’s in Routing & Switching worldwide, for some reason Cisco stopped publishing these figures a few years ago but the current CCIE numbers are near 35,000.
To maintain your CCIE status you do have to re-take the written exam every 2 years.
How to become a CCIE
The other big question I get asked is how to become a CCIE. The short answer to that is with a lot of hard work!
Seriously though to become a CCIE you need to have a few years of real world network experience and be prepared to devote at least 1000 hours of your life to studying for this exam. You have to become an expert in your chosen track and be able to configure and troubleshoot any issue that Cisco decide to give you in the lab exam.
I would highly recommend getting the support of a CCIE Training company as they will provide you with an end to end solution consisting of workbooks, videos, practice labs and support. You will also need access to hardware to practice on. This can either be your own hardware, virtualised hardware i.e GNS3 or Rack Rentals.
I myself am not a CCIE yet and am currently aiming to take my lab exam in January 2013, I hope this post answers your question if you were looking for the answer.
Any information given in this post is purely my personal opinion and is not endorsed or sponsored by Cisco Systems Ltd