CCIE Test and Numbering

Terry Slattery
Principal Architect

A lot of people have misconceptions about the CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) program and its numbering. I was consulting at Cisco in 1993 when I first heard about the program and inquired about participating. Brad Wright was the program manager and he knew what I had been doing with Cisco (CLI development, consulting, and training) and told me what I needed to do. I quickly re-worked my schedule and took the written qualification test, attended the Cisco Troubleshooting class, and setup a time for the hands-on test, all within two weeks.

In those days, the hands-on test was two days. One day of build-it and one day of fix-it after they break it. Stuart Biggs, one of the senior Customer Engineers at Cisco, assembled the lab gear and wrote up the test. The network gear was AGS, AGS+, and MGS routers. Cisco didn’t have switches at that time. I kept Stuart running around getting documentation, appliques (for the AGS gear), cables, and other things. I don’t know which of the two of us was busier.

Regarding the numbering, the folks at Cisco didn’t want to start with the number ‘1’.  So they decided to start with 1024, (2 ** 10), a common binary number.  The lab was assigned the first number, 1024, and they placed a plaque with that number on the door (someone told me that the plaque has been kept and moved to one of the new test labs). Stuart was awarded the first real number, CCIE # 1025, because he created the test. I passed the hands-on test, designing and building the network in one day, then fixing the things he broke in just over half a day. I was awarded the next number, CCIE # 1026, in August, 1993, the first non-Cisco person to achieve the CCIE and the first to take the test. A bunch of Cisco employees soon followed and many of them are still working at Cisco. Something like five of the first ten CCIEs work in the same building at Cisco.

Occasionally, someone will tell me that they met a CCIE who has a number lower than either Stuart’s or mine and I just laugh. There’s a Cisco web page where you can check the status of CCIEs. You have to know their CCIE registration name. It is a good thing to check when interviewing CCIEs.



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


Leave a Reply