Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Font Size




EOD thoughts

Trying to look ahead–Is the CCIE R&S certification worth the effort?

When I initially compared the graphs below my intention was to refocus my studies for what is becoming relevant for my new role. That was happening yesterday. Today I came across this article “CCIE certification debate continues despite exam's SDN, cloud updates” which tries to be balanced by showing opinions from both camps.  What bothers me is a quote from another article with a similar title: Is the CCIE becoming irrelevant ? In this article the author gives his perspective based on interviews he had in the area where he lives with mostly small and medium size companies. According with him the experience with Open source and having a GIThub portfolio are not relevant. His article had a large audience and the tweet with the link to this article was re tweeted countless times in the following days.

In my opinion his logic is flawed for two reasons: whatever happens in a small area in US is largely irrelevant for a bigger trend in the industry which starts and can be measured at the opposite end (big companies, country wide) . Most of the times the trend set by the big players if followed by the smaller/medium size companies if it applies to them.

The other reason why he is wrong is shown in the graphs below which show the emerging technologies and their various stages of adoption. I fail to see how CCIE R&S in particular is relevant for most of these new emerging and diverging technologies. Most of these technologies started as open source projects and I would bet my life on this, if you happened to be a contributor to these projects you will surely get a job with any of the major players who are planning to or who are adopting these technologies.

You might wonder where I sit with all of these. I am almost finished with studying the topics for R&S and without knowing I approached these topics in great details probably wasting way too much time (by some opinions) by going to deep into these. Some say “your target is to pass the exam” I beg to differ. Your target must be to know the things the best you can. I will probably go for the written test just to finalize my work but based on the lab requirements there is a high probability that I will refocus toward CCDE which is much more in line with some of the work what I am currently doing. I have quickly looked at the amount of dumb work required to pass the lab and I don’t think that I can stomach that. To me It seems dumb that you have to train to beat the clock and that in order to do that you need to know many commands off the top of your head. I had my epiphany while waiting in line at Tim Horton’s to place my order. I was a regular and like me the five persons in line ahead of me. The cashier could remember what each of us was going to order. I guess that that type of memory will help a lot with the lab exam.

In my opinion to use a CCIE to beat the clock for some production tasks is like using an engineer at the assembly line in a car manufacturing plant. The word expert as used in the name of this certification implies that your employer will use your expert opinion for highly qualified tasks and as far as I have seen at my colleagues none of the people who have this certification were used in tasks with such draconian time constrains.

On the same line having to remember the commands as a result of countless hours of practicing configuring the same technology over and over again is not one of the skills hat you must have in an enterprise environment in a highly qualified “expert” position.

The above are my two personal and main issues with this certification. The certification process is also flawed but that is Cisco’s concern not mine.

As far as the curriculum goes some of the technologies that we need to learn are irrelevant while others are fundamental for your future professional development (and this is the main reason why I kept studying these)

If you need to know what is indeed relevant for the future of this industry you need to look ahead and see what is coming down the pipe from the guys who are working at the bleeding edge of our domain (Networking and Telecommunications). For that you could use Gartner’s technology adoption diagrams which IMHO are a pretty good and a consistent indicator. Looking at the below and comparing these with the CCIE R&S curriculum one can easily conclude that the CCIE will become irrelevant, especially if it continues to be a program that trains and tests engineers at configuring things and not at designing things. These days if you ask your employer for a lot of money ( which apparently the CCIE paper entitles you do it) you must know a lot more than Cisco and R&S.

IMHO diversifying is far better than entrenching your studies within one narrow domain and the meaning of the “Expert” word as in Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert is now limited to “expert in configuring” which will become highly irrelevant in the context of the new “Software Defined” paradigm. Cloud and virtualization will take us even farther from a vendor specific certification and CLI where a CCIE excels.


Image result for gartner hype cycle networking 2012

Image result for gartner hype cycle networking 2012


Image result for Hype Cycle for Networking and Communications, 2016

Add comment

Security code

Home Others EOD thoughts Trying to look ahead–Is the CCIE R&S certification worth the effort?