Should I bother with a recert?

Unanswered Question
Sep 27th, 2007


I am trying to decide if it's worth the bother to get recertified...

I have already recertifed 3 times and am beginning to wonder if the certification is worth the time and effort (and the $315).

The last two times that I took the test I felt that most of the questions were not really applicable to the real world, could be looked up in <2 minutes on Google or were platform specific...

I feel that the only real reason bother is so that I can list it on a resume, and feel that saying CCIE (Expired) carries basically as much weight as CCIE (Current). This, coupled with the drop in prestige of the cert in general is making me think that I'd be better off not bothering...

I've already given cisco my pound of flesh (original written, lab exam, 3 recerts =~ $2,500), I'm not sure if I care to give them anymore (and yes, I know that cisco doesn't make that much from the testing, the testing partners take much of it, but....)


I have this problem too.
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paul.matthews Thu, 09/27/2007 - 09:21

I must admit I have had similar thoughts myself. While IPV6 may be worthwhile on a one-off exam as the prequal, as an example I am not convinced that it is something we need to be learning in depth just now - I still think it is a while before we will start seeing it for real.

I did my first recert in 2000...

wkumari Thu, 09/27/2007 - 11:39

Yup, another technology that bothers me on the exam is EIGRP. I will NEVER, NEVER run it (unless it is released as an open standard with no silly licenses, etc -- and even then probably not). I strongly dislike vendor proprietary solutions and feel that, by emphasizing it on the written, cisco is trying to get vendor lock. (I have a few friends who would love to try another vendor, but cannot due to the fact that they are running EIGRP -- cisco should be competing on the merits of their gear, not by locking people into a proprietary protocol).

Anyone care to add to the list of topics that are on the exam but not applicable to the real world?

cyphur353 Thu, 09/27/2007 - 12:51

I think the CCIE still commands a lot of respect in the workplace and the industry. You aren't instantly seen as "walking on water" as was the case in the past, but that was inevitable, simply due to the advancement of the industry and the certification track.

If you're bored with the track you keep re-certing on, why not try a new track? It will be a new challenge, but will still reap the same rewards in the end.

steve_steele Mon, 10/08/2007 - 17:46

Slightly off topic but with regards to the "way too much EIGRP" at least other protocols are still covered.

I remember learning how to configure an NT 4 server as a Router for an Microsoft exam. If you worked for a Microsoft Shop MS Proxy was considered a firewall. All companies are bound to tout their own stuff.

swmorris Mon, 10/08/2007 - 19:19

hehehe... Very true. I guess that's the idea of inventing it. But for a protocol that takes so little configuration for the voodoo magic to work, it just seemed out of whack in the ratio.

Just my thoughts. *shrug*


I couldn't agree more.

I have taken recert 3 times - 2 R&S and 1 Voice. I feel studying/passing a recert exam is not challenging nor rewarding enough and I feel the same every time after I took recert.

I'd like to see something like - if a CCIE maintain his status for 5 consecutive years or 2 recerts, then recertification is no longer required.

Personally, I have yet to find an employer who is looking for an active CCIE (as opposed to an expired CCIE) instead of a full CCIE (as opposed to written-passed CCIE).

rgodden Fri, 09/28/2007 - 06:54

cisco exam fatigue .

I would advise keeping your CCIE active, one day you could be out of work and it will put you above another in the job queue.

wkumari Fri, 09/28/2007 - 07:42

Yes, your proposal sounds great -- after N recerts I think that you have proven yourself enough that you shouldn't have to re-certify any more...

My employer is growing rapidly and we spend a *large* amount of time reading resumes, interviewing candidates, etc. We pay lots of attention to what the candidate has done, etc. Certifications don't really carry much weight, and what weight they *do* carry would not be changed if the certification has expired. Actually, for a CCIE, the only thing that gets considered is how long ago the certification was achieved...

swmorris Mon, 10/08/2007 - 15:13

If you go to work for a partner, an expired CCIE isn't worth as much to them (partner-wise anyway).

And as someone else noted, you never know when you'll be hunting, and ANY reason to disqualify you can simply be done by some little HR dweeb who just notices 'expired' rather than translating older CCIE number into lots of experience.

$315 every two years isn't that bad. Yeah, it's irritating, but not the end of the world. I just recerted with R&S again, and at least the stupid wireless product BS questions were all gone this time! :)

On the other hand, I agree with you in that I think there are WAY too many EIGRP questions on there, but it IS a Cisco exam. *shrug*

But now I have until 2011 to have to care again! I've been doing this since 1998 though, so SSDY. (Same #&*# Different Year)



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Jon Marshall Mon, 10/08/2007 - 22:28


Just from my experience. I have been doing networking for quite a while now and have been involved in operations/implementation & design.

I did hold CCNA a long time ago but never bothered to progress certifications any further. My main reason for not doing certs was that at any one time you never need to know all that you have know for the lab, each job will involve some elements of it but very rarely all and i really couldn't see the point in learning something i was going to be using.

I am now putting serious thought into studying for CCIE R&S. Why ?, because as others have mentioned it can get you into the interview. Doesn't mean you can do the job but that's another matter.

I would not even be considering this if i could be assured that companies i applied to were more interested in what you have done and what you know rather than certs although i do not mean to denigrate any one's achievement in acquiring CCIE. But from experience it doesn't work that way.

And your point about CCIE(expired) carrying the same weight. Maybe, but with the increasing number of CCIE's these days, as another poster said, that is just another reason for HR to place your CV in the rejected pile.


scottmac Thu, 03/27/2008 - 16:17

I too understand your point, and given a static scenario, could agree.

Where (Current) will matter above (Expired) are for the partners that require a certain inventory of certification to maintain their partner status level.

The other possible scenario would be in the case of an RFB / RFQ response where the question/requirement bullet will *ALWAYS* read along the lines of "Current Certifications : # of CCIE, # of CCNP, # CCNA ... " or "How many CCIEs do you currently employ?" where (expired) warm bodies do not count towards "Currently employed CCIE" body counts.

Of course, it's all administrative, but when you're an administrator, that's a Big Thing.

For the effort already expended, for my two cents, I'd say re-certify. Murphey says that within days, if not hours, after you permit the cert to expire, *SOMETHING* or *SOMEONE* is going to require you to have it (for whatever reason) and then you 'll need to drop the cash not only for the written, but another Lab as well.

Don't tempt the Gawds that be; re-certify ... Murphey (like Darwin) ALWAYS wins. You know that's true.

Good Luck


andrew.burns Fri, 03/28/2008 - 01:51


I totally sympathise, and some years ago I let my recert lapse for exactly that reason.(past two years, so that I became inactive or whatever the term is). I figured that as I only do design these days I no longer needed it - and my CV would speak for itself.

Shortly thereafter a contract came up that I really wanted and at the interview they said that active CCIE was an HR requirement for the role, not a technical requirement. So off I went and recertified.

Since then I've kept it up, just in case..



tperrier Fri, 03/28/2008 - 14:30

> I did hold CCNA a long time ago but never bothered to progress certifications any further. My main reason for not doing certs was that at any one time you never need to know all that you have know for the lab, each job will involve some elements of it but very rarely all and i really couldn't see the point in learning something i was going to be using.

That's not the best attitude to have with regards to learning the technology, IMHO. You never know when you will need to know some technology, and the more you can learn in advance, the better! As an example, I've been recently asked to design for a client, then configure, a mixed "traditional" routing/switching (OSPF, etc.) and MPLS VPN network, comprised of about 15 Cat 6500 and smaller switches (some P, PE and CE routers), and many other technologies mixed in (multicast, multicast VPN, Catalyst QoS, security). All this in a very short amount of time! I would never been able to accomplish this if I wasn't already proficient with most of the "base" network protocols (being a CCIE R/S), and had some MPLS knowledge already thanks to the CCIP I also hold, whose MPLS part I hadn't used in the field until this project.

Also, OTOH, I wouldn't have this project being handed to me if I wasn't a CCIE anyways, or with proved knowledge and technical expertise equivalent to a CCIE... (But believe me, I've not met many people who have this technical expertise and don't hold a CCIE. The reason is that obtaining a CCIE is the goal which make most people learn this insane amount of stuff!)

To get back on topic: asking to remain certified without recertifying is an heresy. How can you prove you remain technically in shape without an exam? For instance, some people will tire of their technical job and defect to marketing, and lose their CCIE knwledge over time. Why should their remain certified when they don't have the knowledge anymore?

Another example: folks who passed their CCIE ten years ago dealt with many different technologies at the time, many of them which have all but disappeared (DECnet, anyone?). Technology evolves, and you have to prove by passing the recert exam that you remain aware of the new stuff.

Jon Marshall Sun, 03/30/2008 - 08:00


I actually agree with a lot of what you say and your opening point did make me think a lot. I think also i am being a little hypocritcal in that i do continually learn new things i might not be using straight away, i guess the difference being i learn things i have an interest in rather than for a cert.

I think your point is well made though although i have to take issue with one point - how did you know i was going to say that :-).

"I've not met many people who have this technical expertise and don't hold a CCIE. The reason is that obtaining a CCIE is the goal which make most people learn this insane amount of stuff!)"

I'm not taking issue with this on my behalf at all as i know if i tried to sit CCIE now i would fail quite spectacularly. And i am in no way intending to denigrate CCIE - i think it is a very impressive achievement.

I take issue on 2 counts

1) At least half the people i have truly respected and looked up to in IT have never had a certification to their name. Just to be fair the other half have. But i take from that a cert is no guarantee of excellence. I guess everyones experience is different but i have met quite a few people who have the technical expertise but no certs to back them up.

2) "The reason is that obtaining a CCIE is the goal which make most people learn this insane amount of stuff!"

I think that was my main point. It is an insane amount of stuff and, again speaking from my experience so you may differ, once you have learned it if you then don't utilise it it starts to fade.

So i guess i would rather learn things that interest me than things for the sake of a cert that don't.

Having said all that i do agree with your fundamental point so thanks for posting.


swmorris Sun, 03/30/2008 - 08:08

There's always a balance in the world. There will always be some great engineers with no certifications. There's nothing wrong with that.

In a functional job scenario, the certification shouldn't make nearly as much difference as experience.

In a competitive situation, however, whether for a new job, or contract or whatever.... The certifications make a difference, especially the CCIE, because it establishes a well-known baseline knowledge level.

So it all depends on your needs. But on the flip side, I don't think I have ever met anyone who had their CCIE that regretted obtaining it! :)

IMHO, you're taking the wrong approach if you think you learn something just for the sake of a certification. Just because something is outside of your comfort zone, or outside of whatever you deal with today does not make it a waste of time! ;)

Just my thoughts...


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Jon Marshall Sun, 03/30/2008 - 12:03


"The certifications make a difference, especially the CCIE" - agreed, see my first post.

"IMHO, you're taking the wrong approach if you think you learn something just for the sake of a certification. Just because something is outside of your comfort zone, or outside of whatever you deal with today does not make it a waste of time! ;)"

Absolutely agree and i hope thats what came across in my last post. I fully support the idea of learning things that you are not necessarily doing in your day to day to job, i do it all the time. I guess my position, which i accept is rapidly becoming more untenable by the minute -:), is that i only learn things that i either need in my job or interest me.

Perhaps that is why i am not a CCIE and probably never will be !


andrew.burns Mon, 03/31/2008 - 02:37


Lots of interesting comments there, and although I agree with the whole continuous development idea I'd like to see who has the time to spare for this. Every new project usually requires a rapid re-learning of some technology or other (or actual learning if you've never touched that technology previously) - randomly learning stuff just in case you might need it in the future sounds like a waste of time. Either you'll never use it (you obviously haven't used it up till now or you wouldn't be learning it) or you won't use it for some years (by which time you'll likely have forgotten it...)

Just my 2p


gwhuang5398 Tue, 04/01/2008 - 12:57

I agree with Andrew that even though studying for CCIE exams can make you learn/relearn technologies, you will forget about those quickly after the exams if you don't actually use it often for work. That's my experience too. Every time I went to the exams, I had to spend time studying, but I quickly forgot a good portion of the study materials afterwards because I didn't use them at work, and the times when I actually had to use them ,I had to relearn how to do it right even though I had studied it for CCIE exams before. What I'm trying to say is: some pecentage of the time you spend on CCIE study will be waste of your time. Of course, the exception is you just take the exam without studying. In my case, I'm pretty sure I will fail if I don't study.


subedar_singh Fri, 06/13/2008 - 06:08

Dear ALL,

I recently clear my CCIE(R&S) but my CCNA,CCNP both are expire it is necessary to recert.CCNA,CCNP or focus on CCIE lab.

Advise Pls


jim_berlow Fri, 06/13/2008 - 08:35

If I'm reading your post correctly, you have passed your CCIE written exam and noticed that your CCNA / CCNP have expired. Your question is whether you need to recert the CCNA or CCNP?

If you have passed your CCIE R&S written then you need to be spending all of your attention on passing the lab. You only have a year and a half to take the lab exam so you really need to be working hard at studying for the lab. I guess what I am saying is that you shouldn't spare time to recert your CCNA / CCNP if you need to take the lab soon.

Now - one other thing. If you passed the CCIE written before your CCNA / CCNP expired, the written test does recertify both of those. So you might be okay (if you passed the CCIE written before the certs expired).



Pravin Phadte Fri, 06/13/2008 - 09:51

Rectifing the certification for me it has always gone in a different direction.

To keep my ccna alive I completed ccnp. Since I worked in a ISP it did help me a lot passing the exam. Got a project to for design and then I did my ccda. Later I was working on different vendor products it came to my notice that cisco certs can help you undertsand the technology better than any other vendor also compared to documentation. Cisco certs is not everything but hold a high weight in market. As said about the HR and stuff. Well to keep my CCNP I went ahead to complete my ccdp ARCH failed twice completed combo and rectified the ccnp.

Its Just $$$$$ For cisco I don't feel you need to if you can learn the same technology. Technology changes and not sure if you will get to work on the same. What I mean is if its MPLS I don't belive that everyone who has learned it will able to work or implent on it. And I stongly feel that once you loose the touch you will surely tent to forget even if you are a ccie. That's would be completely different with IPv6.

At last CCIE is no tough to achive.

Having said that, It has 2 directions right way and wrong way. and rectification needs to be done for benefit of cisco and others who are dooing their ccie also.



Phillip Hichens Tue, 06/17/2008 - 04:23

I've been in the industry for 9 years already and noticed the massive rate at which technology changes. I started with CCNA never thinking of going any further, since then I completed CCNP, CCVP, CCIP and CCIE R&S written. I'm already thinking of CCIE SP, CCDA, CCDP and CCDE after I'm done with the R&S Lab... this should keep me busy for the next couple of years :) After I completed all that, I know there will be something new I want to achieve.

My Points:

1) One might think you know a technology, but when I hit the books to study for a exam I always learn something new. This makes the certification and recertification very worth while.

2) If there is some technology I can't remember I just need a quick refresh for it all to come back. (Thanks to the years of studying)

If you are not serious about Networking, New Technologies and being a first class Cisco Engineer, why start with this career in the first place?


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