Way back in 2008 I passed the CCIE R&S lab to obtain my CCIE #22061. Over the past years, I have taken recertification written exams including the CCIE Voice, CCIE Service Provider, CCIE R&S, as well as the CCDE written tests to maintain active CCIE status. Last June, Cisco announced a change to the recertification procedure and made available the ability to use a Continuing Education Program as well to the standard written tests. This time around I chose to take advantage of that program to recertify and wanted to share my results and experiences with the process.
To access the Continuing Education Program dashboard for your certification, you just need to navigate to https://ce.cisco.com/#/dashboard. Once there you will be able to see your current certification status (CCIE and any other certifications associated with your account). To renew your CCIE certification, you are required to earn 100 credits and submit the appropriate proof of attendance. For more FAQ information, see the Cisco FAQ at https://fryguy.me/2sc8hXG.
I took three courses, all online and delivered by Cisco Learning Systems, in order to recertify:
- Programming for Network Engineers (PRNE)
- Developing with Cisco Network Programmability (NPDEV) 4.0
- Designing and Implementing Cisco Network Programmability (NPDESI) 1.0
The PRNE course is the prerequisite course for NPDEV and NPDESI. The function of the course is to teach you the fundamentals of network programming, primarily Python to be more specific. It will teach you the basics, how to use it in your day-to-day, as well as how to build modules to help you in the future. It is a really good course if you want an introduction to Python. In fact, if you took the PRNE course – I would also suggest the Python for Network Engineers by Kirk Byers. Kirk will take you to the next level in Python!
NPDEV builds on where PRNE leaves off and then expands it greatly. In NPDEV you start to learn about NETCONF, YANG, RESTCONF. You also learn how to program towards IOS XE, IOS XR, NX-OS, ASA, and use some APIC REST APIs to play with. You even get an introduction to OpenDaylight and other SDN resources. Access to all this software and systems is all within the Cisco Learning Network as labs are spun-up as needed with all the required software/systems. It is a really slick system (but APIC can take a while (30 minutes) to load).
Finally, NPDESI was one of my favorite courses. This course covered Python in greater detail as well as access to Cisco APIs in many of the labs. If you did not have a good appreciation for the application Postman when it comes to programming in Python for API access, you quickly will. This course was also the longest one out of all of them clocking in at 26 sections.
Each of the course has a quiz after a section that you need to pass. What is nice is that you can retake the quiz, if necessary, so that you pass or maintain your perfect scores. There is no overall quiz for these courses, just the individual section courses.
When you successfully complete a course you receive a certification of completion, be sure to download this PDF and save it as this is what you submit on the CE portal as proof of attendance and passing.
Once you have submitted the material, Cisco will review the submission and within a few days, it will appear in your My Items list. After you have sufficient credits, you then have to submit the credits for renewal and pay the renewal fee.
After paying the renewal fee, you may receive the recertification emails from Cisco ( I did) while they process your payment.
All in all, this was a relatively painless process and one that I actually enjoyed. Instead of trying to study all the new minutiae and technology that has been added to the CCIE written qualification exam, I was able to use that time to better myself and my skills. I have already been able to apply what I have learned in my day-to-day tasks. I think more about “can I script this” versus “I have to do this again.” I also find myself scripting tasks that I do not have to do all the time – no more remembering all the details, just pass the variables to the script and its off!
After going through the process I feel that this has actually made me a better Network Engineer, a better CCIE, and one that feels that I can keep progressing my skills while maintaining my CCIE certification.
If you need to recertify your CCIE, give the Continuing Education approach a shot!