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CCIE Labs Take a Massive Step Ahead as BYOD Expands Cellular Lab Footprint

The CCIE certification is likely one of the most prestigious marks of accomplishment in IT, evolving through the years to deal with the wants of each the IT panorama and CCIE candidates. On the forefront of each change is our unwavering dedication to ship lab exams on the identical normal and rigor for which the CCIE is thought. And as we face new challenges which have led us to a brand new regular, our CCIE program has advanced and emerged, extra accessible and handy than ever earlier than.

CCIE and me

I began my certification journey again within the late nineties, round ’97 or ’98. I keep in mind making ready in these days — the instances have been so totally different. There have been no assets, no examine supplies. There weren’t even any instructions or pointers on the market. Past only a few Cisco Press books about know-how, you have been principally by yourself. That’s modified dramatically through the years, with varied programs, bootcamps, and even digital CCIE sensible lab leases. We realized that offering higher supplies doesn’t trivialize the examination; it enhances the training expertise and improves outcomes.

The important thing to making ready for and sustaining a CCIE is the understanding that incomes the certification isn’t the tip of the street. You don’t end up after 5 days of coaching and name it quits. As a substitute, once you earn your CCIE, it’s an expertise validation. It’s the end result of years of information and experience constructing and the initiative to preserve your certification.

The flexibility to alter is important. We stay in a digital world now. After I took my lab examination within the 90s, it took two days. We spent the primary day connecting the wires and cables ourselves; we did all of this {hardware} stuff. It was robust. It was rigorous. However within the early 2000s, we made a change and moved to sooner or later of testing. Individuals didn’t perceive at first. They thought it appeared like a downgrade of what we have been doing. A part of the job meant explaining that, no, this was a recognition of the altering panorama of superior applied sciences and their rising complexities. We eliminated the trivial stuff to make room for extra superior subjects related to the sector. It was our job to acknowledge these modifications and account for them. That’s nonetheless our job immediately.

Your examination, your means

The brand new method to CCIE is much less a couple of basic shift in networking, however extra in regards to the basic change in our mid-pandemic world. Coincidentally, I used to be in China in November 2019, when the specter of COVID first started rising. It took a couple of months, however by March, the escalation of the pandemic had impacted work around the globe, and packages just like the CCIE certification program floor to a halt. Till this level, we might solely ship the CCIE certification in a single particular means, in very particular places. Clearly, that couldn’t proceed. This system slowed as we tried to determine learn how to shield the well being of our prospects, companions, and workers — whereas additionally defending the integrity of the examination.

Six months handed with out a single CCIE earned, and the strain was escalating. Candidates have been nonetheless hungry to earn their certifications, however they wanted the exams to certify.

Why can’t you supply them [CCIE labs] remotely? Why can’t we take a look at from house?

We thought of distant testing, however it launched extreme points. The examination lasts eight hours, is intense, and desires to stay safe. In order that was out.

This pondering introduced us to a brand new query: how can we provide an examination that’s versatile and accessible whereas remaining safe? That’s the place the Cellular Labs got here in. The unique model of those labs consisted of a shippable end-user atmosphere offered by Cisco. We strived to create a cell setup that may enable us to deploy exams in additional locations and get extra folks scheduled (with an extended lead time), whereas nonetheless sustaining a managed atmosphere for the security and the integrity of the lab.

In fact, offering the end-user atmosphere is an costly endeavor. Establishing the labs in varied places means transport substantial quantities of drugs, which then raises the examination worth.

So, what if we didn’t must ship all the pieces to the lab location? That thought led to creating the Deliver Your Personal Machine (BYOD) program. As a substitute of Cisco offering all of this costly-to-move gear, we labored to develop a means for CCIE candidates to carry their personal gear. It allowed us to chop down on the prices for everybody. It additionally enabled us to run extra examination periods in a broader variety of venues.

Value financial savings aren’t the one advantage of the BYOD mannequin. Relating to such a rigorous 8-hour lab examination, confidence and luxury are key. Candidates profit when the instruments they’re utilizing to check are the identical instruments they’ve used to organize. They don’t must go in and attempt to make themselves comfy on gear that isn’t arrange the way in which they like.

In fact, that is all along with reopening our current brick-and-mortar everlasting places. We’re not throwing away the profitable issues we’ve already created. We’re simply opening up extra doorways.

CCIE subsequent steps

For those who select the BYOD cell lab choice, you’ll carry your personal equipment. Meaning you’ll have the chance to carry your personal laptop computer, keyboard, mouse, exterior monitor—all the pieces. You’ll arrive the morning of your examination at which era you’ll have the ability to arrange your workspace the way in which you prefer it. We’ll present a bootable flash drive, a safe working system you may boot from for the examination. That’s how we’re in a position to scale the cell supply of our Skilled-level labs.

The place are we now?

As we proceed to navigate the reopening of our lab places, the well being and security of our prospects, companions, and workers proceed to be our prime concern. Openings will probably be on a case-by-case foundation, primarily based on native circumstances, rules, Cisco Company, and medical steerage.

We’re increasing our cell lab footprint and capability, offering you with an alternate take a look at supply technique to take your Skilled-level Cisco lab exams in your proximity. CCIE Cellular lab places assist all Skilled-level Cisco certification tracks.

Thanks for taking a second to be taught in regards to the evolution of the CCIE and the official introduction to the Deliver Your Personal Gadgets (BYOD) Cellular Lab program. Go to the Cisco Studying Community for the most recent on our new BYOD Cellular Labs testing choice and how one can take your lab examination your means — utilizing your very personal units. Please be at liberty to remark together with your ideas and share how your certification journey goes under.

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