The question of whether the CCIE credential is still relevant in the IT industry anymore has been festering among professionals without any clear answer. Even though Cisco-certified professionals are compensated by a high salary, this is common for those who possess other certifications. Then why are the Cisco certifications considered so prestigious?
When it comes to a candidate’s expertise, professionals like Anthony Murabito, the Vice President of IT at Cambridge, Mass. Biotechnology company, and his hiring team, rely on Cisco’s top-tier certification as an indicator and consider it the network gospel.
There are dozens of blogs and comments on the Internet seeking the answer to whether investing a significant amount of money, in addition to time and energy in Cisco CCIE exam preparation is the best course of action for advancing their network careers.
With the emergence of cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure and a heavier virtualisation presence, limiting oneself to Cisco’s environment seems like a waste of time to some. Others believe that until another superior certification comes along, the CCIE is still the best option for professionals in networking.
There are several challenges and insecurities that candidates suffer while pursuing or even after successfully completing their certification. The following are a few of the major concerns.
1. Certification Expense
This examination requires a significant monetary investment for both the preparations and test fees. The CCIE certification is split into the written and lab portions. While you can attempt the written part at a testing centre, the 8-hour lab exam is available at only nine Cisco worldwide locations or any of their mobile lab facilities.
The cost of airfare and lodging will almost double the exam price. Apart from this, one also has to consider the money spent on practice lab equipment, training and study materials.
2. Difficulty Level
The volume of knowledge that is covered by the certification exam is quite daunting. These concepts have to be grasped and then tested. You also need to prepare for the practical exam. Adding to its difficulty, these exams do not come with any exam objectives.
You are expected to cover everything in your preparation. This level of dedication to one’s preparation causes problems when it comes to their existing lifestyle.
3. Suited For Specific Job Roles
After you have earned your Cisco certification, you shall be rendered overqualified for many jobs, and only the most demanding job titles will be suitable for your skill sets, such as a Senior Network Engineer or Network Architect.
You can easily settle for a lower-level job, after putting yourself through the rigorous preparation and examination process, this will seem like a major downgrade.
These factors have to be considered while weighing out the pros and cons of pursuing the certification. You should have a detailed course of action where CCIE is a step. It should not be a blind goal.
Reasons Cisco Certifications Are Still Relevant In 2021
Despite the changes in the job market, obtaining any certification validates your skill and dedication to an employer. The CCIE is thought of as the PhD-level certification and adds a great weightage to your resume. It will result in a lot of clout among peers and employers.
- Besides the ongoing debate, it is important to remember that keeping the CCIE relevant and updated to meet the requirements of modern companies is in Cisco’s best interest and should be a priority for its training team.
For example, Cisco added an emerging technologies track to the CCIE (and CCDE) exam, and fine-tuned it so that it is worth 10% of the overall score now. They want to use the certification to train professionals to be more than just network engineers- they have to be technologists who can keep up with modern trends.
- Cisco offers a certification lineup with some amount of flexibility so that you can utilize the training for your specialization. The CCENT is the entry-level certification and is a requirement for the CCNA certification. This will help you join the networking world in the roles of a network admin or engineer.
The CCNP requires a more in-depth understanding and some solid experience.
This is followed by the CCIE certification. These are expert, high-level qualifications that will give you an edge over other non-certified candidates at every interview, and help you grow and advance your career. There are six specializations under CCIE security, service provider, wireless, collaboration, data center, and routing and switching.
The answer to whether the Cisco certifications are worth the effort is highly relative to each individual. It depends on whether the certifications serve a purpose in your long-term plans. As far as their relevance is concerned, the CCIE still contributes to a great extent in one’s employment prospects and earning potential.
Many other certifications may serve the same purpose, but if you are going to work with Cisco devices, no other accreditation ranks above the CCIE.