The CCIE, now 25 years old, has always been the pinnacle of Cisco certifications. There has been a lot of buzz on the importance of certs, and the CCIE, in the “new” era. For that reason, it’s more important than ever that the CCIE gets updated and stays current.
With Cisco’s new announcements, what is changing with the CCIE?
The first thing to mention, for those that already have a CCIE, is that the recert cycle is now being changed to match the other certs such as CCNA and CCNP, so that the recert cycle is 3 years. This means that the suspended status is gone. The cert is now valid for 3 years and there is no suspended status. This means that you need to keep track of your date because there is no “grace period”, after 3 years, if you miss to recert, you’re out! This also means that effective 24 February 2020, if you are still active, the “suspended” year is now an active year and your date to recertify is moved forward. If you are in suspended, the remaining time of your suspended status is converted to active status.
Because the recert cycle is now 3 years, you will need to get 120 CE credits instead of 100, which was the requirement for a 2 year cycle. Credits can be awarded by taking exams, authoring content, taking courses, going to Cisco Live etc. They have removed the caps for Cisco Live and authoring content, which means that if you go to both the EU and US event every year, you could in theory recertify by just attending Cisco Live. Or if you do a lot of SME work, you could get a lot of credits that way. Please note that the CCIE Written exams are gone! The gatekeeper to the CCIE lab is now the Core exam of the CCNP. You could, if you wish, recertify by taking the DE written as the DE program is unchanged for now. This will be the only E level written remaining. It’s also important to note here that you can mix and match, meaning that you can take exams, take course, go to Cisco Live and you will get credits for those things. You don’t have to choose between taking exams or going for CE credits. There is now more flexibility. The submission fee (300$) is now also gone!
Another change is that the CCIE RS and CCIE Wireless are being “retired” and are now both part of the CCIE Enterprise track. They do have a common Core exam, ENCOR, but they do still have separate CCIE lab exams.
If you are CCIE RS or CCIE Wireless certified, when the new policy goes live, you will be CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure (RS) or CCIE Enterprise Wireless certified. Your old certification will live on for the life time of that cert, so in theory I would be a “dual” CCIE until 2021 (yay!).
What if you are on your way to go for the lab, you have taken one of the older written exams? You would in that case be migrated to the matching Core exam. For RS and Wireless, that would be the ENCOR exam.
Another change is that the policy to take the lab within 18 months of passing the written is gone. The Core exam is valid for 3 years and you can go for the lab whenever you want within that time span. You should still leave some time though so that you don’t sit the lab too close to the end of the life time of the exam and then have to retake the Core exam again.
For the old school CCIEs, Cisco has created the CCIE Emeritus lifetime tenure. If you have an active CCIE or if you are CCIE Emeritus, and your CCIE is more than 20 years old, you can opt in to become a CCIE Emeritus for life, without a renewal fee! You can still become active again by recertifying.
But the really big change, is the change to the CCIE lab exams themselves. The format is changing from just testing implementation to test the entire life cycle of infrastructure, meaning that Design, Deploy, Operate and Optimize will be tested instead of only Deploy. This means that the format is changing from consisting of TS, Diag and Config to a format where the candidate starts with a Design module for 3h. The format will be similar to the CCDE practical. I think this makes a lot of sense! This will help combat that CCIEs only know stupid router tricks and make sure that they also have some form of design skill. The second module is 5h and will test Deploy, Operate and Optimize. This will be a combination of lab + some form of web based testing. Since there is no separate TS section, this is now integrated into this part of the lab.
Regarding scoring for the CCIE lab, there are now only two modules. There will be a minimum cut score per module and an aggregated pass score for both modules. This is similar to the setup of today.
Finally, the lab exams include a certain amount of automation. These are the topics for Enterprise Infrastructure:
5.1 Data encoding formats
- 5.1.a JSON
- 5.1.b XML
5.2 Automation and scripting
- 5.2.a EEM applets
- 5.2.b Guest shell
- 5.2.b i Linux environment
- 5.2.b ii CLI Python module
- 5.2.b iii EEM Python module
- 5.3.a Interaction with vManage API
- 5.3.a i Python requests library and Postman
- 5.3.a ii Monitoring endpoints
- 5.3.a iii Configuration endpoints
- 5.3.b Interaction with Cisco DNA Center API
- 5.3.b i HTTP request (GET, PUT, POST) via Python requests library and Postman
- 5.3.c Interaction with Cisco IOS XE API
- 5.3.c i Via NETCONF/YANG using Python ncclient library
- 5.3.c ii Via RESTCONF/YANG using Python requests library and Postman
- 5.3.d Deploy and verify model-driven telemetry
- 5.3.d i Configure on-change subscription using gRPC
The message here is that automation is now a key skill of a Network Engineer but at the same time, a balance needs to be kept, because these people are not software developers.
Personally, I feel very excited about the updates. As this is a very big change, I’m sure I might have missed something but leave a comment if you need more information.