Its official....the CCIE is dead.
Everyone knows that the CCIE is a grueling and difficult certification to pass. The certification consists of a $350 written test and a super expensive (and difficult) practical exam at one of Cisco's handful of test locations around the world. To make matters worse, the average candidate takes more than one attempt at the lab before they see a "PASS" score.
The VMware Certified Professional (VCP) is the hottest certification in the IT industry right now. The technology world has only begun to scratch the surface of what virtualization has to offer. Cloud computing and virtual desktops are the hottest themes in the data center today. The VCP requires the candidate to attend a week long hands on class in order to sit for the exam. There is no such thing as a paper VCP because the class requires each student to have actual experience installing, configuring, and optimizing a VMware environment.
In the 1990s, the CCIE was the road to riches and fame. There was only a single CCIE track and being a CCIE meant that you knew everything about Cisco's product line. The few who passed the exam were truly the best of the best and many went on to have great impacts still seen on the industry today. Being a CCIE was very coveted by the networking industry because it was assurance that the individual really understood the protocols (and in some cases even wrote the protocol). Networking, back then, was still a growth field and things looked great for the Cisco certified engineer.
Flash forward to 2011. Cisco is still around, but is no longer in a growth market. The data center has become king and every company is finding a way to tie their product offering into this new growth market. Cisco is clawing and scratching to gain entry into this market with their Unified Computing platform (UCS). Cisco is finding stiff competition in this new market and inroads are few and in between.
VMware has revolutionized how IT managers view the resources in their possession. A new breed of engineer is needed to man this data center. Engineers that are deeply skilled in servers, storage, and networking. Thus, Vmware released the VMware Certified Professional. This certification requires classroom training which puts an end to the "paper" cert. The data center is no longer a collection of Windows and Linux servers, but has become something bigger - a collection of resources which we can utilize efficiently in whatever manner we see fit.
GROWTH ADVANTAGE: VMWARE
VMware is as important to the data center today as Cisco was to networking in the 90s. The VMware Certified Professional (VCP) is instrumental in building the data centers of tomorrow. The knowledge required to become a VCP is nothing to sneeze at. It requires the individual to know and understand servers, storage, and networking.
At last count, there were only 53,000 VCPs in the world (2010). Conversely, there are only ??,??? number of CCIEs in the world. Cisco removed the link showing the actual number of certified CCIEs about a year ago as there was no VALUE any longer in showing the number. A CCIE today is not in an "exclusive" club, but rather a "popular" club similar to Microsoft's MCSE.
The truth is that there are too many CCIEs for any one to call it an "exclusive" club. Today, the CCIE is like earning your wings in the military or passing your bar exam. It will get you the interview and it may be your FIRST job in networking. No more does the CCIE mean that you are bringing years of hard experience to the table.
CREDIBILITY ADVANTAGE: TIE
How about salaries? CCIE salaries have been stagnant since the 1990s. Today the average CCIE commands a salary of $108,000.
In 2001, CCIEs commanded higher salaries between $112,000 and $124,000. Why the decline in salary? Are these CCIEs not getting pay raises? I think the answer is that Cisco skills have become a commodity in the marketplace today.
While a relatively new certification, the VCP commands a very respectable average of $102,000 for its holders.
SALARY ADVANTAGE: CCIE (arguable if you remove channel partners from the equation, though)
It is not fair to compare the VCP against the CCIE in terms of career prospects and return on investment if we don't consider the cost of obtaining the certification. The VCP requires the student to take a $2995 five day class from an authorized VMware training partner and then to pass a $175 test. The typical VCP candidate will spend 100-200 hours outside of the class room preparing for the VCP test. The CCIE, on the other hand, requires the candidate to take and pass a $350 written multiple choice"trivia" test then to take a grueling one day lab at a cost of $1400 per attempt (where few candidates pass on the first attempt). The typical CCIE candidate spends 500 hours preparing for the lab exam.
COST ADVANTAGE: VMWARE
Considering all the above criteria, it is quite obvious that the VCP is the better certification to pursue today. VCP holders make nearly as much money as CCIEs (and, who knows, in a couple years they may actually make more). In my opinion, the ONLY thing holding CCIE salaries above $100,000 are the Cisco channel partners. For most organizations, a router or switch is simply a device that sits in a closet collecting dust next to the retired Novell system. There is a reason why there are more systems engineers than network engineers. Virtualization experts are required to know server systems, storage arrays, and (yes) even network knowledge to about the CCNP level. Is it no wonder then that VCPs should be considered more valuable than CCIEs in 99% of all companies (again, I am discounting the channel partners who are the only ones paying six digits to CCIEs)?
My grand daddy once told me that it is better to work smarter than it is to work harder. In that same regard, the VCP proves the smarter choice for the IT worker today.
VCP vs CCIE FINAL WINNER: VMWARE
Welcome to the community.
Interesting analysys, but IMHO you cannot compare VCP with CCIE...
Maybe VCAP or better VCDX certificat can be compared with CCIE.
I still don't think you can compare VCAP and CCIE. They are completly different certications in different fields.
CCIE is still a great certification if you work with Cisco equipment and the VCAP/VCP is great if you work with VMWare software.
I can't imagine a network engineer changing career because VMWare exams are slightly cheaper.
Definitely apples to oranages. While I agree that Virtualization Engineers are required to know Systems, Networking and Storage the level of networking knowledge required out of a VCP is absoutlely nowhere close to CCNA level of knowledge, let alone a CCIE.
The UCS certification path is great as it requires a VCP, a cisco storage networking test and something else (can't remember off the top of my head)
While a relatively new certification, the VCP commands a very respectable average of $102,000 for its holders.
I don't know where the people at indeed.com are getting their information but there is no one out there with just a VCP certification who makes anywhere near $102,000 per year unless the are selling drugs on the side.
Sure you might find people who are VCP certified that are making six figures but the salary is coming from their experience. These people are seasonsed veterans within the IT industry who specialize in security, storage, or networking and decided to certify as VCP in enhance their client offerings.
If I'm wrong, I would love to see the resume of a VCP who has nothing else and brings in $102,000 per year.
I wish there were jobs in Scotland just requiring a VCP, it would encourage me to fork out for the official training !
By the way I have MCSE, CNE and CCNA but still not seeing a reason for me to attain the VCP yet, even though I want to.
I thought the CCIE Lab required a candidate to:
Build a network to Cisco's design which is then tested.
The examiner 'breaks' the network in various ways and you have to fix it.
If this is still the case then how can it really be compared to a VCP?
Its true that the CCIE lab has changed over the years. It is now only a one day exam for starters. In the new CCIE exam, the examiners no longer breaks the network like they did back in the old days.
It is hard to compare the two certifications as the testing methods employed are completely different. I will say that I worked about as hard for my VCP as I did for CCIE, though. They are completely different exams in about every perspective.
Oh - I should also mention that every CCIE that I know is also Vmware certified. It is difficult to maintain credibility talking about network technologies if you aren't at least familiar with what Vmware is doing in the data center.
It isn't fair to compare VCP vs CCIE.
The best comparison may be VCDX vs CCIE
I could easily dispute most of these facts.
This very forum is full of statements like "I'm trying to build a lab for my VCP so I can get my first virtualization job". I don't believe for a second there are CCIE's out there applying for their first networking job.
I would say this is very uninformed to say the least. CCIE and any VMWare cert........there is no comparison. CCIE is a much more prestigious Certification and calls for much higher pay than a Vmware certifcation alone.
That said, VmWare experience and certs is a great certification and if you have network and SAN switching experience along with Vmware, then you are a hot commodity.
This is coming from a person with Cisco Certs and a VCP.
Joshua Engels wrote:
CCIE > Vmware Certs by a long shot.
I agree that the VCP is no where near as prestigious as the CCIE but to say "CCIE > VMware Certs by a long short" is not entirely true either. If you're going to compare apples to apples than lets compare the CCNA to the VCP and the CCIE to the VCDX. IN doing so I think you'll find that these certs are pretty equal depending on where you're employed.
How can you Compare the CCIE with a VCP, the VCP is more comprable with the CCNA, the vCAP's equate to the CCNP or CCDP.
CCIE today = CNE of 1990s.
It is an ancient certification and reflects skills no longer applicable to the modern data center. Nicira and other SDN solutions will finally enable virtualization architects the ability to work around limitations created by old hierarchical networking designs. The CCIE is no longer a relevant certification to the data center of the future.
I am sure that Cisco will evolve the Certification to effect that.
With all due respect to everyone as each is intitled to their opinion:
This will be my last post on the subject as I must believe that those that would argue that CCIE is a cert for the 90's.....even in the data center are joking or completley uninformed and inexperienced. It's not like networking is going away. On the contrary......its becoming much more complex.
CCIE R/S, Voice, Security, Wireless, and so on are much more difficult to attain and cover a MUCH broader AND deeper area. VMWare is a small little island when it comes to technial know how and is much easier to master than it would be to master any of the Cisco tracks. I am currently working on a UCS project deploying VMWare on it. The UCS portion, particularly the options with networking and vhba (converting FCoE to FC) etc is much more involved than the vmware side. I just got off of a UC Voice Project and again,... We are talking apples and oranges when we are comparing the depth that the Cisco world of networking/Voice/wireless/security requires compared to the depth of understanding that vmware requires.
Again, VMware is the bomb and is a hot commodity but I could train someone how to implement vmware within a few of months. The Cisco World ...... a few years.
All that said: VMWare is an unbelievable product suite which I dearly love but their certs are not on the same level. I would put VMware certs in the same ball park as microsoft as far as difficulty. As far as value, VMware is in higher demand because it is new but also because it is also something that not everyone has access to.
Again, all due respect to everyone here.