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The CCIE Certification - What it Takes To Get One

Updated on March 13, 2010


A Certification is a Testament of Knowledge

The computer industry is full of certifications, testaments of knowledge. Many such certs are designed to confer an objective imprimatur on the knowledge that the user has by making the student take a test, and if he/she passes, they are certified "knowledgeable" on the subject matter.

The Cisco Brand

Cisco takes its certifications very seriously, so their exams are among the hardest in the computer industry. The CCNA, Cisco Certified Network Administrator, has an estimated pass rate on the first try of 50%; the passing score for the exam is close to 85%. This is the first-level certification for a Cisco Engineer.

The CCIE, Cisco Certified Internet Expert, is a much harder exam with a failure rate of about 80% on the first try. Let me repeat that, the failure rate is about 80% on the first try. That means that most people that take it are unprepared for the exam.

Cisco Engineers are high-tech persons with an in depth knowledge of routers, switches, and advanced networking. They can design, implement, and manage sophisticated networks and network operations.

The number of CCIE's world wide is about 18,000; that is a very small number, when compared to other certifidations, like Comptia's A+ which has about 700,000 world wide.

The earning potential for a CCIE is about six figures. These are the experts expert, and highly specialized, and terribly knowledgeable about their subject matter. But the job would force them to travel a lot. No company will pay six figures without using the expert, a lot.


The CCIE is a costly exam. There are two exams, a written and a lab. The written exam costs 350.00; whereas, the lab exam is 1400.00 US dollars

The written exam can be taken on line through the use of a testing service. Cisco uses Pearson/Vue. Once you register for the exam, you can select the testing site. Testing sites are found around the world; in the US every state has one, and many cities have multiple locations to choose from.

The lab exam is another matter. In the US one has to travel to.San Jose California or Durham North Carolina. Lodging and travel costs are not included in the exam cost, those are extra's. The exam lasts about 9 hours, including a lunch break.

How To Prepare

Unlike other certifications in which one can study books, test preps, exam preps, the CCIE lab exam is a hands on exam. Doing it, solving the problem, doing the configuration is paramount. Normally, experience with Cisco equipment on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month basis will provide you with the exposure and experience needed to get ready.

But having said that there are boot camps that can help you prepare. These normally run about five days and can cost up to 10,000 US dollars to help prepare for the exam. Typically, hotel and lodging my come with the price. But these are intense 5 day workouts not recommended for someone who is just starting to get ready for the exam. If anything one would be best served to take a boot camp only after having had two or three years of hands on practice with Cisco equipment.


The Official Cisco site can be accessed

An excellent blog by a CCIE test taker who ____ the test can be found here:

Several CCIE blogs exist,

start here also here:


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    • profile image

      Rajesh Tiwari 

      6 years ago


      That is great.This is very interesting.I like this.I will come back and read again and get more information about this.Thanks for this post.


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