Sure, the CCIE’s got great buzz — in fact, it walked away with the title of “Best High-Level Certification” in our Reader’s Choice Awards earlier this year. But the CCIE didn’t even come close to making list last year, so few of you were planning to get it. So why all this interest now?
Perhaps last year the title was still recovering from the collapse of IT salaries. We all remember the horror stories: The shock of hearing about an unemployed CCIE or — even worse — ones that were making less than $100,000.

Sure that’s tongue-in-cheek, but the sentiment is true: Before, many people were hung up on certification equaling a specific pay scale. Now, with so many more certifications on the market (and so many ways to cheat through them), reputation means more.
“This is the “Himalayas” of certification,” said Neilson. “Now that the job market has tightened, people are wanting to readily demonstrate the level of skills that they have to differentiate themselves.”
“I see CCIE acquisition used more for job security than for attaining a new position,” said Quinn. “As the economy picks up, CCIEs will be in more demand.”
“In my opinion, the CCIE is still the best cert to have,” commented Kohut. “Everyone knows that there are no paper CCIEs out there. And Cisco still commands a healthy market share.”
Bersinic speculated that the increased interest in this title might also be because of its security-related aspects. “Though Cisco’s CCIE only comprises some security elements, it deals with the most critical aspects of security: access to the network. And then there’s the demand for Cisco certifications overall, as we mentioned earlier with the CCNP.
The CCIE was the only title that all five of our contributing editors listed in their personal top 10 lists — three of them put it at the top spot. This, combined with the certification’s excellent reputation and your all-important reader interest score, makes us confident that the CCIE will, indeed, be the hottest certification for 2003.
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