The expert-level certification is the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). It is the highest level of professional certification that Cisco provides. There are 5 active CCIE tracks. Cisco began its CCIE program in 1993 originally with a two day lab, later changing it to the one day format used today. Less than 3% of Cisco certified individuals attain CCIE certification, and on average will spend thousands of dollars and 18 months studying before passing. The Service Provider track focuses on networking in the service provider industry. Subjects include Optical networks, Digital Subscriber Line DSL, WAN switching, Voice over IP, Content Networking, Broadband Cable and Metro Ethernet. It is an expert level knowledge program which certifies that one has got the potential and the ability to design, implement, configure, maintain and troubleshoot any kind of network related problem in nearly every type of networking.
There are no formal prerequisites for CCIE certification. Other professional certifications or training courses are not required. As this is an expert-level certification, the knowledge required completing the prequalification exam and the lab exam is vast and extensive. You will be expected to know just about everything and, as this is the service provider specialization, especially everything in relation to Cisco related service providing networks. It is very easy to take CCIE service provider exam as it doesn’t want any pre qualification but it does want some three to five years experience of job in internet service providing field.
There are two types of exams. One is a written exam and the other is a practical laboratory test. There is a must pass the two-hour, written qualification exam covering concepts and equipment commands related to packet-based networking infrastructure. After passing this exam you become eligible for the laboratory test which is an eight hour practical hand on test. It should be passed within the three years of passing the written test otherwise you will have to pas the written exam again.
The written exam is required to take the lab exam, and has a cost of $300 USD per attempt. The CCIE Lab is currently $1,250 USD per attempt and are offered only at ten Cisco lab exam locations worldwide. In addition, according to a survey by Cisco the average cost to prepare for CCIE certification is $9,050 as of April 2008, spent mostly on practice equipment and self study material.
It gives you expert level knowledge and experience in designing the internet service providing networks. Cisco CCIE Service Provider certifies expert-level knowledge and skill for building an extensible Service Provider infrastructure to deliver rich managed services.
CCIE Security certifications are valid for two years. After that you will have to clear the written exam within a year of your certification.