Cisco Champions ask Challenging Questions.  This is the second in a blog series presented by Carlos Dominguez and Jimmy Ray Purser.  Check out the first blog by Carlos here

I recently had an opportunity to sit down with our Cisco Champions to discuss a range of topics about technology.  Here’s a question that was top of mind for Edward Henry:  

“The CCIE is easily recognized as one of the most elite certifications in the industry. It’s currently turned 20 years old, where do you see the program in 5 or 10 more years?”

What a great question! Let’s take a quick look at why the CCIE program was created.  Cisco announced the CCIE program on Sept. 27, 1993, in a press release  where John Chambers, said:

“The CCIE Program begins where other vendors’ certification programs leave off. It can be compared to completing a university course versus taking college entrance exams. Prospective CCIE candidates must be highly qualified just to enter the program, and then, after taking an intensive troubleshooting course, must pass a rigorous hands-on lab test conducted by senior support engineers. This very stringent set of requirements ensures that only the best professionals are selected.”

With that history and background of the CCIE, the first point to keep in mind is that all Cisco certifications are maturing as the technology matures. The best way to gauge the future is to look in the rear view mirror and at the evolution of Cisco technology programs.  We are proactively looking at two areas:

  1. Where we are driving technology both from a product standpoint and a standards-based program.
  2. Where the industry is going.

We then adjust those certifications accordingly.  Even if you received your CCIE or CCNP a few years back, when you take your update it will be reflective of what is current in the industry today.  We’ll always have a delay with specific technology content due to peer review, the need for accuracy, and checking updates to the certifications.  From a competitive perspective, take a look at other vendors and their certifications and note that Cisco has dedicated teams ensuring we remain current with valuable top-tier certifications.

In the next 5- 10 years I think we’ll see more college graduates with these certifications and this will affect pay scales.  You’ll see more vendor certifications integrated in degree programs.  Formal education coupled with a Cisco certification will be relevant for quite a long time.

Are you a CCIE?  Where do you see the future of the program?  I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


Jimmy Ray Purser

Former Co-Host of TechWiseTV

No Longer at Cisco