What is the benefit to be a CCIE?

Unanswered Question
jcrussell Mon, 07/16/2007 - 04:40

Every salary survey I have seen puts CCIEs well into the US $100,000 per year range. Not to mention it is probably the most respected certification in the industry. Exactly what kind of returns are you expecting?

srue Mon, 07/16/2007 - 12:14

add to that respect. also, you can bypass the Tier I TAC engineers if you're a CCIE (or something to that effect)

tlynnm4591 Sun, 07/22/2007 - 08:44

How realistic is it, in today's market that a person passing the CCIE can even get a job. The salary surveys are common knowledge. But beyond holding a CCIE, what other parameters went into play for these survey participants. How many years experience, in IT? How many other certifications? College education? Don't get me wrong here, I'm not doubting the survey, again, everyone knows what CCIE make. I want some insight from people who have gone through this process. Personally, I have an MBA and 15 years experience but only about 6 years experience working with very small networks. (2 routers, frewall, 16 switches, 100 users, example). My only other IT experience is A+ certification and 32 weeks time logged in college lab for CCNA (does that even count as experience?) Please understand, I am not being negative, I want to be educated on this process, but from a realistic and enlightened view point. At my current point, what can I expect salary wise if I earn CCNA? CCNP? CCIE? I know the basics of CCNA exam by hard and have 8 router lab sitting in closet collecting dust. I dont want to waste time on going further if there is no real payback. I guess my concern is my experience. I can pass the CCNP and CCIE in another year, Im sure because I have been at studying for over three years already. But I can't beleive, just because you earn a CCIE, and cana really demonstrate your knowledge (not brain dump guy) that you are going to be put in a position to earn anywhere close to $100,000. I just cant beleive that, its not realistic. Everyone has to start at the bottom. Someone who has done this, tell me what the bottom is. Thanks.

Edison Ortiz Sun, 07/22/2007 - 09:05

You can pass the CCIE written with a brain dump. There is no way to pass the CCIE Lab with a brain dump. There are too many weird things thrown your way and you need to be able to fix it before time is over. Very thorough test of knowledge in the field.

Yes, you will find your lab rats with no/limited professional experience but even those lab rats, after a year or so of experience are much better than your regular professional guy from the street because they had to learn every single aspect of the technology.

Now, let's not forget people skills. That's something within the person and can't be taught. Many CCIEs lack that and that's where the salary level really change.

If you want to make over $100k + bonuses, you need to have people skills since you need to produce for that company, not just fix complex networks. You need to mentor others and be able to talk clearly to upper-management.

In conclusion, polishing your people skills is one aspect that is missed on many CCIE candidates and that's the reason many of them don't make the big bucks.

tlynnm4591 Sun, 07/22/2007 - 09:09

EdisonOrtiz - Did you have any insight on STARTING salaries for CCIE's without the experience? That was kinda the topic of the previous post. Thanks.

Edison Ortiz Sun, 07/22/2007 - 09:13

Salaries is always related to supply/demand and geographic location.

You may find a Cisco Partner willing to pay top dollars for a CCIE in order to maintain their gold/platinum status.

tlynnm4591 Sun, 07/22/2007 - 09:16

Yes, I know that, we all took economics and understand supply versus demand. Anyone with any first hand SPECIFIC examples?

Edison Ortiz Sun, 07/22/2007 - 10:35

I guess you didn't understand what I was trying to say.

If a CCIE takes a job for 40k, doesn't mean he is less than a CCIE from the one making 100k. It also means the one making 100k has to do a lot of traveling, undertake another roles than the one making 40k.

There isn't a clear cut salary for a CCIE, if that's what you are looking for. You may have a ball park figure and I would hazard to guess:

No experience:


1-5 years:


5-10 year:


10-15 year:


You will find the 10-15 year guy to do more than just break/fix.

tlynnm4591 Sun, 07/22/2007 - 10:39

Actually, I thhink it was you who didnt understand the question before responding? Didnt ask for clear cut salaries, clearly asked for SPECIFIC examples. What are you basing these numbers on? SPecific examples or do you just think they make sense. Please guys, justpost when you have something of value, based on the question being asked. You dont have to rspond to every post, just because you happen to be on reading.

royalblues Sun, 07/22/2007 - 12:08

I think you should rather appreciate Edison for the time he took to answer your post.

why dont you just go to some recruiting consultant and get these figures ?

Edison Ortiz Sun, 07/22/2007 - 12:11

I believe my post had some value and sorry you didn't see that way.

If you want more specifics, please consult your nearest technical recruiter. They are paid to do just that, I post here for free so take it with a grain of salt.

Hi Edison, Royalblues and Thnnm4951

I appreciate your responses. I guess I forget mentioning my key interesting in the heading "the benefit FROM CISCO". I heard, it is hard to ?sell the resume? to potential employers which are without any partnership with Cisco during interview.

Hi to those want to prepare CCIE exam,

I have already heard a lot of such benefits about "respect in the industry", "higher salary" from my CCNP tutorial school.

However, I heard another stories from other forums. Some IE claimed they cannot get the job after investing time and effort. It is because their job background is uninterested to employer. After listening their stories, I know that the ?CCIE? had very weak related experience (in China and Australia); his interviewers are not interested to him he was asked for just a network engineer position. His experience told me that CCIE is not the only parameters to get the high paid job. Enough network experience or skill sets for large project, CCIE certificate is beneficial. A Chinese old saying stated "Water can make the boat float, but make the boat sink at the same time". This certificate may harmful if this CCIE holder unwilling to start from junior. I suggest thinking carefully what you can ?selling to your prospect employer apart from a CCIE certificate before making your investments.

bwgray Fri, 07/27/2007 - 08:36

Tlynm4591 Quote - "At my current point, what can I expect salary wise if I earn CCNA? CCNP? CCIE? I know the basics of CCNA exam by hard and have 8 router lab sitting in closet collecting dust. I dont want to waste time on going further if there is no real payback. I guess my concern is my experience. I can pass the CCNP and CCIE in another year, Im sure because I have been at studying for over three years already. But I can't beleive, just because you earn a CCIE, and cana really demonstrate your knowledge (not brain dump guy) that you are going to be put in a position to earn anywhere close to $100,000. I just cant beleive that, its not realistic. Everyone has to start at the bottom. Someone who has done this, tell me what the bottom is. Thanks. "

You have not even acheived your CCNA and your concerned knowing what the bottom dollar will be if you earn your CCNP & CCIE in a year, before you begin? Sounds backwards mate.

You have some network experience, so write your CCNA if you know it by heart and then parlee that into a larger network enviornment while working on your CCNP or higher. It's not quite realistic to think if you plough through and get your CCIE in a year from now, at your current small network position, that you will command a 6 figure salary. However if you get your CCNA and gradually work your way up - mixing in experience - you will undoubtely be worth more. Then more w/ CCNP and more with CCIE.

My personal network experience is limited with some, but not alot of hands on. I've had my CCNA for several years (still valid), and I'm working on CCNP as we speak. I'm not kidding myself though, there is no way I would shoot for CCIE without alot of experience at a CCNP level. But hey that's me.

tlynnm4591 Fri, 07/27/2007 - 11:26

bwgray - the reason why I am interested in CCIE is because I think long term. I am not the kind of guy who is small minded thinking only a few steps infront of me. But also I have 15 years experience in manufacturing management and about 5 courses away from completing my MBA. I took CCNA courses as part of my Bachelor's degree in Technical management as an elective. I did not run out and take the CCNA test because I already have a good career and networking is not my only option. I also took CCNP1 & 2 at local community college afterwards. SO as you can see, I have done a lot of research and investment on this topic so it is rather stupid of you, thinking you know anything about me, to tell me not to do my homework. Only desperate or ignorant people rush into something that requires such a commitment without doing proper investigation. If this forum is not for asking questions of those in the know, which I am seriously startuing to question, then what is it for? After 15 years in my field and curently making 83K annually, I was considering networking as a long term career move becuase I find the content very easy and it is true that the salaries can be very rewarding. But for me to have any interest to start over in networking, when I have 15 years in manufacturing, and a nMBA almost, without realy doing my homework and asking questions, well thats the most backwards advice Ive heard in a long time bwgray. Just like the original poster, I am just trying to get ALL the information to help me make a decision. A personal decision. If you don't like my approach, I could care less, it has nothing to do with you. Please skip my posts and go on with your own business. But don't assume you know me and don't consider me your "mate".

bwgray Fri, 07/27/2007 - 18:42


By no means did I intend to offend you, nor was I making any personal remarks. If you took it that way - all aplogies. I will also refrain from reffering to you as mate, friend, amigo compadre or any other such friendly term. Nor did I attempt to make any assumptions about you personally.

Now on to your post, as I read it. It seems to me that you were asking if it's realistic and with specific examples of the earning potential of the different certs at each level for you? That was provided, to a point. There are no specific examples per Cert other than salary surveys, as everyone's talent and experience vary. Will CCIE grant you 6 figure salary long term as you ask, most likely. Will it in the couple of years it will take you to do it, perhaps yes, perhaps not. But the if - and the BIG IF - is the experience you obtain along the way...

If it was me (and by no means am I attempting to compare the two of us, so please don't take offense) I would complete my MBA and work higher into IT Management with an end goal of CIO. MBA+IT will open alot of doors too, also with very high salaries (on par and in cases higher than CCIE), but again it really depends on what you want to do, no one can answer that for you.

**On a side note I never said I know anything about you or nor did I tell you not to do your homework - but calling me stupid for things I did'nt write, well that is just obsurd. If you don't like my advice, no problem, I too could care less with what you do with it. But in the end, if your looking for help, you may want to check your attitude at the door.

jgagznos Mon, 07/16/2007 - 13:12

In my opinion, the largest benefit is the respect it brings within the industry. The certification is not easy and the ordinary person has to attempt the lab several times before they will pass. Someone else mentioned salary increases, but personally I noticed no change versus what I was making before.



2pparish Mon, 07/23/2007 - 08:34

1) Respect in the field of Cisco networking

2) Salary

3) Credentials

4) Flexibility in jobs offers

A CCIE will be able to publish books and technical material easier because of the credentials.

The CCIE might not command $100,000 for everyone, but the respect and flexibility in job offers is probably the most beneficial aspect.

flash2200 Mon, 07/23/2007 - 11:41

I'm increasingly unconvinced that it is worth the time and effort to do CCIE for the majority of networking professionals.

It might be worth doing the CCIE if you're in a NOC working for a major ISP or Telco. They require and do reward this level of expertise.

The cisco resellers also desire this level of expertise but the reality is that they can only afford to pay you a six figure salary if you are able to bring in significantly more than that in income for the company. This means you need not only the CCIE but also outstanding people skills as one posted mentioned earlier. It also doesn't hurt to look like you belong on the cover of GQ magazine in a suit.

That said the majority of companies that might hire a cisco guy don't really need CCIE level expertise. They are quite happy with professional level designation and a few years experience.

I'd suggest that "wannabe" IT network professionals might be better off pursuing multiple professional level Cisco designations and maybe some Microsoft stuff as well. If your have as many as possible of the following letters after your name I can almost guarantee you a job somewhere as a Network Analyst and you'll be pulling a respectable $80000-$100000 (maybe more??) Heck you can make $75000 as a CCNA in Toronto with a few years experience under your belt.

Your Name Here, CCNP, CCSP, CCVP, CCDP, MCSE + Messaging

You can't go to far wrong getting multiple certs from Cisco and Microsoft and these two companies will continue to dominate the IT sector for the foreseeable future and those with matching skill sets will continue to be in demand.

My two cents...

2pparish Sat, 07/28/2007 - 07:43

The golden answer

"IT all depends"

What do you want for your career?

Where do you want to work?

Do you want to start your own ISP?

CCIE is great because it happens to test lab scenarios that MCSE and other IT certifications fall short on.

THe CCIE in my mind has been watered down slightly in the last 5 years, but not enough to take away the prestige to say its not worth getting.

If you get the CCIE with no experience you should be able to at least get a junior network engineer position somewhere.

There are many Senior Network Engineers that don't have the adequate knowledge or could never pass the CCIE no matter how long they tried.

The CCIE is still credible and probably will stay so because Cisco makes sure the CCIE program isn't compromised.

I think the Vendor workbooks and online help have made the exam much easier, but you still have to know your material.

daswafford Tue, 07/24/2007 - 12:43

You don't spend countless hours going after CCIE for money. People who go after CCIE and are serious about what they do go after CCIE for the challange and the oppotunity to succeed in one of the most challenging certification tracks in existance. If you are going after a CCIE title soely for money then don't waste your or Cisco's time trying. It really bothers me to see all this talk about salaries when Certs really have nothing to do w/ your salary, it not the knowledge that makes your salary its the motivation and passion of the individual.

dgahm Thu, 07/26/2007 - 17:24

I have yet to talk to a CCIE who believed the payoff was not worth the effort to achieve the cert. Certainly in my case it was very much worth it. As others have said, your mileage will vary, and many personal and job market factors go into the equation. My advice would be to do your own due diligence in your area, talking to people in the networking field. It should be pretty easy to find out what the dollar value of the CCIE should be for you. You will also get a sense for the level of regard employers have for CCIEs.

In my experience, those who question the value of the cert are often really questioning their own ability to make the grade. May not be the case here, but it is something to consider.

Good Luck, Dave

2pparish Fri, 07/27/2007 - 10:15

I agree with Dave.

Also, the CCIE R&S is easier to obtain then ever before.

Vendor Workbooks, numerous books, and Dynamips help students save time and $$$.

If you can't get the CCIE now, then you would have never been able to achieve the CCIE earlier.

vazquez.jorge Fri, 07/27/2007 - 14:26

Job security in an unstable economy. The ability to demand with your "bargaining chip". The fact that should feel comfortable troubleshooting Cisco networks. Plus the fact that you accomplished something that is rather mighty difficult.


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