I recently blogged about a NetworkWorld article about declining CCIE pay. To be fair, the NetworkWorld article did not actually say that CCIE salaries were declining. It said that in a salary survey, Routing and Switching CCIEs had average salaries that were less than the average salary for some other certifications (“Is CCIE pay slipping compared to other certifications?”). The “slipping” refereed to the average salary of CCIEs compared to some other certifications. Confused? So was I. 🙂
The NW article showed that the average (US) CCIE earns $93,500. I think that’s a livable wage. 🙂 It does, however, seem to be lower than numbers I have seen quoted before as well as the “as soon as you get your digits the money fairy descends from the heavens and hits you with her $100K wand” myth.
I looked for some other CCIE salary resources on the mighty, might Interwebs.
Certification Magazine echoes the NW articles findings in that the CCIE is not the #1 salaried certification, but their numbers show a higher average salary along with a nice increase over the last 3 years:
CertMag’s 2007 Salary Survey
Cisco CCIE, which dominated the Salary Survey in ’03 and ’04 but slipped out of the top five thereafter, came in third this year with $111,090.
CertMag’s 2006 Salary Survey
The top five certification programs saw a bit of a shake-up this year with the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) falling out of the top five to sixth place with an average salary of $105,560.
CertMag’s 2005 Salary Survey: Monitoring Your Net Worth
… the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), with $104,020.
Sounds good. Well here’s a survey that shows that the median income for a US CCIE with 1 – 4 years experience is a little less than $69,000 (there were 72 respondents).
Brad Reese (via TCPmag.com) has a salary survey that shows US CCIEs averaging six-figures:
Why the wide discrepency in average CCIE salaries? Is this a case of “lies, damn lies, and statistics”? Maybe. I don’t have the time nor the desire to look into the methodologies behind these surveys. I can tell you that there are a number of variables that affect ANY salary. If you’re a recently minted CCIE in Duluth, Minnesota then you’re very likely to be making less than a CCNP (or CCNA for that matter) in Silicon Valley or Manhattan. Secondly, “salary” can mean different things to different people. I think of my salary as my base salary. I don’t include bonuses, training budget, vacation, benefits, etc. in my salary. I remember seeing the dollar value for an FTE (Full Time Equivalent/Employee) for my current position and thinking that my employer was WAY underpaying me. The FTE value was twice my base salary. Of course, the FTE included ALL of my employer’s costs for that position.
Anyhoo….I still think that getting your CCIE will allow you to put clothes on your back and food on the table. Your salary may double or it may stay the same. If you’re doing this for money, then you have much better ROI options than the CCIE.