CCIE Emeritus

Terry Slattery
Principal Architect

Cisco announced the CCIE Emeritus program on June 21, 2010. It is a program that has been requested and discussed a number of times at the CCIE NetVet luncheon/reception with John Chambers for several years. Many of the more senior members of the CCIE community have been moving into jobs that are less about hands-on network operations and more about project management, running companies, and designing networks. An active CCIE must recertify every two years by passing the CCIE qualification written exam (the CCDE written also qualifies). A number of people who wanted to stay associated with the program and didn’t have the time in their lives to stay current with the CCIE/CCDE topics have been asking about a program to ‘grandfather’ them so that they no longer had to take recertification exams.

The proponents of not having to recertify were asking that after some number of years, typically ten, that Cisco would grandfather them into the CCIE program and waive future recertification requirements. My view was that I thought that it would weaken the program. However, I thought it useful to keep senior people associated with the program, but differentiate them somehow. At the CCIE NetVet luncheons, when the topic would come up, I would voice my opposition to a grandfathering program for this very reason. (see CCIE Flyer article “CCIE Grandfathering?“)

At these sessions, I have voiced support for a program in which a senior CCIE could opt to exit the program, yet retain the right to use the title as a demonstration of prior expertise. My example was how military Admirals and Generals get to retain their titles, with the suffix of “Retired” (e.g., Admiral John Doe, Retired). It should only be available to candidates who spent time in the program (ten years was often mentioned by proponents) and demonstrates that the person has the smarts and will-power to successfully accomplish significant projects. In the CCIE Emeritus program, members will use the title “Emeritus” after their CCIE number, e.g., John Doe, CCIE #1000, Emeritus. This lets future employers and associates know that the person has successfully participated in one of the toughest technical programs in the industry. It’s like putting your certification into a state of suspended animation.

The Emeritus program has some interesting requirements:

  • Ten years of active status as a CCIE and currently still active. Many people drop out of the program at seven years, so this requirement identifies individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to the program.
  • An annual $85 fee, which provides a basic hurdle to guarantee that the candidate is genuinely interested in staying in the program. Cisco obviously doesn’t make money on this fee and it is low enough that individuals can pay it if their employer refuses. The benefit to the employer is that the person could re-enter the CCIE program without having to take the lab test.
  • Demonstrate that the candidate is continuing to work in the industry in some fashion and give back to the community. This could be in the way of teaching, blogging, writing articles, mentoring, or running network projects. There is an annual application in which the candidate documents past activity.
  • The candidate cannot be counted in a Cisco Partner’s status and won’t have TAC privileges or preference. This should not be a problem because the person should not be doing hands-on network tasks.
  • The candidate can re-enter active status by taking any of the written tests that are suitable for CCIE recertification. There is currently a limitation of ten years on being able to become active again. I wouldn’t be concerned about this limitation right now. If you maintain a very active role in the community, you may make a very good case for extending the Emeritus program. I would start discussing it after about six years in the Emeritus program.

Will I join the program? Not yet. I just recertified by passing the CCDE written qualification exam. August 2010 is my 17 year anniversary. Why not pass the recertification again and make it to 20 years?



Re-posted with Permission 

NetCraftsmen would like to acknowledge Infoblox for their permission to re-post this article which originally appeared in the Applied Infrastructure blog under


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