For many years, the CCIE has been the gold standard of certifications among network engineers, but with the shift of networking – moving towards SDN, DevOps, and cloud – CCIE does not hold the same prestige value that it used to have.

In this blog, I aim to answer two questions:

  1. Why CCIE value changed over the last few years
  2. What are the hot certificates and/or technologies that you can pursue to enhance your career

CCIE has changed …

CCIE has strong tendency towards a Cisco-centric way of looking at networking. This was fine in the past, when Cisco used to dominate the networking market, but it is not the case anymore. Today, in the enterprise networking market, you have strong competitors like arista, hp, dell, and juniper. In the Service provider networking market, you have Nokia/Alcatel-lucent, Ericsson, Huawai, and juniper. Most customers nowadays avoid the vendor lock in solutions and go for multi-vendor network deployment; especially with the rise of open compute and white box solutions. This means that your CCIE certification may not be as useful as it used to be few years ago. There are many networks that don’t have a single cisco gear !!

Moreover, the content of CCIE is lagging what the network industry has been shifting to. For example, you won’t find anything in the CCIE tracks that address Software defined network (SDN), or network automation using python, Go, ansible, puppet, chef, etc…

Lastly, CCIE has been out for so many years, that many people figured out different ways to crack the exam using brain dumps instead of putting the hard work, blood, sweat and tears required to achieve such a prestigious network certification.

In 2010, CCIE R&S count drops were observed for the first time, where CCIE certificated engineers decided to drop from the status of active and/or suspended to the status of inactive.

Today’s hot certificates …

In my opinion, if you want to get certified, CCIE is still a valid option, but there are even better options that you should consider. If you check out Forbes or Globalknowledge top paid certificates for 2016, you will find out that AWS Certified Solutions Architects is leading the chart, and it actually makes sense. There are 89% of the enterprise companies going towards public cloud, and 71% going with hybrid cloud model.

Here are Forbes and Globalknowledge links, if you want to check out the full list of top paid network certificates:

If you just want to learn new technologies that will be relevant in the next few years, I highly recommend the following:

  • DevOps tools such as Ansible, puppet, and Chef.
  • Programming languages to automate your network such as Python or GO
  • SDN solutions such as Nuage Networks
  • Cloud technologies such as AWS for public cloud and openstack for private cloud.
  • Container networking such as Kubernetes or Mesos