The CCIE is often referred to as the Ph.D. in Cisco certifications. In a previous blog post, we discussed the benefits it can bring to your career and what it takes to become a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert. It’s an incredible achievement, but it also raises the inevitable question: what next?
These are some things you can do to help your career (and your sanity!) after you have achieved CCIE greatness.
The First Thing is to Recover
Take a vacation. It’s your right. Preparing for the CCIE can be a difficult and time-consuming task. The months and months of hard work and dedication required to prepare for the CCIE can be a strain on your relationships, family, friends, stress levels, sleep habits, and family life. It was all worth it in the end. You achieved a significant goal and set a high standard for networking excellence.
What should you do first? Take. A. Break. Take a long vacation with your family. If you are still alive, reconnect with friends who are unsure. You can re-engage with hobbies that aren’t tech-based that you had to put down. Sleep well, without worrying about route tables and killer packets. While work and your career achievements are important, so is the rest of you life. Recover your normal life and get away from networking for a bit.
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Now that you are rested, it is time to face the hard truth about certification. Certs are subject to expiration without recertifying. This means that all your efforts and time will be wasted. Cisco is very clear about the requirements for recertification. It is a good idea to plan now so that the two-year deadline doesn’t slip by.
Earning credits through the Cisco Continuous Education Program is the first way to recertify. Participants can earn credits and recertify by completing 100 credits within two year. There are many breakouts, technical seminars, instructor-led labs, and other courses that will help you to diversify your skill sets.
Recertifying with Cisco Certs
Another option? Another option? Take another CCIE. It was so much fun the first time that you want to do it again. The CCIE, like the CCNA or CCNP has separate certifications for different concentrations. Do you have your CCIE in Routing & Switching? You might also consider Security, Voice, or Data Center. Each one can add a unique layer to your already impressive resume.
The Service Provider cert, for example, will allow you to create infrastructure for ISPs and provide managed services to homes and businesses. The Wireless cert focuses on the details of building and maintaining robust Cisco wireless networks.
A second CCIE is an added bonus. All existing CCIE, CCNP and CCNA certs will be recertified automatically if you pass any CCIE lab or written test. It pays off to move up the cert ladder.
Perhaps you are ready for something entirely different. You can also re-up your CCIE or take a step in a different direction by becoming a Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE). Cisco describes the CCDE curriculum as “preparing designers to design solutions at large customer networks’ infrastructure level.” They are particularly focused on translating business strategies into technical strategies. This is a way to go beyond technical answers and incorporate the often-messy requirements of the real world.
The CCIE certification requirements are similar. There is a two-hour written test followed by an eight-hour practical laboratory exam. You can’t just sign up at any local testing center like any other test. CCDE tests are only proctored at four centers per year that have special security measures to protect test assets.
If you’re truly a glutton for punishment, then don’t forget about certifications beyond Cisc