The average CCIE salary is among the highest in all of Information Technology. Those that are lucky enough and work hard enough to obtain the certification have a demonstrated ability to work on the most complex networks in the world. The certification is so advanced it is often referred to as a doctorate in computer networking.
The CCIE certification has eight different tracks all of which are in high demand and offer very high salaries. The CCIE salary in any one of these tracks can offer a starting salary well into the six figures and the most experienced of CCIE’s can often receive a salary of over $150k.
Of course, the salary will vary based on your experience level and where you are geographically. However, the range is not that great at this level. Outside of rare circumstances, if you have a CCIE, you will earn a salary of over $100k. The key to the high salary is to take your time and obtain the certifications as you gain experience. Do not try to rush through the CCNA, CCNP and CCIE and expect a huge salary. You have to have many years of experience to make this work.
For the most part, the only companies that hire CCIE’s are large service providers and other massive companies that have highly secured, global, or otherwise complicated networks. Anything less would be overkill for someone that has the CCIE credential. You wouldn’t hire a surgeon to give physicals, and you wouldn’t hire a CCIE to manage a small network.
The good news is a lot of these companies, especially service providers, are looking to hire every CCIE that applies for an open position. The more complicated and large a network becomes, the more important it is to an organization. Many companies simply want the best networking experts money can buy to keep their operations running smoothly with minimal downtime.
There are many CCIE training programs out there, but you should only consider taking the training after you have the prerequisite certification and a lot of experience in real world networking roles. The material that is covered is extremely complicated and it is very easy to become lost. This is especially true if the instructor is training you on topics that you are not already familiar with. In fact, even if you have been in the industry for decades, you should still take the CCNP exams for whatever track you are planning on pursuing. The biggest mistake people make while attempting to obtain this certification is to rush into it. Cisco has done an excellent job of making sure that people don’t obtain the CCIE unless they have the knowledge and experience that it requires.
The training classes are very expensive at a glance, but are pretty reasonable considering the high CCIE salary. In addition, the high training fees make the CCIE certification a bit more difficult to obtain which keeps the salary high and the certification more prestigious.
You can study on your own for a portion of the exams. This is an excellent choice if you cannot afford the training classes or you do not want to take time off of work. Of course, it will take a while but you tend to get a little more out of it when you do it on your own. Simply, when something is not clear you can stop, research, and read the material again until it is crystal clear. This makes the information stick a little better and you are assured that you understand every page you read before you move onto the next one. In a classroom setting, the instructor has an obligation to the entire class to keep things moving forward. Considering the average cost to prepare for the exam is over $10,000, this option makes sense for a lot of people.
CCIE Salary Outlook
Due to the complexity of the information, the difficulty of the exams, and the high cost in both time and money to obtain the CCIE, the demand and salary levels will continue to rise. This may not always be the case with the lower level certifications, but it will be the case for this one. There are very few people in the country that are qualified to handle large scale networks. Companies that count on their simply want the most qualified people to support their infrastructure. When you are a CCIE, you are the most qualified person in the world to handle the complexities.For these reasons, the CCIE salary will continuously rise. During a bad economy it may be stagnant for a year or two, but the overall trend will always be up. As more devices become networked and the Internet continues to grow, the demand for qualified people to support the infrastructure will keep rising. This fact alone will keep the highest level Cisco people employed for a very long time.
Current CCIE Jobs
There are fewer than 30,000 CCIE’s in the entire world. This is incredibly significant for a certification that has been around since 1993. In fact, fewer than 2% of all people that have ever taken a Cisco exam have obtained the CCIE. When you are trying to determine the value of any certification, these are the kind of numbers you want to see. When a company has a need to hire a CCIE, they are not going to sift through 5,000 resumes. Even if they did, there would only be a few at the most that actually have a valid CCIE certification.
For this reason, when you search any one of the job boards for the word CCIE and apply, your resume will be read and you will receive a phone call 90% of the time. In fact, if you look closely you will notice that the same companies always have ads on the same job boards looking for CCIE’s. The reason is, of course, they were not able to hire anyone for months!
Just like any other industry, when an employer cannot find someone their only option is to raise the salary level. As of this writing there are over 3,000 jobs available for a CCIE. Considering there are less than 30k people that are qualified for these positions, it is safe to assume you will never have to worry about finding a job. The only thing you will have to worry about is which company will pay you the highest CCIE salary!