Way back in October of 2008 in the pages of the CCIE Flyer we carried an article by Terry Slattery where he groused/mused about grandfathering CCIEs. Here are a few excerpts from that article.

A couple of years ago at Networkers, I heard about a proposal to grandfather people who had been long-time CCIEs, so that they didn’t have to take the recertification test any more. My first thought was that it would significantly weaken the program. How would you know whether someone was an active CCIE or grandfathered without taking time to gather the relevant information and spend the time to verify it? I felt so strongly about it that I spoke out against the idea.

Upon further thought, I have a suggestion to resolve the dilemma. When a high ranking military officer retires, he or she gets to retain the title, but with the addition of “Retired” (e.g. General Kilroy, Retired). Why not do the same thing for the CCIE program? It shows that the person can think, work hard, excel, and make a difference in their area of expertise. This is exactly what the military moniker conveys and I see no problem with doing the same for the CCIE program. Someday I’ll retire and wouldn’t mind a business card that says something like:

Terry Slattery, CCIE #1026/Inactive

How does this suggestion help the CCIE program? It would provide an official way for people who achieved the CCIE status to continue to get some benefit as well as let future employers know that the person has useful attributes and experience. It could broaden the program’s reach to people who have moved into the management world from the technical world. Imagine a Cisco account team finding that they are working with a CCIE/Inactive manager and being able to immediately get into a level of technical detail. The existing Cisco CCIE validation tool can tell whether someone is in active or inactive status, allowing employers to easily check someone’s status.

I’ve not considered how far back such a program should reach. Should all former CCIEs be allowed to use an “Inactive” designation (or whatever the designation would be)? Off hand, I can’t think of a reason to limit it and what measure one would use to set such limits. My intuition is that allowing all former CCIEs to use the “Inactive” designation would generate a lot of good will in the networking community.

What do you think?


Now, it seems that the forward-thinking and receptive folks at Learning@Cisco have decided to launch a program that is very similar to what Terry described – CCIE Emeritus. I know CCIEs let their numbers expire in many cases when they have climbed the rungs of success to find themselves in management. The need for the cert is then an object of pride and accomplishment and less a necessity. Terry supported the idea of allowing long-time CCIEs to keep a title on their business cards and signatures that said, “Yes I was a CCIE for over ten years and I am proud of it!”

Read the announcement about CCIE Emeritus and get the details for membership in the program. Here’s an excerpt:

Who is Emeritus for?

Long term CCIE’s who have moved out of the “day to day” technical work but would like to stay involved in the program serving as ambassadors to current and future CCIE’s.

Applicants must have a current and active status as CCIE for at least 10 years and can’t be affiliated with a Channel or Cisco partner.

This deserves a round of applause for Leraning@Cisco, and I am a happy supporter of the effort. We need more role models and mentors in the CCIE ranks!