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5 Cisco CCIE Myths Debunked

Cisco’s CCIE certification is considered the PhD of networking because of its prestige. It’s an expert-level certification, and it’s strongly recommended that students have three to five years of experience working with Cisco networking technologies.

Due to the exam’s difficulty level, there are a lot of myths out there about CCIE certification. In this blog, I aim to clear up five common misconceptions around the popular networking certification.

Myth 1: The CCIE lab exam is not passable

While many people do not pass the exam on their first try, to call the lab exam unpassable is just silly. There still are plenty of students who pass at testing centers around the world every day. This myth tends to get propagated by those who have tried and failed the lab exam and have given up their pursuit of CCIE certification. The old saying “misery loves company" comes to mind here.

Make no mistake, though, passing the CCIE requires a lot of work. You’ve got to create a study plan, establish a training routine, and identify strong test-taking strategies, all while effectively managing your time.

Myth 2: CCIEs have no value anymore

This is another silly argument. Sure, there are many CCIE-certified IT professionals out there, but that doesn’t diminish the value of the certification, in fact, it has increased! Consider roles that earning a CCIE Routing and Switching certification can qualify you for: senior network engineer, network engineer, network architect, solutions architect, senior systems engineer, and IT manager. Notice the words “senior” and “manager” in those titles?

Another indicator that earning a CCIE is valued in the IT industry is the salaries that CCIE-certified IT professionals command in the market. According to, an employee who holds a CCIE Routing and Switching cert can earn between $60,048 and $168,860 annually, depending on his/her experience.

Myth 3: You have to do X, Y, or Z to pass

There is no one-size-fits-all approach for CCIE lab exam preparation and success. You should beware of those who indicate there is a single, best approach required for passing the exam.  Everyone learns differently. Some students may prefer using textbooks; others use video training, or a combination of both textbooks and video. It’s really up to each student to determine what learning style and training approach fits him/her best.

Pro tip: It’s strongly recommended that all learners studying for CCIE certification get as much hands-on experience as possible. So don’t be afraid to lab it up, or use a networking emulation platform such as Cisco VIRL.

(Listen to Anthony Sequeira debunk CCIE myths in the webinar below)


Myth 4: Exam proctors are evil

This is another myth probably spread by people who have failed this exam. Seriously though, proctors are there to help test takers, whether it’s in the event of an equipment failure or to prevent cheating on the exam. Nobody likes a cheater and they can undermine the entire spirit of the certification process.

Myth 5: You have no life if you pursue the CCIE

Sure, for the average candidate, between 500 to 700 hours of hands-on practice is required to have a strong chance at passing the exam, but there’s nothing stopping you from scheduling those hours around work, friends, and family. Creating a schedule that works for you is critical, and it should include time to reward yourself for accomplishing training goals, such as a movie break or trip to the ice cream parlor.

Earning CCIE certification can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be daunting or scary. Hopefully, I’ve cleared up several misconceptions surrounding the CCIE. If you are thinking about pursuing the certification soon, don't get sidetracked by the abundance of myths surrounding it..

Anthony Sequeira began his IT career in 1984 with IBM, and joined CBT Nuggets in 2012. His areas of expertise include Cisco networking, security, and data center, as well as various Microsoft technologies. He holds CCIE R&S, CCNP Security, CCNA Wireless, CCNA Voice, DCUCD-I, VCP certifications.