It’s interesting to watch the CCIE training business these days. InternetworkExpert adds Scott Morris to their roster. IPExpert gets together with Narbik Kocharians for some sort of mutually beneficial arrangement. InternetworkExpert has added a new CCIE community site, because apparently we needed Yet Another Forum. Of course, Cisco has started their own “learning community” targeted at getting more certified folks on the street, CCIE candidates certainly a part of that target audience. I’ve heard significant rumors about other training vendors that are unconfirmed or not public knowledge yet. To add to all that movement, I’ve been hit up by 3 different training vendors, all trying to enroll me in a second CCIE track.
What does all of this mean to you and me? I’m not sure exactly, so allow me to make Wild Speculation Just For Fun to provoke some thought.
- There’s too many CCIE training vendors out there with essentially parallel product lines. Not everyone is going to make it. For example, I am interested in selling this site. When I named my price to an interested vendor, negotiations ended. My asking price was barely higher than one of their end-to-end programs. If they’d sold 2 end-to-end programs as a result of taking ownership of CCIECandidate.com, they would have recouped their cost. But they dropped out. Why? Obviously speculation on my part, but I can guess that cash flow is tight. Advertising budgets are tight. If my price for this site was a major consideration, then they are having to be very careful with their cash management. (Alternatively, this site isn’t worth what I want for it. LOL.) Possibly then, other CCIE training vendors are in a similar state. Thus, my thought that not everyone’s going to make it. There’s not enough CCIE training business out there to be had. The CCIE certification is still perceived as too challenging, too difficult for the mere mortal, plus the value of earning and maintaining the CCIE certification is starting to be questioned by a jaundiced but notable few. Techies are just not flocking to earn the CCIE designation like they do to the entry- and mid-level Cisco certs.
- Vendors are trying to differentiate their product lines, and that’s proving difficult. Therefore, we might see a price war. You can find people who’ve used any of the big names for their studies, and have nice things to say about those vendors, me included. I bet you can use this problem the vendors are facing to get some discounts on training products. Why do I say this? If you can’t differentiate your product through reputation or perceived quality, you end up having to compete on price. While we all might have our opinions on which CCIE training vendor is “the best”, at the end of the day, all the big names have a long list of candidates that passed the lab. In my opinion, most of the big names offer products roughly equal in terms of reputation and quality. Therefore, the difference becomes largely one of price. I have no idea if you’ll have any luck, but poke your CCIE training salesperson a bit, and see if you can get some discounts on products you are interested in. Get competing quotes for competing products, and be ready to share those quotes to the competing salespeople. Use the environment to your advantage, especially if you’re paying for training materials out-of-pocket. If you’re an active CCIE blogger, mention it as negotiating tactic. There’s no point in being a “I spent 80 million dollars on CCIE training” martyr just to impress people with how much you spent on your way to your digits.
Just a reminder – this is purely an opinion article. I have no inside track on what’s going on at any of these training vendors. I don’t work for any CCIE training vendors, nor do I currently earn revenue for the banner ads you see in the left pane of this site. This is just me talking about some things I’ve been contemplating for a while.