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CCIE: Preparation for Cisco Certification

Jun 25, 2008
A CCIE is Cisco's highest professional certification level and opens the door to many unique career opportunities. There are three different levels of Cisco Certification, each with their own sub categories, Associate, Professional, and Expert. Expert describes the CCIE certification level. It is estimated that there are only about 17,000 professionals in the entire world that hold this level of certification which is considered to be the highest level of IT certification, and has the highest salary track record in the profession. Different tracks across these levels align with varying career needs.

There are literally dozens of reference products available, specifically designed to help network professionals prepare for the MCSE and CNE written exams. The CCIE however is decidedly more specialized, and while there are many CCIE boot camps, workbooks, and study guides available, the trick is to pick the best one, and the best combination of study guides. Choosing the best study guides, work books, and boot camps should be done through research and via the recommendations of others.

In terms of self preparation, the first thing to do is to self asses your skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Plan to spend extra time studying any components of the written and or lab portion of the exam that you feel less than one hundred percent comfortable with. You should be significantly experienced with routing and switching, security, service provider issues, storage networking, and voice. Cisco recommends at least two to five years of IT experience, and extensive knowledge of Cisco hardware and networking solutions, LAN, WAN, and TCP/IP and client server technologies, protocols on routers, bridges, switches, and security devices, and network design technologies and solutions.

Candidates must also pass a qualifying exam to apply for CCIE certification, and then must pass the CCIE expert exam in their given track, as well as a laboratory component in which candidates demonstrate skills in different pressure-intensive scenarios. Potential test takers should be able to install, configure and maintain Voice solutions over IP networks. The CCIE Voice track, however, does not certify an understanding of the infrastructure over which VoIP solutions are implemented. Candidates should keep in mind passport and visa details if traveling to another country to take the CCIE lab exam as well as factoring in the cost of the travel.

If you don't have time for an in person CCIE boot camp, check into companies that offer classes online. These types of courses also allow you to learn at your own pace and repeat a lesson if necessary.
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