How Hard Is The CCIE: What It Takes?

ccie lab difficulty

How Hard Is The CCIE: What It Takes?

The CCIE lab exam is considered one of the most difficult and time-consuming certifications in the IT industry. Many people spend more than 1,000 hours studying along with a small fortune to pass this exam. So, what does it take to get this certification? 

The CCIE is a technical certification that puts you among the top distinguishing internetworking experts all over the world. The exam includes a rigorous written exam and a lab exam based on performance. It takes long studying hours and a lot of lab practicing to pass the exam. 

In this article, I will discuss the CCIE certification and what it takes to obtain it. Since it is considered one of the most difficult examinations, it generally takes a lot of study hours, and people who have taken it have made a lot of sacrifices.  

How Long It Takes For The CCIE?

People who have taken the CCIE examination have spent countless hours studying and preparing for the exam, and it has taken most of their time. That means that in time of their preparation, everything else has been put aside. 

Before starting the preparations, most people want to know how long the process will take from the very beginning until the end. Since this is a quite rigorous exam, one would like to know what to expect and to be able to plan the whole CCIE journey. Planning and setting the goal is essential because it contributes to the motivation and the determination to achieve it. 

Being prepared for everything that comes along the process gives you the ability to take it all in. As I mentioned, this is one of the most difficult exams in the IT industry, and to pass it, you will need strong will and determination. Therefore, setting the goal plays a crucial part in the progress. 

So, to be able to achieve the goal, you will need to divide the progress into smaller bits. In other words, you will have to break the whole project into smaller phases, so you can have a successful completion. Therefore, these are the phases of the CCIE journey: 

  1. Phase 1: Consider everything that is involved in the CCIE process. You should determine the exact timing for every little thing that you would have to do. For some, it may take months, while for others, years. 
  2. Phase 2: Set the goal and commit yourself to it. 
  3. Phase 3: Study, prepare, and take the written part of the exam. For this, you would need approximately 6 to 18 months. 
  4. Phase 4: Practice for the first lab exam. Approximately, you would need 9 to 15 months. 
  5. Phase 5: Take the lab exam. 
  6. Phase 6: Repeat the fifth phase. It usually takes more than one attempt to pass the lab examination. 

Sacrifices To Get The CCIE 

Since the preparation period will take a lot of your time, you need to be prepared to temporarily give up most of the things you do on a daily basis. You should expect that the preparation for this certification will change the pace of your life, and you will definitely need to sacrifice a lot of things. 

Firstly, you should expect to sleep less, i.e., wake up early and go to bed late. Also, you need to be prepared that your weekends will no longer be your free time, but your study time. If you have a family, you need to know that you will spend less time with them. 

Furthermore, you should expect to spend your lunch and work breaks studying. This is a period that does not allow personal time at all. You take all of your free time and use it for studying and practicing. 

Reddit Anecdote 

A person on Reddit has shared his experience, explaining how much it took for him to pass the exam and what he had to sacrifice. 

Apparently, it took him about ten months to take and pass the exam, with taking the lab exam twice. The studying took all of his time, and he had to spend much less time with his family. However, his motivation was to get it over with and get back to his normal life as soon as possible. 

According to him, the CCIE exam is pretty difficult because it requires knowledge of a vast number of things. You have to be familiar with different technologies, you have to implement everything quickly and correctly, and you need to make everything work together in an excellent manner. His opinion is that the exam is possible, but it takes a lot of hard work, and maybe few attempts. 

His answer to the question about the worth of the exam is that it was partly worth it. It took a lot of his time, and he missed a lot of family happening during that period. However, he got a “thick” raise; therefore, he could not argue that the exam is a waste of time. 

Is The CCIE Worth It? 

It is a fact that the CCIE takes a lot of your time, as well as money. Some people have to spend a huge amount of bucks until they get the certification. For those who need more than one attempt for the lab exam, the cost is even higher. 

However, once you obtain your certification, you are included in the top distinguishing internetworking experts, and more importantly, you get a higher level of knowledge and skills by the end of it. You do not only get a certification, but also deep knowledge, experience and the excellent feeling of achievement and pride. 

Besides that, CCIE can take your career to a higher level. Once you get certified, you belong to the group of prestigious experts. Therefore, job promotions and similar propositions are bound to happen. In other words, it can be said that the hard work is definitely worth it. 

It is well known that CCIE is one of the most difficult examinations in the IT industry, and that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to pass it. However, once you obtain it, a lot of new opportunities will come in your way. So, it is worth the risk.  

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