Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert CCIE is regarded as the world’s toughest and yet most respected certification. It is a certification that generates both interest and fear. To demystify this qualification, Jidaw wrote about the target audience and benefits. Jidaw is using this opportunity to post insights on this credential from the experience of Cisco and Networking experts in this Nigeriacomputers.com Question and Answer session. Many who have achieved this status use their expertise to provide networking solutions and solve the most challenging internetworking problems. They are also involved in imparting knowledge and sharing experiences in training sessions and in consulting assignments.
NigeriaComputers asks: What do CCIEs do? What are some areas of expertise? Our audience wants to know:
CCIEs contribute in the ICT arena in the positions of Network engineer, Instructor, Technical Consultant, System Admin, Security admin and Network IP Engineer. In view of the multivendor nature of networking, apart from Cisco they may work with products of vendors that include Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Checkpoint. Areas of expertise include: Network and Security Architecture, Network and Security Implementations, Network Management Solutions and IT Infrastructure Support.
NigeriaComputers asks: How long does it take to get CCIE certified?
The time taken to achieve it varies from person to person and depends on candidate’s background, level of motivation and the route taken. For example, a CCIE with solid practical experience, said it took him several months “(roughly at least 8 hours per day) of study of Cisco documentation CD and reference study guides as well as real world intense practice with Cisco Switches and routers”.
Interestingly some CCIEs do not go through the CCNA and CCNP path because even though these certifications are recommended, they are not mandatory. For example, such candidates may be fortunate enough to work in an environment where there is constant and appropriate practice and experience. Going through the CCNA and CCNP is the obvious route. Whichever route you take, the important thing is to ensure that your practice, study and experience equips you with a comprehensive understanding of the exam topics for the specific track. Current CCIE tracks are: Routing and Switching; Security; Service Provider; Service Provider Operations; Storage Networking; Voice; Wireless
NigeriaComputers asks: Why do people to choose CCIE? Where are they needed?
Companies with CCIEs get discounts as high as 40% from Cisco for any product they buy. It was also an opportunity to stand out from the pack – it opens doors because CCIE signifies excellence and is not your everyday certification. For example, in Nigeria, there are only about 36 and globally over 10,000 CCIES.
They are required by those who need expert knowledge to install, configure and troubleshoot complex networks. They are needed in ICT companies, Telecoms companies, government agencies, educational institutions or any organization that needs IT support in-house or organizations that provide IT services especially those relating to complex network solutions.
Most importantly it should be integral to your career plan. Your choice should be beyond popularity.
NigeriaComputers asks: What should interested individuals do to get this credential?
Invest in intensive training; there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Using the CCNA and CCNP structure though not mandatory can help you save time, cut down costs and improve your preparation quality. But this route should not be treated like a short cut. You must learn and earn those certifications. With the benefit of experience and hindsight most network experts would advise anyone interested to start with CCNA in the process to achieving CCIE. While CCIE is a certification for professionals and experts in networking, CCNA is a foundational certification.
A CCNA holder is expected to be able to design a network, configure and manage network devices like switches and routers for a SMB, or enterprise company. After achieving CCNA move on to CCNP which is Cisco’s no-nonsense, intermediate and backbone certification.
Appropriate practice and on the job experience with the required equipment are also recommended to build the strong technical skills required. CCIE training that is focused and relevant should be used to prepare and fill any gaps. It must be backed up continually with constant study and practice.
To achieve this respected credential, candidates must first pass a written qualification exam and then the corresponding hands-on lab exam.
NigeriaComputers asks: Is quality CCIE Training possible in Nigeria?
Yes it is available. Once candidates have the right background it’s a question of investing in training that is appropriate and effective. The CCIE written exams can be written in test centers in Nigeria but the lab exam can be taken in foreign countries.
Trainers and consultants conduct such programs, advanced level networking programs here in Nigeria that are comprehensive, top quality and affordable. With their experience in achieving CCIE and other certifications these experts conduct the training for network engineers who already have professional knowledge experience with Cisco technologies with routers, switches, firewall voice device storage devices etc. The student should ideally have passed the entire track of CCNP. The program can be tasking and rigorous. Students must be committed by cutting out all distractions and putting in intensive effort. Training efforts in Nigeria are working and producing results.
NigeriaComputers asks: So there is no need for students to spend valuable foreign exchange training in foreign countries because this expert knowledge is available locally? Should such training candidates from Nigeria avoid laborious travel and the expense of living in hotels outside the country?
Precisely. As well as students from other African countries.
What revealing insights! The courage and determination of CCIEs and Networking experts in Nigeria inspires us. Thank you showing that moving beyond interest to commitment is possible. Thank you for rejecting status quo. We say to these Gurus – kudos on your staying power and self belief as well your continued desire for excellence and fulfillment. Keep moving forward. NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, CAN STOP YOU.
(This Question and Answer session was conducted and published by Jidaw (Mastercomputers))