Highlights – CCIE TV Broadcast from October 23, 2008


Semi-live blogging as I watched the CCIE TV event from the Cisco learning network.  This broadcast covered introductory comments, insight into the much-blogged-about Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE R&S, updates on the Cisco Mobile Lab initiative, an update on the CCDE certification, how the beta is doing for the CCIE Wireless track, comments on the new CCIE Security 3.0 Lab exam, and finally some Q&A.

I was typing as fast as I could to get a condensed version of the show for whoever is interested.  I apologize if this seems terse.  Clicking on the link above, you will soon be able to watch an archived version of the show.  Hopefully, that will fill in some details my quickie notes might lack.

11:04a – Dave Bump – intro comments:

  • The CCIE program is 15 years old.
  • Less than 3% of Cisco certholders are CCIEs.
  • 74% of lab bookings are R&S.  13% Security.  10% Voice.  3% Service Provider.  Storage statistically insignificant.
  • CCDE written available already, practical exam became available in October 2008.
  • 18,084 total CCIEs worldwide. 16,019 R&S, 1,828 Security, 1,006 SP, 139 Storage, and 822 Voice as of 10/10/2008.
  • Only 1,776 (? – slide changed too quickly) hold multiple CCIE certs.

11:10am – Dave Bump – Cisco 360 comments:

  • Cisco 360 was 1 year in development.
  • Skills gap estimated to be 3 million in 2012 (needed vs. anticipated available engineers).  360 program helps fills the gap.
  • 360 designed to help engineers ramp up their skills to expert level in a measurable, predictable way.
  • 360 is a wrap-around learning approach.  Assessment -> Planning -> Learning -> Practice -> Review -> Mastery -> (back to) Assessment.
  • 360 is a blended learning approach, to offer different approaches to different learning styles.  Pre-assessment, workshops, library, lessons, practice labs, assessments, and mentoring are all offered.
  • Cisco wants the program to be scalable – the same program all over the world, as defined by specific Cisco standards.  Experts teaching experts.  400 hours of instruction, 250 hours of practice.
  • Cisco worked with authorized learning partners to define a Basic Package containing pre-assessment, reference library, practice lab workbook, lessons on demand, 10 assessment labs, and a mentor guide.
  • Optional packages include Advanced Workshop 1 (first of two 5-day sessions, lab guide, 16 hours of assessment labs, plus instructor time and feedback with mentoring), Advanced Workshop 2 (second 5-day workshop, with feedback and mentoring), Mentoring Services, and Practice Equipment (Cisco standard rack topology).
  • Subject matter experts are key to the 360 program.  There is a 3-tiered instructor program:  Certified Mentor, Certified Instructor, and Master Instructor.
  • The learning management system is centrally hosted so that anyone can access their curriculum 24×7 over the Internet, including things like practice labs.  Information can be shared with colleagues.

11:21a – Dave Bump – CCIE Mobile Lab initiative:

  • Addresses the need for CCIE lab testing in other areas of the world.
  • Allows Cisco to grow the CCIE program in places where there are practical barriers to certification.
  • R&S is the only mobile lab right now.
  • Mobile lab will be coming to Karachi, Pakistan; Cairo, Egypt; Istanbul, Turkey; and Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Proposed sites include Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Riyahdi, and a whole bunch of others I didn’t have the chance to type before the slide changed.  I estimate there were 2 or 3 dozen prospective cities listed, scattered all over the globe.

11:24a – Sanjay Mehta – CCDE Certification Update:

  • CCDE is parallel to CCIE in difficulty.
  • Targeted at expert-level designers with 7+ years of experience.
  • Written qualification exam & practical exam.
  • CCDA -> CCDP -> CCDE is a common track, but there is not prerequitiste for CCDE, just like CCIE.
  • The typical network designer the CCDE cert is aimed at spends most of this time in performance optimization, then troubleshooting, then strategic project work, then security design.
  • CCDE qualification exam is 352-001 ADVDESIGN, a 90 to 110 question exam.  This 2 hour test is available at Pearson/VUE and costs $350.
  • CCDE practical exam is a scenario-based, 8 hour proctored exam.  Available via Pearson/VUE and costs $1,400. The test launches Feb, 11, 2009; the beta was in Chicago in October.  The exam will only be offered on specific dates and at pre-determined locations, and only quarterly.
  • The exam is computer-based.  The exam has scenarios, but will also have multiple choice questions sprinkled throughout.
  • The exam content is based on industry best practices, and application of networking knowledge to design challenges.  Configuration of equipment is not required.
  • The scenarios will vary from test to test, but the overall topics covered remain the same.
  • Security of this exam is taken seriously, using video cameras, ID checks, etc.
  • Developed by hardcore subject matter experts.

11:34a – Sanjay Mehta – CCIE Wireless Certification Beta Program

  • For senior engineers dealing with Cisco WLANs.
  • 2 hour written qualification, and 8 hour hands-on lab.
  • Localized language support.
  • Written beta runs from 10/7/2008 through 11/14/2008.
  • Lab beta 11/15/2008 to 12/16/2008.
  • Final exam release dates to be determined, but early 2009 is the target.
  • $50 beta test cost for 351-050 (no vouchers left, sorry).
  • Written must be passed to qualify for the lab, like the other programs.
  • Technology blueprints are available online.

11:39a – Mary Ng – CCIE Security Lab Exam Update (Version 3.0)

  • The CCIE Security lab exam certifies that you can do a security deployment end-to-end, including platforms such as Windows, UNIX, Linux, HTTP, SMTP, FTP, and DNS.  Core routing skills are not required, but there’s an expectation that the candidate has a solid understanding of layer 2 and 3 technologies.
  • The lab blueprint includes ASA and IOS firewalls, Cisco VPN gear, Cisco IPS gear, identity management solutions, and more concepts.
  • The tested hardware and revs include ISR routers running IOS 12.4T, 3560s on 12.2(x)SE, ASA 5500 on 8.x, IPS 4240 on 6.x, and ACS 4.1.

11:47a – Q&A Session

These are my summarizations of the questions and answers.  I didn’t get them all.

  • Does 360 lower the CCIE standard to MCSE, where Microsoft (and now Cisco) tells you everything you need to know?  No, we’re providing tools for training, but not cheapening what needs to be known or what expertise is acheived.  Also, the 360 program is not teaching you to pass an exam.  Rather the program is teaching you technology so you can function at an expert level.
  • MARS and NAC are not on the CCIE Security Lab 3.0 refresh.  What’s up?  MARS and NAC are on the written exam. Cisco is shooting to keep the lab a technology exam, as opposed to a product exam.  MARS and NAC were hard to fit into the lab because of that.
  • How many ASAs in the security lab?  2 ASAs.
  • Do CCIE wireless candidate need routing and switching knowledge?  Yes, candidate are expected to know some level of routing/switching; it will be tested on the lab exam for wireless.
  • Is there a list of wireless lab equipment?  Yes, a list exists, but could change as program is still in beta.  Information will be on cisco.com, so check there.
  • Will there be more preconfiguration on the security exam, since there’s more stuff tested?  Yes, while there’s configuration to do, optimization and troubleshooting are emphasized, implying that there might well be a lot preconfiguration already done.
  • Is there a mobile lab location and date in Canada?  There is no planned location or date for Canada as yet.
  • Wireless beta lab will cost $1,400.
  • When will CCDE beta takers get results, and what about a logo?  Results will be issued within the next 2 days.  A logo is being worked on, hopefully available by end of 2008 or early 2009.
  • Will the 360 program be available for one-on-one mentoring outside of a learning partner?  You’ll have all the info if you buy the material, but a learning partner is highly recommended because Cisco can stand behind that learning partner.
  • How do I register for the wireless lab beta?  You can’t – it’s by invitation only.  The only beta lab candidates considered are those who’ve passed the wireless written qualification, so at least do that much, then hope for an invite.
  • Where can I find a list of learning partners that will provide the 360 program?  The program is still very new, and learning partners are still in the application process.  Between now and November 3, a list should provided on the Cisco Learning Network.
  • Does passing the CCIE wireless beta written and beta lab earn the candidate a CCIE number?  Yes.  Betas count, just like “the real thing”.
  • Where will the 360 program be available?  Globally through learning partners in every major region around the world.
  • You can’t buy the 360 program before November 3, and it will be through the Cisco Learning Network, delivered via learning partners.  Be patient, it’s coming.
  • Where will the wireless lab be delivered?  Brussels, San Jose, and Sydney.
  • What about a professional level wireless cert?  Yes, it’s in the pipeline, latter part of 2009.
  • Is there an refresh coming to the CCIE Service Provider track?  It’s being worked on, but the track is not expected to change through 2009.  But you never know.

About the author

Ethan Banks

Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.



Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.

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