Recently Cisco announced their Continuing Education Program which allows someone with an existing CCIE certification to recertify using credits they receive from training classes and Cisco Live sessions. I recently took advantage of this program. This article details my experience with the program.
Getting started for me was a little difficult. My CCIE and my CSCO ID were somehow disconnected so when I would try to register on the CE Web site it would tell me that it couldn’t find an active certification. I confirmed on my side that everything lined up. Pearson VUE had the correct CSCO ID and so did my Cisco Login, but I just couldn’t see where things were screwed up. I ended up having to put in a support case to clear the issue up. If you ever run into an issue like this you’ll need to submit a ticket in the Cisco Certification & Communities Online Support System. Some time back there was a migration that took place. I had to do it a second time. Here are the steps that you’d have to take to migrate your CCO account:
- Log in to www.cisco.com.
- Click Training & Events.
- Click Certification Tracking System located below Popular Links at the upper right part of the page.
- Click Login with Cisco.com ID link.
- On the account migration page, under “I am a new candidate and I have not logged in before.”, enter your CSCO ID. Make sure to include the letters CSCO, then copy and paste your authorization code.
- Click Submit.
In my case Cisco had to send me a new authorization code.
Once everything was in order there I was able to log into the CE Web Site.
Once Logged In
Once you’re logged in you can see a simple chart that tells you how many credits you need, how many are pending, and how many have been approved. At the top you can see a menu that allows you to view an Item Catalog and Submit Items. The Item Catalog is a good place to see how many credits each course is worth.
For example, I created a filter to show me Security Items delivered directly by Cisco Learning Services. As you can see the Cisco Aggregation Services Router 9000 Series Essentials (ASRQKE) 1 course is worth 40 points. This classroom based training is offered by Cisco Systems Advanced Services as well as FAST LANE RCIS (Russia) and lists at $4,500.00. I want to point this out because I’ve heard a lot of people talk about gaming the system. So far there’s a decent cost involved in acquiring 40 credits, but you can also obtain credits by attending Cisco Live Sessions and those credits vary. Alternatively you can score 50 credits for Designing and Implementing Cisco Network Programmability (NPDESI) 1.0, which is a direct delivery from Cisco for $750.00. At any rate, my point here is that if you’re trying to maximize credits earned vs cost you’ll need to be selective and spend some time in the catalog. However if you are doing what the program intends, and learning new technologies that help you in your current role, you’ll earn recertification while adding to your skillset with no problem.
Taking a Class and Submitting a Request for Credits
For my recertification I took three 1-week training courses with Nterone, a Cisco Learning Partner. Specifically I took Administering Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise Part 2 (AUCCE2) 2.0, Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks (SWITCH) 2.0, and Implementing Cisco Edge Network Security Solutions (SENSS) 1.0. For each class I registered for I received a digital Cisco course kit, and that’s the most important part of the recertification. If you attempt to submit for credits but Cisco can’t verify that you redeemed the course kit you can’t submit the request. So the process should be the following:
- Enroll for the class
- Receive instructions to redeem your course kit
- Redeem your course kit
- Take the class
- Submit for credits after taking the class
The reason I point this out is because the first course I took I did not redeem my course kit right away because I already had an instructor kit for the course. You must redeem the student kit to submit for credits.
To submit the credits simply search for the class you took, select the appropriate information, and submit.
The Waiting Period
Once you submit your credits you get a message from Cisco that explains that the learning partner must approve the request. This is another layer of verification and it makes sense. If the learning partner has no record of you as a student, you didn’t take the class.
At this point you simply wait for the learning partner to do their thing. Once that’s happened you get the following email:
Once you’ve obtained enough credits you can redeem them for your certification renewal.
To redeem your credits you do so at the bottom of your dashboard. There will be a redeem button that you select. Clicking redeem takes that chunk of credits off the wheel on the dashboard. Once you’ve redeemed enough credits you submit payment. The fee to recertify using CE credits is $300.00. Upon redeeming and submitting payment you get a series of emails. One email confirms that your credits have been redeemed, one confirms that you paid, and the other is from my Amex showing the recent charge (You may or may not get an email from your credit card company.)
At this point you wait again. A few days later I received the following email, this time from the CCIE program:
Overall the process was pretty straight forward, but there were a few snags along the way. The learning partner had to figure out how to approve credits, but in time this won’t be an issue as more CCIE’s opt for this methods of recertification. I’m pleased that this new process is in place and plan to use it in the future. I’m sure the process may vary a bit if delivery were done solely though Cisco rather than through a learning partner, but that should not make much of a difference other than waiting time for verification. Last year at Cisco Live this program was requested in a room full of NetVets with Chuck Robbins. In a one year period Cisco delivered. Sure this may have been in the works in the days of John Chambers, but it happened on Chucks watch and I’m glad it did.
Are you planning on using CE credits to recert? Share your thoughts below.