Is the CCIE Dead?

It’s clear the software defined transition will be a gradual one, and the most valuable skill will be in building a bridge from here to there.

Kurt Huegin | vCORE Technology Partners | March 7, 2019

Kurt Huegin vCOREI came across an article in Network World recently regarding CCIE relevancy, and it sparked some interesting conversations with my fellow network nerds. Is the CCIE worth the time? Are the tested traditional networking skills valuable in light of today’s software defined trends?

Needless to say a certification does not guarantee skill. Over the years, I’ve met many brilliant CCIEs and more than my fair share of “paper tigers.” They could pass a test but wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near my clients’ network.

A search for “CCIE” and “is it worth it?” returns dozens of blogs and comments from people who wonder whether investing $10,000 to $15,000 as well as a large chunk of their time is the best strategy for advancing their network careers. — Network World

Still, the larger question remains: Are the underlying skills focused on in the CCIE worth investing in? I believe they are, for two primary reasons.

First and foremost, understanding scripting is irrelevant if you don’t know what to script for. How the devices are managed is different, but the underlying networking principals are still required to accurately deploy and troubleshoot.

In addition, it seems the transition to software defined is reminiscent of the analog to IP transition many years ago. I was at Cisco during that time, and the most valuable engineers in the market were those who understood analog just as well as they knew IP. They could translate the old to the new and created a comfort level for those “taking the leap.” Despite the hype, it’s clear the software defined transition will be a gradual one, and while both skills will be needed, the most valuable skill will be in building a bridge from here to there.

As a result, vCORE’s network practice is firmly planted in both camps. Need a CCIE to troubleshoot your network? Done. Need someone to create Ansible scripts to automate network deployment? We got it. Need to build an architecture that integrates legacy infrastructure while being future proofed for software defined? Let’s build it together.

Learn more: Software Defined WAN Made Easier with vCORE

Most importantly, do you need a partner who can help you create a strategy encompassing how to get your technology, your people, and your process to a more agile, software defined world? Our network practice was literally built for this!

So our advice is to do both, but make sure you understand traditional networking first and foremost. If you have a CCIE, keep it active — Cisco’s continuing education makes it easy to maintain it without having to take the lab again. Just as importantly, keep learning to avoid becoming a paper tiger!

Kurt Huegin is Director of Network Solutions for vCORE. Share your thoughts on the CCIE with him or inquire about vCORE’s networking assessments and offerings at

vCORE’s Network Practice provides solutions and services is network modernization, software defined, mobility, network security & segmentation.

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