CCIE Pursuit Blog

October 15, 2008

More Information About Cisco’s New CCIE Training Program

Yesterday I postedabout Cisco’s new CCIE training program.  NetworkWorld released a more detailed report today which I encourage you to read.

The “third-party boot camps not always up to par” comment stems from this fairly innocuous statement:

“There was a very diverse level of quality” in the third-party exam preparation programs, said Cisco marketing director Fred Weiller.

This bit bugs and confuses me:

The third-party courses often trained Cisco pros well enough to pass the exam, but not well enough to become true experts, Weiller said.

Are you kidding me?  Again I ask anyone who has prepared for and passed this lab if they could do so without becoming an expert on the technologies that are in the CCIE blueprint.  I can’t speak for all of the third-party vendors but I have heard again and again from IE that you need to master the technologies and how they interrelate if you want to have a chance at passing the CCIE lab.  Not to mention that you need to prove your capabilities to understand disparate technologies (some like MPLS which are not even on the current Routing and Switching blueprint) in order to pass the CCIE written exam.

The “Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE Routing and Switching” is composed of more than 400 hours of instruction over six months…

I agree with Jeff Rensink at CCIE Trek that if those 400 hours are all training and not training plus lab hours, then this is a very impressive amount of training.

Weiller revists his earlier comment about some (unnamed) third-party vendors’ methods of training:

“It’s not to train to the test. It’s training to become an expert,” Weiller said.

I have to call shenanigans here.  You can’t bemoan the CCIE test not turning out “experts” if you don’t define what you mean by the term “expert”.  Also, it’s been noted many times over that the CCIE is not a best-design test.  Some of the tasks on the lab require convoluted solutions that would not be practical in a real-world network.  Has Cisco received complaints about CCIE’s not being able to perform to “expert” level?  Was developing their own training program the only/best solution to this issue?  This sounds like marketing for Cisco’s new training product at the expense of Cisco’s CCIE testing program???

One last interesting bit:

…available beginning Nov. 1 from Cisco partners throughout the country.

Will the partners be doing the training?  If so, then does this program really just represent an official CCIE Routing and Switching curriculum with access to some web-based training and assessment testing?  If this does represent an official Cisco CCIE curriculum then will third-party vendors be allowed to teach to this standard?

This program is currently only for the CCIE Routing and Switching track, so can any of you spot the out-of-place technology in this statement:

In addition to instructor-led sessions and workshops, there will be practice labs, mentoring and six online classes. Topics include IPv6 QoS, Frame Rely [sic],Border Gateway Protocol and switching, Session Initiation Protocol, multicast technology, and various Cisco products.

SIP?  Really?  Maybe this is what Cisco means about third-party vendors training for the test.  These vendors (understandably) concentrate on the technologies on the current blueprint and don’t wander very far outside of that arena.  Perhaps Cisco will train on technologies that are not currently on the lab blueprint but they consider essential to being a Routing and Switching expert.  If that is the case, then I understand their statements.

There will be a live presentation on 23 October with the opportunity to ask questions about Cisco’s new CCIE training program [ht: CCIECandidate]

Watch a live presentation done Learning@Cisco Product Marketing Managers David Bump, Mary Ng and Sanjay Mehta. David Bump manages the Cisco 360 Program and the Service Provider curriculum. Sanjay Mehta manages the Wireless Certifications and Curriculum. Mary Ng manages the Unified Communications Curriculum and is the Project Lead for CCIE Security.

Date: October 23, 2008
Time: 8:00 am PST, 11:00 am EST, 15:00 GMT
Duration: 1.5 hour

The program will focus on the following objectives. After the presentation portion of the show, we’ll be taking live calls from YOU – the viewer— during our Q&A session. You may also submit questions electronically.

• CCIE Program Overview
• CCIE 360 Program
• CCIE Mobile Testing Labs
• CCDE Updates
• Security Lab Updates
• Brand new curriculum!!!

In the end this will be a good change for CCIE candidates.  More competition (generally) means better products and cost-points.  Depending on the details of the program this could be too expensive for self-financed CCIE candidates but it might be a very good option for those who have employer-backing.

Blog at