Is experience required to pass CCIE?

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Sep 1st, 2007
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Im currently going through my Cisco track have done the CCNA and passed with a score of 950. Im half way through my CCNP track and doing well, only i dont have any hands on cisco experience... Just book reading and alot of simulation time on Boson software.

They say real world experience is the only way to obtain the highly acclaimed CCIE plaque... is this the case? -- and as i dont have real world experience how am i to obtain this without working in the field?

And finally, once i obtain my CCIE what are the chances of me landing a Networking job without any real world experience?

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Overall Rating: 5 (2 ratings)
scottmac Sat, 09/01/2007 - 05:58
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You can probably get a CCIE without any "real world" experience.

You can probably get hired as a CCIE without any "real word" experience.

If you're truely interested in discussions along this topical line, search or click up threads from XavierChang (I think he's still the top guy in this forum pointwise ... the column over on the left

<======= Over there)

X and many others have engaged in some fairly heated debate over this and similar topics ... not so much lately, but a year or two ago ...

Good Luck


scottmac Sat, 09/01/2007 - 08:28
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(To late to edit)

I interpreted "Real World Experience" to mean a job involving networking (with Cisco stuff).

If you meant "Real World" i.e., having never touched the hardware (real hardware), not even in a Lab, then possible? yeah sure; probable? no. The chances are so small as to not exist, certainly not at USD$ 1200.00+ a pop to try.

Good Luck


abdigulaid Sat, 09/01/2007 - 08:57
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Thanks Scott,

By real world experience i mean experience on the job doing networking with Cisco products. You have been helpful.

I guess the CCIE lab exam is something that cannot be described.. Everyone says its difficult-but people said the same about the CCNA and that wasnt too difficult at all.. I just knew my stuff, and if you understand your stuff nothing is too difficult.

cyphur353 Sat, 09/01/2007 - 06:26
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Without fairly heavy exposure to the devices(whether rented, simulated via Dynamips, or building a home lab), I don't see you passing. The written is one thing, but the 8 hour hands-on lab is almost impossible to pass w/o prior experience.

With that said, Dynamips is your best option unless you want to build a home lab with real equipment.

2pparish Sun, 09/02/2007 - 10:55
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I don't think its necessary, but it helps.

Good study habits and access to equipment will be enough.

My advice is go for the CCIE and don't look back.

But do this please...

Make sure you read more in-depth about networking before obtaining your CCIE. That way when you do obtain the CCIE and land your first networking job you will be well prepared.

What I mean is read on these topics


TCP/IP( Get Stevens or Comer books and understand)



A good understanding of these topics will make you more valuable and make your CCIE certification look better, even though these topics aren't currently tested on the CCIE R&S Lab(except TCP/IP of course, and some GRE stuff, along with minor DNS config)....

Good luck and don't look back

Tony.henry Sun, 09/02/2007 - 16:25
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Just as a side note. Why don't you get a job in network prior to trying to get CCIE? it's a lot of study and effort to get a highly rated certificate, only to find out that you might not like the work?


abdigulaid Mon, 09/03/2007 - 03:52
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Im currently working in the IT Field but as a Second Line(or Second Tier) support person. I currently support all general issues and have been doing this in the Medical, Banking, Law and Charity sectors for three years. I've had my time and want to specialise- I definately want to get into Networking as i find it ever so fascinating.... It's Intellectually challenging and requires a deep understanding of complex topics.

The only issue is i want to be a top Networking Dog- and im currently 22 years old... With youth comes alot of problems in which senior colleagues disregard anything you say (even though you are correct at times) because of your inexperience- I want respect for what i know and attaining the CCIE will help me get my respect... Atleast i think it will!

Any suggestions are much appreciated. You guys have been ever so helpful... Please continue.

Tony.henry Mon, 09/03/2007 - 13:24
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Fair enough, I don't have a problem with being hungry and working at it.

Experience, and being correct gets respect, from the people who pay you for doing the job. Being a CCIE will get respect from your fellow networkers who want, just like you to be a CCIE.

My advice is that since you're sure what you want to specialise in, you should focus your efforts into getting a job/experience in the networking field, and chase experience rather than certificates for a while. Bredth of knowledge will help with anything you do as much as depth.

Being the top-dog won't happen just because you're a CCIE, it will happen because you know your stuff, and your peers and bosses, know that you're the goto guy.

I hope this helps.


paul.matthews Fri, 09/07/2007 - 11:29
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abdigulaid, I find some of your comments interesting. I am nearly twice your age, and have been a CCIE for 9 years. I do have a lot of respect from my peers within the company, but little of that is because I have a medal.

When I am trying to persuade someone, I use logical argument and explanation. I never stoop to "I say so and I'm a CCIE so there" as that is not a good way to "sell" a solution.

If you are right, people will learn, but you also need to learn how to put things. I don't know you, but I have known a good many people during my career some good, some less so, some young, some older.

What really gets you taken seriously is not just stating a position and actually being right, but stating the position, with logical argument why it is the correct position and including references to support the position.

If you can also frame things in a business rather then purely technical perspective even putting costs on things then so much the better - eg when trying to promote GLBP over Multiple HSRP simply saying it is better is not enough - pointing out that it can result in a simpler (and thus easier to support) router config, and easier (and thus cheaper) host/DHCP config is good, especially if yuo can quantify how much cheaper!

abdigulaid Fri, 09/07/2007 - 12:18
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Paul Matthews,

Don't get me wrong- I'm not one to thrust ideas down peoples throats without rational, or without thinking about the logic behind a solution.... I have been wrong on many occasions but have also been correct on many aswell (Im sure you'll find that even with experts, thats why its better to collaborate and share ideas). I totally understand what you mean by selling your thoughts, and that is exactly what i do. It's just that the job market is tough for someone of my age, a potential employer in an interview may doubt my technical skills because of my age......Age discrimination is a common thing in society, for the old and the young.

I am pursuing the CCIE to lay these doubts about ones ability to rest. Where people can look at me and say "He maybe young, but this kid has a CCIE- so his technical ability is far above someone of similar experience and age".

mohammedmahmoud Fri, 09/07/2007 - 13:18
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Hi Abdi Gulaid,

I completely understand your point, we've all passed through this while we were starting our careers, but i totally agree with Paul, its not the number that will stood up for you, you can have the number but still have no points in arguments, anyway pursuing the number will MASSIVELY increase your knowledge and enhance your weight in discussions, but you still need to always have a point of view standing upon facts and illustrations (not only based on technical feasibility, but also non technical considerations like Paul has also pointed out).

Lastly i hope you good luck in your career, and take it easy :)


Mohammed Mahmoud.

paul.matthews Sun, 09/09/2007 - 23:22
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The CCIE is mot the magic ticket it once was. With you youth, I suspect that what will actually happen is "Hmm, 22 years old and CCIE - this guy can pass exams"

I know we all make mistakes, but when you actually stick your neck out, what percentage of the time are you right and what percentage are you wrong? For you to get real respect, the figure has to be such that should you rurn out to be wrong, people are surprised. I'll give you a hint about my strike rate once I have gone into battle - it is 100%. When I start to work on something I may be mistaken, but when it comes to sticking my neck out, I am right.

Aslo a little with the age thing - some of it is attitude, but generaly, yep you are right. Bear in mind the sort of role that often has a CCIE associated with it. An employer has to be happy that you have the authority to be put in front of a senior manager at a customer to explain why they should spend another 15 million with you, especially after that incident last week that took the network out for four hours.

A CCIE alone will not lay any doubts to rest - I have met a few numpties that have managed to pass the lab. It is better than most exams for filtering wheat from chaff, but some chaff doeas stil get through. The CCIE may still get you an interview, but you still need to be convincing.


stephenneville Mon, 09/03/2007 - 08:30
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The CCIE Lab is a completely different beast to what you have experienced so far. At the moment you?re learning the technologies and the facts just like when you start driving. Sooner or later you need to get behind the wheel and actually do it for real instead of just learning how to do it.

Of course the Lab is passable with out prior "hands on Cisco experience" you can hire a remote rack or build your own lab and have exactly the same setup as the test centre. You need experience sooner or later and for the Lab it helps massively.

It?s a very small percentage of people in this industry that have actually passed the CCIE. Don't think just because you want the CCIE that your going to pass it.

There are good engineers out there who have many years of experience who never get their numbers even though they have sat the lab on numerous occasions. These are intelligent people who study hard and know their stuff but can't handle the pressure of the lab test.

Unlike the written exams it?s a lot harder just to sit the Lab getting a lab date seems harder recently with so much demand to sit the exam and also the small cost of sitting it.

I was in the same boat as you not long ago and thought no one would take me seriously because I was too young unfortunately the years fly by and before you know it you have experience under your belt a few grey hairs and a few sleepless nights to go with it.

My advice would be to get the experience as soon as possible as has already been said you might get some experience and think its not all it was cracked up to be.

mark.j.hodge Mon, 09/03/2007 - 12:41
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It is possible to get CCIE without work experiance? Yes, jus about anything is possible.

It it advisable? Probably not, the CCIE lab is based upon real world tasks, without experiance it would be very difficult, and quite costly, as you would probably fail at least once.

A "paper" CCIE, i.e. one gained from books and sims would not hold as much value to employers as one gained the traditional way. This does not mean you would not get a job, as CCIE is quite an achievment, just that your options may be limited. This is likely to be the case with your existing co-workers as well.

As you state that you are "doing well" with CCNP, that qualification should be more than enough to obtain a suitable networking position, in which you would gain the experiance.

omar.elmohri Mon, 09/10/2007 - 04:08
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I want to ask a question, I'm not sure that it is permited, but I want to know how a CCIE can earn as salary? I want to ask because is it logical that CCNP gain a 1000 dollars per month??

paul.matthews Mon, 09/10/2007 - 04:18
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Salary is all down to local conditions. If there are few CCIEs but a lot of demand, they can command higher salaries, if there is a glut of CCIEs they command a lower rate.

Also bear in mind that most CCIEs wil already have a pretty impressive CV without those four letters, and that will contribute to the rates they can command.

There are numerous job web sites that will give indications of rates.


omar.elmohri Tue, 09/11/2007 - 02:00
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Really what you are saying, all depends also of the personal experience and the local parameters!!

but what I want to know! is it easy to go with a well paied job (relatively to ather jobs or it jobs) I mean specially in the north America!?


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