What Is Cisco CCIE Certification?

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Definition: CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) is the most advanced level of networking certification available from Cisco Systems. The CCIE certification is highly prestigious and renowned for its difficulty.

Obtaining a CCIE

Different CCIE certifications can be earned in separate areas of specialty called "tracks":

  • Routing and Switching
  • Security
  • Service Provider
  • Storage Networking
  • Voice
  • Wireless

To obtain a CCIE certification requires passing both a written exam and a separate lab exam specific to one of the tracks listed above. The written exam lasts two hours and contains a series of multiple-choice questions. It costs USD $350. After completing the written exam, CCIE candidates are then eligible to take a day-long lab exam that costs an additional USD $1400. Those who succeed and earn a CCIE must complete recertification every two years to maintain their certification.

No specific training courses or lower-level certifications are prerequisites to a CCIE. However, in addition to the usual book study, hundreds of hours of hands-on experience with Cisco gear are generally required to adequately prepare for the CCIE.

Benefits of a CCIE

Networking professionals typically seek CCIE certification to help increase their salary or expand job opportunities within their field of specialty. The extra focus and effort required to preparing for CCIE exams normally improves an individual's skill in the field. Interestingly, Cisco Systems also gives preferred treatment to Technical Support tickets of their customers when filed by CCIE engineers.