AHA Projects, Certifications

AHA – Cisco Re-Certification Journey

I’m sure you remembered a posting I did titled: ‘Probably the easiest way to NOT to lose you’re CCIE! I’m giving it a try.’,right?

Well, I started that journey few months back.  The first thing I needed to do was to determine which courses I wanted to take to fulfill the re-certification requirement; but more importantly, how I wanted the course content to be delivered.

After logging onto the Cisco Continued Education Program Portal and selecting the ‘Item Catalog’ from the menu pane there were several options on content delivery:

Cisco Live Training would have been great…BUT, unfortunately – I wasn’t able to attend [go figure].  Now the ‘Activity’ item was interesting. It shows Cisco Live and Authoring.

Authoring caught my attention, however, I have to submit 10-19 items to earn 10 credits.  Sounds good, but for the timeframe I have right now, this option isn’t viable.

Then we have instructor led.  I’m a huge advocate of instructor led, especially in person, as it gives you the opportunity to interact with the instructor (as well as your classmates), ask questions and learn from others experiences – which is valuable in my opinion [distance learning doesn’t offer that]…Again this wasn’t a viable options as traveling for training is kind of limited and I couldn’t leave my projects stalled.

So the last options is digital learning: self-paced training, didn’t have to travel. I can work on my projects during the day, in the evening & weekends (sigh) to study. Just log in and go.  Great, this will work!

Ok, I got the delivery method – what course should I take? By looking at my certification detail:

I need 100 Cisco Education Credits to complete the re-certification process. Back to the item catalog, I selected Cisco Digital Learning, then search:

Seven [7] pages of online courses can be parsed in order to fulfill the requirement:

If you look – each course is credited differently.  Some are single digit, some are low, mid, & high double digit credit! So I have to choose wisely. Some examples are:

The maximum credit offered per course is 50, so depending on where you ‘are’ in your re-certification journey – this is an excellent option. All in all; you have about 70 digital training course to choose from…

BUT, to me, there’s one caveat – Make sure to choose a course or courses that has relevance to you and your educational needs. I’ll leave it as that!


Now for me – I wanted to expand my knowledge on the programming front, cloud and SDN – Software Defined Networking. So I took:

As you can see the credits total over 100 [104], so I’m good to go!

I didn’t purchase all courses at once – I staggered them based on availability in the evenings and weekends [yes – I know…no life once again, lol].

I started with Programming for Network Engineers, then Designing and Implementing Cisco Network Programmability, and ended with Understanding Cisco Cloud Fundamentals. A great thing about the digital course is you own them for a year. Which is great if you want to review the topic and redo the labs (if any) to gain more understanding.

I had fun taking these courses, go figure.  Taking Programming for Network Engineers (PRNE) first introduced me to python and led me into Designing and Implementing Cisco Network Programmability (NPDESI).

NPDESI was a beast in that it had 26 sections to go through…and lab assessments!  I spent nights up till 2am going through the material. The content was what I expected and a bit more…

Understanding Cisco Cloud Fundamentals was interesting.  It gave insight to cloud basics and the fundamental components & solutions that make up cloud. I went through topics such as ACI, Openstack, Nexus 1000v, Prime Infrastructure, deploy an ASA 1000v Cloud firewall, and more.

Section Challenges

At the end of each section, there is a challenge which tests what you have learned. The number of questions vary. Some sections may have 7 questions, others may have 11.

Even some sections include a lab that must be done correctly in order to pass the section; so pay careful attention.

Don’t worry if you get stomped on the questions or labs – there are answers keys to assist.

Note: Some questions, however, where not based on the text/video presented, so I had to do some ancillary work outside the course to answer those.  Which wasn’t too bad.

Some sections I got silver or bronze, but retook them and scored GOLD! Bronze and Silver doesn’t go so well on my mantle. Hahahaha.

Certificate of Completion

After passing each section of a course, I was presented with a certificate of completion:

I can print it out or save as pdf, etc.  This is needed when you’re submitting proof of completion.

Submitting Course

After completing the course, you need to submit the course. You’ll have to go back to Cisco’s Continued Education Website (given above) and select ‘submit items’.

Fill out the require content and here is where your saved certification of completion come in to vary you took the course.  Check off the T&Cs and submit… You’ll get an email stating your submitted item was received and will be processed in 5 business days.  But in some cases, I got it processed in as little as one day.

Once processed my dashboard detail now look like this:

And my  Summary may look like:

If I scroll down can see the courses completed under ‘my items’

Re-certification Completion

Once I’ve completed all the requirements to obtain 100 Credits (in my case it was 104) and see all the items under ‘my items’, I’m able to submit credits under Certification Detail

Once I click Submit Credits this screen appears:

One more step – click ‘pay now’ to fill out the appropriate information and pay the $300 re-certification fee.  Yeah, I don’t have a screenshot for that. 🙂

After payment is submitted, the Certification Detail now shows processing:

A few hours later I received an email and this is what is said:

Yes! My CCIE [x2] recertification have been completed and now I can sleep for a few months before I have to begin the process again…

My thoughts

I think for busy professionals, such as myself – who have fulfill the CCIE level certification obligation by passing the written/lab; taking a re-certification exam may not be the ‘best’ option at times.  Studying for hours at a time just to come up short by a question or two can cause frustration and animosity. I understand if I’m re-certification in another track that will lead me to taking that track’s CCIE lab, I’m all for taking the written. But if the dynamics, as well as the mindset isn’t there to pursue another ‘IE certification at the moment, the Cisco Continued Education Credits is the way to go!

I want to personally ‘thank’ everyone who supported me on my re-certification journey.

Good Luck to everyone who is pursuing their CCIE or in the midst of re-certification!

Happy Configuring!

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