Cisco Switzerland Technology Blog

CCIE Emeritus for free! How? And why?

Thursday, 26 March 2020

I have to admit, I did not expect that to happen! I didn’t even know, that this would be possible. Today I got an email informing me that I have qualified for Lifetime CCIE Emeritus Status … and that for free!
Sounds great, but I have to be honest with you – my first thought was “Is this a phishing attack?”

First of all, I haven’t done anything to request emeritus status. I have not requested it nor did I even think about requesting it. And I do not remember having done something on CCIE related tools in the last days.
Second, I know that Cisco IT is regularly testing us as employees. They are sending out emails that should persuade us to click on a link, so they can teach us how to better care about email security.

However, carefully examining the email a second time was showing that it was most likely genuine email from Cisco. Actually, by reading it more carefully I actually also found the reason why I qualified. I just today passed the 20 years mark of active CCIE Status. This is giving me access to this option.


What is following here, is a quite personal view on the CCIE program.


The CCIE 20 Years ago was not the same as it is today.

This I hear quite often – and honestly, very often it is meant in a negative way. But I do not agree to this sentiment!
Yes, today there are ten-thousands of CCIEs while my CCIE number is 5724 – so there were only around 4000 active CCIEs around the globe at that time. But I still have the deepest respect for everyone that achieves this certification. It’s still a pretty exclusive group of individuals, all being experts, that are able to achieve it.

And also yes, the certification has changed quite a bit since my exam 20 years ago. My lab-certification was still a two day event, today is only one day. But, no matter if you did your exam in the past or now, you have to know your stuff or your will not make it.

So, yes  – indeed CCIE is not the same anymore but I completely disagree with everyone that says it is worth less now than then.


But what is a CCIE, what is my CCIE still worth in today’s world?

My CCIE is still a “CCIE ISP Dial” – already the first time I had to do the re-certification it didn’t exist anymore. Many technologies that I had been tested on are simply not used anymore. Or when did you use the last time a Dial-Up-Internet-Connection?
So, what is my CCIE worth nowadays? Is it still worth anything?

If I would be working for a Cisco Partner, the answer would be very obviously a “Yes”. Simply because Partners need a certain amount of CCIEs to keep their Partner Status. In this case, the focus maybe is not on the “ISP Dial”, but simply on “CCIE”!

However, I’m working for Cisco as PreSales Engineer, to be more precise I’m working for Cisco Meraki nowadays. Traditionally a CCIE is more like the troubleshooter for Cisco OnPrem equipment and how you apply this to Meraki gear is another story.

So the question is still unanswered: “Is the CCIE still worth something for me?”

To answer this question I have to admit that my CCIE is a very solid base for all new things I learn. We might not use the same technologies anymore in our world today, but many of the concepts still are the same. My CCIE is even today helping me understanding technology, especially also new technology. But the key point to answer my question to me is the requirement for continued re-certification.

I want to be honest here – on one hand I really don’t like it at all!
It’s something I have to do beside my normal duties, which means it’s causing long nights of learning new stuff (and sometimes re-learning stuff I did know already in the past). It is also a quite costly exercise, the Drake-Tests are not cheap and you cannot be sure if one attempt will be enough. And finally it is forced onto me, no matter if it fits my agenda or the plans I made. And it has a deadline, I know of Ex-CCIEs that simply missed the deadline and got decertified. It really can be (sorry the wording) a “pain in the ass”.

On the other side, I have to admit that I also like the re-certification requirement.
No, I’m not schizophrenic – what I like is that the CCIE program forces me to continually invest into my education and keeping up-to-date with the technology we use today. If I would ever stop learning, it would become very hard, if not impossible, to re-certify again.
And sometimes I indeed have to repeat things I did know before and it’s good that I have to relearn some things. And in our industry it’s also obvious that I have to very regularly learn new things. Both is keeping my brain alive. And this helps me also in my presales role!

So, after reading the email multiple times my final thoughts were:
“Naa! I probably go normal for the next re-certification cycle!”


You’re thinking about becoming a CCIE?

Some readers are might already CCIE or some might already decided to not go for it. However, some of you might still thinking about going for a CCIE Certification.

I really would like to encourage you to really go for it!
– Yes, it will be a tough journey
– Yes, it will be hard at times
– Yes, there will be times you will regret this decision

– But yes, you will benefit from it for the coming decades!



I would like to encourage all readers to comment below, what you think about the CCIE program in todays world!
Why did you do it? Why did you not do it? Do you have plans?

Leave a comment


  1. Well done mate. I will also qualify as of Oct 2020 since it will be my 20 yrs too. My CCIE was in WAN Switching which was a big deal at the time. Now nobody remembers ATM or Frame Relay. But you’re right in saying that these things are indicative of the learning potential that’s in us and remains in us to continue learning.

    I reckon I could still configure a StrataCom ATM switch today even though I have not touched one in over 12 years. Lest we forget … 🙂

    • Seppi Dittli

      Hi Arne
      Great to hear from you – and the WAN Switching CCIE was tough one.
      Already now congratulations for your upcoming 20 years as well.

  2. Sali Seppi, indeed a long time ago. I still remember when we both saw each other on the Campus in Muttenz when we learned to become dipl. el. Ing. HTL then became FH and nowadays simply Bachelor. I also remember me learning for the CCIE right after you in the second Bootcamp hold across Europe. It was one of the best time I had i learned a lot and even that i have missed the CCIE lab on dam ACS miss configuration, the only thing I regret is to not have tried it a second time. I did many other certifications but none of them brought me anywhere there is no recognition like CCIE is. But i need to admit that it is not only the learning for a Certification it is more to also have a great community to discuss and solve issues and so I am lucky to have friends which are not only CCIE from the first hour no I count them as being some of the best in the world. To round it up it is a couple of puzzle pieces which makes the final picture. A picture which is never finished for people like us always keen to learn something knew and willing to take another challenge.
    Congrats Seppi on your achievement and stay save.

    • Seppi Dittli

      Thanks a lot, Ray

  3. 20 Years is Awesome, Seppi. And I agree it is still worth it

    • Seppi Dittli

      Thanks Mary

  4. Congratulations Seppi, great to work with you and learning from you! Thanks

    • Seppi Dittli

      Thanks for your comment, Michael

  5. Well done Seppi!! Amazing

    • Seppi Dittli


  6. What an awesome achievement, huge congratulations Seppi!

    • Seppi Dittli

      Thanks you Paul