In this article, we're going to cover the value of the CCIE Labs. If you are starting out you're probably wondering what certifications would look best on your resume where you should spend your time and how to climb up in the industry?
We all have those questions. But where should you start? Can you dive right in and start studying for the CCIE right now? I had that question when I first started studying for the CCIE I would hear the question and things like it's really hard. Is it really worth it? It takes so much time to acquire.
The answer to it to be honest with you is it's absolutely worth it. You know, having been through the process myself I can tell you firsthand that It's 100 worth the time and effort. You get one of the cool plaques when you finally do pass the lab exam. so if you've got multiple CCIEs you get multiple plaques.
That's just one piece of it, but in order to understand the full value of the CCIE, we need to really understand what CCIE is. So, let's define that first CCIE stands for Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert. So it's Cisco system's top technical implementation certification.
Now there are other expert-level certifications out there as well as CCDE and CCAr. But those are Design and Architect certifications, not technical implementation and troubleshooting exams like CCIE. So the cool thing about it is it's a technical career certification and it's offered by Cisco. So therefore for those of you that have gone after CCNA or CCNP or that's in your game plan. You go for CCNA and CCNP first and then you get your CCIE after that.
The big difference here between CCNA and CCNP and CCIE is that CCNA and CCNP are written exams. Meaning you go to a Pearson Vue, book an exam, and after your exam, you get the result right away. In CCIE it's not a written exam.
You have to take the hours-long exam with two different Modules. After you've done the eight-hour exam then you will usually get your results within about 48 hours. After you've taken the test so the results are not instant so for those of you that are taking the CCNA or CCNP and you're used to seeing that “Congratulations! you've passed or unfortunately, we regret to inform you failed.” CCIE doesn't give you that warm fuzzy feeling.
When you're done you walk out of there. You kind of know whether or not you passed. I knew on my second attempt at the CCIE lab I walked out of there knowing that I had passed. It was just waiting for Cisco to go through their process and give me the thumbs up and eventually gave me my number. Where in CCNA and CCNP you get your results right away.
Now your results do come in via notification, via email so you get an email from CCIE at cisco.com, and then you have to click the URL in the email, and that redirects you to the portal that you authenticate to. Then in really small letters you get the pass or fail and you can get your score report your CCIE number's in there. It gives you a warm fuzzy feeling. I remember getting that email, opening that email up and I ran through the house like a chicken with my head cut off. I was so stoked but I had taken an exorbitant amount of time to earn it.
CCIE is absolutely something that you have to be 100% all-in. It's not something you can be even remotely not sure about. So specifically it's not something you wake up one day and just declare you're going to go after. It's definitely a long-term commitment. A very large portion of the extended year plan. So some people have the intention of doing it in four years, some people want to do it in 10 years. I was kind of Gung-Ho on it. I got into a group of engineers, a study group, and a lot of those guys were really motivated and their motivation motivated me.
So I put everything else on the back burner and I just went after it. One of the things that I had to do when I went after I had to communicate with my family. That I was going to go attack on it. Because this is something where there were several occasions where I stayed home and they would go out of town for the weekend to give me quiet time. I would study the entire weekend. It ramped up my learning process and made it easy for me to understand stuff.
Now, talking about the job. You know the network engineering jobs that I was doing, the consulting projects I was working on they became really easy to execute. Because I was always leveling up my understanding. I was always taking my technical expertise to the next level. Week after week, it takes about a year to two in order to prepare for the CCIE. So, at this time you can take CCNP core exams for the particular track you're in. I can speak from firsthand experience that you really need a CCNP in order to kick off CCIE. Now you can do CCIE without any prerequisite, so you can do you can jump right off and dive right into CCIE.
But you really need a CCNP level of understanding of both theory and implementation in order to be successful with CCIE. So, CCNP is definitely a good foundation. For those that are thinking about pursuing it, it's not about the destination it's all about the journey. Because of one of the things that I found when I was first starting to study for it, I would watch other CCIE work and be mesmerized. I wanted to be versed in that particular technology. The cool thing is once you pass it, it's a huge milestone. I remember getting a lot of praise and recognition. “Congratulations! you passed.”My LinkedIn, Twitter all blew up. It was all congratulations from those that understood the time and the commitment.
The value of the CCIE comes from lots and lots of time spent, lagging up the different capabilities and things like that. If you just go into just read the technologies and you understand the theory and stuff that on its own is not enough to pass the lab exam. You have to actually implement a number of capabilities. So the lab exam makes you prove that you can implement the tasks and get everything up and running. So having a CCIE is a big differentiator as well.
So now that we understand more or less the behind the, let’s dive into why is CCIE such a big deal or why I think it is a big deal. A lot of other CCIEs I know think about it the same way. So one of the things that it does, enables you is to be way more competitive in the job market. So I've gone from CCNP to CCIE and my salary dramatically increased. So I went from just being a network engineer to a senior engineer. I was also a solutions architect and a network architect what's the difference between those two, not a whole lot of network architects are more focused on the operations and getting things to work a certain way. Where solutions architects are trying to integrate with other things.
The average CCIE salary is about 150,000 a year. Having the knowledge on your resume definitely does make you more desirable. The cool thing about it is the reason why you're so desirable Is the exam. As the exam is very hard there are fewer CCIE Certified Engineers than CCNA or CCNP.
In our previous article, we break down the CCIE EI Lab exam details. Here is the link: "CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure Lab Exam Breakdown"