As we celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification and 20 years of the CCIE Collaboration certification, we reflect not only on our past achievements but also on our commitment to evolve and innovate. Embracing a cloud-native framework, Cisco Learning and Certifications is taking strides to modernize the CCIE certification experience, ensuring it stays relevant and empowers the next generation of CCIE certification holders.

My journey with Cisco began 24 years ago with the CCIE certification. At the time, becoming Cisco Certified felt even more valuable than my engineering degree. It gave me the credibility to represent Cisco technologies as well as influence and teach our customers. The CCIE wasn’t just a certification to me. It was a transformative experience that exploded my career path in more ways than I ever could have predicted.

This isn’t just about my story, however. This is about the recognition, the capabilities, and the opportunities Cisco certifications open for so many of us in the tech industry. That being said, I have the honor and responsibility of ensuring the CCIE certification remains as impactful and relevant today as it was for me back then.

A cloud-native approach

The CCIE certifications’ shift to focus on cloud technologies can be traced back to one pivotal conversation at Cisco Live when I heard this customer’s powerful statement:

If you’re asking us to adopt cloud technologies, shouldn’t Cisco certifications also align with that shift?

With that, the wheels were set in motion. Recognizing the significance of staying ahead in the industry, as well as our customers’ evolving needs, we set out on the path to modernize the CCIE certification experience. And thus, the Cisco certification modernization initiative was born.

The Cisco certification modernization initiative was a collaborative undertaking in partnership with Par Merat, Vice President of Cisco Learning and Certifications. From the beginning, we understood the value of gathering input from different voices and experiences from a global perspective to ensure a well-rounded, comprehensive approach. We looked to the experience of 20-year CCIE experts with deep knowledge of Cisco cloud-based applications, as well as the fresh insights from CCIE certification holders early in their career. Their diverse range of perspectives allowed us to address various challenges, including security considerations and our commitment to making the CCIE accessible to everyone in the cloud.

Modernizing the CCIE certification experience

As Cisco Collaboration technologies continue to evolve, new trends are taking shape in expert-level skills. For one, interoperability has become a crucial focus, enabling seamless integration with cloud platforms like Microsoft O365 and Azure. Then there is the explosion of artificial intelligence (AI). AI is also not only driving innovation, but fundamentally changing the way we communicate and work together. For example, AI brings Cisco Collaboration many advanced capabilities, such as intelligent noise removal, transcription, real-time translation, meeting summaries, code generation and real-time agent assistance.

When I first pursued my CCIE certification 24 years ago, it was a grueling, two-day practical exam focused on hardware-based technologies. Many of those protocols I studied and tested on are no longer supported. Fast forward to today, the CCIE lab exam is streamlined to a single day session. What’s more, the lab is delivered from a virtualized environment with live connections to the cloud.

Today, Cisco certification can be achieved without owning physical equipment for the labs. These changes align with transformation in the industry, integrating cutting-edge technologies like Webex Calling, Webex Contact Center, and AI. As a result, the CCIE has become achievable for individuals worldwide, regardless of their location or available resources. Moreover, our Expert-level lab exam redesign—its evolution from a hardware-based to cloud-based certification—mirrors the transformation of our industry, of technology, and of Cisco’s promise to adapt, innovate, and lead.

The CCIE certification journey: Unleash your potential and shape the future

Looking ahead, I want to share some valuable advice for CCIE candidates. Never give up—passion and persistence are key to your success. The CCIE lab exam is designed to be hard for a reason; it tests you on the strongest capabilities in the industry. But remember, the CCIE certification journey is more about who you become along the way versus what you achieve.

CCIE certification will define and shape your career, build confidence, and open doors to exciting opportunities. So, embrace every part of your journey, from the learning and labbing to connecting with the tech learning community. The impact on your personal and professional growth can be profound.

As we celebrate these two CCIE certification anniversaries, we take a moment to reflect on our legacy; a generation of IT careers, built by Cisco. However, these significant milestones also serve as something more. They are reminders of our potential to stay at the forefront of new technologies and influence the industry’s future.

As CCIEs, we stand united in this interconnected world. We foster the connections from person to person, cloud to cloud, and machine to machine. This year’s celebration isn’t just a pat on the back. It is a call to action for the next generation of Cisco Certified experts. Together, we are writing the next chapter of networking history, one connection at a time.

The latest CCIE Collaboration v3.1 lab exam launches on July 20, 2023.

Discover what’s new in the latest exam topics blueprint, or visit Cisco Certification Roadmaps to sign up for certification alerts and find additional study materials.

Thanks for reading,

Brad Bonin

VP Sales Systems Engineering

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Brad Bonin (CCIE 4454)

Vice President, Global Collaboration Sales Engineering

Collaboration Sales