CCIE [Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert] is the highest level of expertise certification available in the field of Computer and Internet Networking. Offered by Cisco systems ,world largest Networking Equipment seller in the world ,this is the highest level of expertise available. Also known as doctorate in Networking, this certification requires you to a 3 hours written exam followed by a Lab exam 8 Hours. The CCIE is widely regarded as having one of the toughest, most demanding exams. It includes both a written exam and a day-long lab exam. This certification is aimed at senior level networking professionals who design, build, implement, maintain, or troubleshoot complex enterprise networking infrastructures.
There are no formal prerequisites for CCIE certification. Other professional certifications or training courses are not required. Instead, candidates must first pass a written qualification exam and then the corresponding hands-on lab exam. You are expected to have an in-depth understanding of the topics in the exam blueprints and strongly encouraged to have three to five years of job experience before attempting certification. You can review the exam preparation materials included on this page for more information.
- Step One: CCIE Routing and Switching Written Exam
You must pass the two-hour, written qualification exam which covers networking concepts and some equipment commands before you are eligible to schedule the lab exam.
Written Exam Information
CCIE Routing and Switching Written Exam #350-001, v4.0
The CCIE R&S written exam is a two-hour qualification exam with 90-110 questions taken online at a Cisco authorized Pearson VUE testing center. The questions are a combination of multiple choice and more complex, interactive items that assess technical knowledge on topics such as IP, IP routing, bridging and switch-related technologies, and some equipment commands. The exam is closed book and no outside reference materials are allowed.
Effective February 17, 2009, candidates taking CCIE written exams will no longer be allowed to skip a question and come back to it at a later time. In addition, the overall exam score will now be reported on a scale from 300-1000.
Beta Exams: Each written exam version is offered first in beta form at a discounted cost of US$50. Beta exams are scheduled just like other written exams and are available at all worldwide testing locations. A passing grade on the beta qualifies a candidate to schedule the lab exam. Results, however, are typically not available until six to eight weeks after the close of the beta. A candidate may attempt the beta exam only once during the beta period.
Cost: Written exams are administered by independent vendors at cost of US$350. Costs may vary due to exchange rates and local taxes (VAT, GST).
Expiration: Candidates must make an initial attempt of the CCIE lab exam within 18 months of passing the CCIE written exam. Valid passing scores on written exams expire after 18 months.
Locations: Written exams are taken at any worldwide Pearson VUE testing facility. See their website for more details.
Results: Written exam results are Pass/Fail and are available immediately following the exam. The passing score is set by statistical analysis and subject to periodic change.
Retakes: Candidates must wait five days between attempts at the written exam. Once a candidate has passed the exam, he or she may not take the same exam again (for recertification purposes) for at least 180 days.
- Step One: CCIE Routing and Switching Written Exam
Lab Exam Information
The eight-hour lab exam tests your ability to configure actual equipment and troubleshoot the network in a timed test situation. You must make an initial attempt of the CCIE lab exam within 18 months of passing the CCIE written exam. If you do not pass the lab exam within three years of passing the written exam, you must retake the written exam before being allowed to attempt the lab exam again.
The CCIE lab exam is an eight-hour, hands-on exam which requires you to configure and troubleshoot a series of complex networks to given specifications. Knowledge of troubleshooting is an important skill and candidates are expected to diagnose and solve issues as part of the CCIE lab exam. You will not configure end-user systems, but are responsible for all devices residing in the network (hubs, etc.). Point values and testing criteria are provided.
Beginning May 10, 2010, CCIE R&S lab exams in all global locations will no longer include the four, open-ended Core Knowledge questions. The total lab exam time will remain eight hours. CCIE R&S candidates will begin with the 2-hour Troubleshooting section, followed by a 6-hour Configuration section.
Cost: Lab exams cost US$1400 per attempt, not including travel and lodging expenses. Costs may vary due to exchange rates and local taxes (VAT, GST). You are responsible for any fees your financial institution charges to complete the payment transaction. Price not confirmed and is subject to change until full payment is made.
Lab Environment: The Cisco documentation CD is available in the lab room, but the exam assumes knowledge of the more common protocols and technologies. As of March 2006, the documentation can only be navigated using the index; the search function has been disabled. No outside reference materials are permitted in the lab room. You must report any suspected equipment issues to the proctor during the exam; adjustments cannot be made once the exam is over.
Lab Exam Grading: Each question on the lab has specific criterion. The labs are graded by proctors who ensure all the criterion are met and points are awarded accordingly. The proctors use automatic tools to gather information from the routers to perform some preliminary evaluations, but the final determination of a correct or incorrect configuration is done by a trained proctor.
Results: You can review your lab exam results online (login required), usually within 48 hours. Results are Pass/Fail and failing score reports indicate major topic areas where additional study and preparation may be useful.
Reevaluation of Lab Results: You may request a reevaluation of results for Routing and Switching, Security and Service Provider labs for up to 14 days following your exam date. Use the link next to your lab record called “Request for Reread”. Due to the equipment used, rereads are not available for the Voice and Storage Networking exams. Each reread costs US$250 plus any applicable local taxes. Payment is made online via credit card and your card will be charged upon receipt of the request. You may not cancel the reread request once the process has been initiated and refunds are only given when the results change from Fail to Pass.
A reread consists of a second proctor loading your configurations onto a rack to recreate the test and rescore the entire exam. This process may take up to three weeks after receipt of payment. Only one reread per lab attempt is permitted. The result of the reread is an updated score report with success rates for each major section. Be aware that scores may decrease. Exams receive a Pass mark only when the total exam score exceeds 80%. Before requesting a reread, consider that, historically, only 0.3% of exams have been changed from Fail to Pass.
Troubleshooting: Beginning October 18, 2009, the CCIE R&S lab exam will feature a two-hour troubleshooting section. Candidates will be presented with a series of trouble tickets for preconfigured networks and need to diagnose and resolve the network fault or faults. As with the configuration section, the network must be up and running for a candidate to receive credit. Candidates who finish the troubleshooting section early may proceed on to the configuration section, but they will not be allowed to go back to troubleshooting since their equipment will need to be reinitialized for the configuration portion.
CCIEs Are Required to Recertify Every Two Years
Active CCIE status shows your commitment to maintaining expert-level knowledge in an industry critical to the success of virtually every organization. CCIEs are encouraged to continually expand their technical knowledge and are required to pass a recertification exam every two years. If you do not complete your recertification before the deadlines, your CCIE certification will be suspended and you and your employer will lose the benefits associated with your expert status. You have one year to reinstate your CCIE status before you become inactive and must begin the certification process all over again.
To maintain active status, every 24-months CCIEs are required to pass one of the following before the certification expiration date:
- Pass any current CCIE Written Exam, or
- Pass the current CCDE Written Exam OR current CCDE Practical Exam, or
- Pass the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) interview AND the CCAr board review to extend lower certifications
- Regular Track – 5 Days / Week, 1 Hr / Day
- Weekend Track- Saturday 2 Hrs & Sunday 2 Hrs
- Fast Track – 5 Days / Week, 3 Hrs / Day
- Super Fast Track – 5 Days / Week, 5 Hrs / Day