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Certification Cisco

Re-certifying your CCIE with Continuing Education for < $900

Originally published by me on LinkedIn

A few years ago, Cisco created a new way for CCIEs to re-certify. Instead of cramming for a test (that may not be relevant to your current job) every two years, they created a Continuing Education (CE) program to let you earn credits while learning new skills.

Earn 120 CE credits throughout the year and you can then use those (it’s now automatic vs. having to manually “spend” the credits) to re-certify for three years. Going to Cisco Live and attending breakouts/technical sessions can earn CE credits for things you were going to do anyway (right??) while you’re there. Taking Cisco’s Learning Network courses like SD-WAN and DevNet were, in my opinion, more useful than cramming for a written exam and could be more relevant as “old dogs” try to learn some new tricks to keep up!

FYI, this works to go from CCIE Emeritus back to Active*.

Sticker Shock

“You’re lying, man! I need 120 CE credits to re-certify and when I look at these courses, some of them cost $1500+ while only giving me half the credits I need!”.

Yes, I get it some courses can be expensive (keep reading!), and it’s cheaper to take one CCIE written exam IF you don’t factor in things like the study time required to get up to speed and IF you pass it on the first try. Luckily, some people have taken the time to find some great values if you’re out there CE bargain-hunting.

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Search for Direct Delivery courses on ce.cisco.com

If you’re not in a hurry, there are actually quite a few free courses that can earn you a few CE credits per completion. Sure, each one isn’t worth a lot, but it helps fill in the gaps if you’re looking to optimize your spend while completing your credit goal. Packet Pushers wrote a great article about how to earn up to 50 CE credits for free!

Sure, some of the courses are single-digit CE credits, but need I remind you that they’re free? Spread them out throughout the year or binge them while you’re home-bound.

Look, I don’t have time to take 10 small courses even if they’re free…

I hear you. We’ve all been there: There’s a deadline to meet and the company NEEDS you to be re-certified ASAP. If you’re ever in this situation, I found the best bang-for-the-buck to get 120+ CE credits in a short time is a single course that’s worth 60+ credits ($800), some freebies (to fill in the gaps) as mentioned above, and the best $ value in CE credits:

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The Cisco DevNet Associate Fundamentals Course – it’s a great course and if you act soon (not sure when the promo is going away), you can gain access to it for just $99! I know, I know – this sounds like an infomercial, but Cisco is running a “1 month access” special for $99 (half off) which means you’ll have 30 days to start and finish the course. If you can clear your schedule, it’s by far the cheapest way to get 48 CE credits AND learn some new skills. If you’ve been learning about software development and DevOps (you should be!), much of the course will be easy and/or a refresher.

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I ended up taking the Cisco DevNet Associate Fundamentals course listed above, the Developing Applications using Cisco Core Platforms and APIs (DEVCOR, and there are others like DEVASC) for 60 CE credits, and finally three freebies about SD-WAN to get me over 120 CE credits. All could be completed in a few weeks if you can clear your schedule or make time over the weekend.

TL; DR

  • Do as many free courses as you can, when you can. (up to 50 CE)
  • Bang-for-the-buck: Cisco DevNet Associate Fundamentals. (48 CE)
  • Pick any other $800 (or less?) course and expense it to your company (varies, shoot for 60 CE)
  • Re-certified when you pass 120 (was automatic for me)

* confirm with a Cisco Certification case if needed since there is text referring to “certain” Emeritus CCIEs that must take a lab exam to re-certify/re-activate

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