What is the CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) Certification?
The CCIE is the highest level of networking qualification available from Cisco and is considered the pinnacle of expertise in terms of networking knowledge. On a Worldwide scale the CCIE is considered one of the most prestigious and valued qualifications available in the networking sphere. Understandably as a result only the most capable and experienced network professionals manage to climb the Cisco qualification pyramid to achieve this much sort after qualification.
The Gold Standard of Networking
Cisco introduced the CCIE Certification back in 1993 to help identify the top ranks of internetworking experts globally. The result was that CCIE became the gold standard in technical networking certification (as opposed to Network Design Certification which is the CCDE and the CCA). Cisco Certified Internetworking Experts have a reputation of leading the networking field with their mastery of the most complex technical knowledge and the ability to manage the most technical challenging of network assignments. To give you some idea of how prestigious this certification is bear in mind that today CCIE certification holders represent less than 1% of networking professionals worldwide. When you achieve your CCIE you know you have reached the top and so will everyone else.
Cisco Certification Levels
To put the CCIE into context it is useful to take a look at the levels of certification that Cisco offer, these move up in terms of expertise, experience and difficulty and start off at entry level suitable for networking novices and peaks with the CCIE only the CCDE and CCA are considered higher or comparable and they is focused around solution design not technical networking. The Cisco certification levels leading up to the CCIE are as follows:
The lower levels are often prerequisites for the levels above, so you wont be able to work your way to the top over night, each layer of certification represents the evolution of your own skills and achievements. The CCA at the very top has to be validated by the board of directors at CISCO and cannot be achieved by exams alone. However in terms of technical networking expertise, Cisco highest offering is the CCIE making it highly prized worldwide.
What Specialisation Tracks are Available for the CCIE?
The CCIE offers eight different tracks to choose from for your CCIE. These tracks are focused in on varied areas of expertise within the internetworking arena and include:
- Data Centre Track
- Routing and Switching Track
- Security Track
- Service Provider Track
- Service Provider Operations Track
- Storage Networking Track
- Voice Track
- Wireless Track
Each track represents the highest level of expertise in it’s field, achieving your specialised track for your CCIE means that you will be joining an elite community of professionals worldwide who can boast the same level of technical expertise. More details can be found on the official Cisco learning website.
Are Their Any Prerequisites for the CCIE?
Unlike many of the other Cisco levels of qualification other certifications there are no formal prerequisites for any of CCIE certification tracks. However there is a very challenging written paper and a hand-on lab exam. To expect to be able to pass these exams you will be required to have in-depth knowledge of Cisco networking along with specialist knowledge of the track you have chosen. Cisco recommends that you only attempt this certification if you have at least 3-5 years hands-on experience in the field.
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