Blocking poor training programs
Recently, I have noticed a number of new CCIE training programs. These programs don’t look particularly professional and may cause damage to the CCIE image in the near future (if they haven’t already). Consider, you have paid USD$7000 to attend a month long bootcamp and head off to the exam and find out that you are woefully under-prepared. Who do you blame ? Not the training provider whom you know and ‘trust’, not yourself but Cisco. By releasing accredited training, this means that you can’t “blame” Cisco if the training is not up to a suitable standard.
I think this is the most important reason for the Cisco 360 initiative.
My impression is Cisco is delivering accredited courseware and every training partner in the world will have the opportunity to deliver CCIE training programs. Of course, instructors will have to certified, and the company meet some minimum requirements and install lab equipment. I predict the number of companies offering CCIE training to increase rapidly as they will think this is an opportunity to grow by adding CCIE to their existing CCNP/NA/SP/DP offerings and increase revenue. Of course it won’t be and they will exit the business by the end of next year.
Cisco will be taking a nice fee for providing the courseware, along the lines of royalties that are paid by accredited Cisco training companies today and providing all the accreditation and audit services.
Course and Study Material
According to blog and mail list comments, Cisco has reached out to existing training providers to provide or develop the new training material. That is a smart move. This means they are more likely to support the Cisco offering in some form.
“Most of the CCIE training vendors (NLI, IE, IPexpert, GK, NIL, NMC,etc.) were involved in this bidding process – and have a great level of knowledge as to how the program has been structured, ” Wayne Lawson, Founder and President of IPexpert, email to groupstudy security CCIE.
The real question is whether unofficial training will survive ? At the moment we have quite a bit of variation between the suppliers. To highlight this look at many peoples comments about how different Narbik Kocharian’s bootcamp is.
Many people feel that a combination of vendors is the best choice, providing different approaches and assisting in knowledge absorption. There is no right way to get prepared for the CCIE exam in its current form. It is worth considering whether standardised training will lead to exam changes ?
Partner Marketing Dollars / Training Credits
One of the more difficult problems in our industry is that Cisco Partners struggle to have sufficient certified people((and I won’t go into the lack of investment, mendicant selection and life guidance that occurs in a partner business sigh)). In the last few years we have seen Cisco add several programs that help Partners progress individuals through the CCIE certification process as well CCxA and CCxP . For CCIE Mendicants who work for Partners, this includes the online lab readiness assessment, which is an offshoot of a partner support program, access to internal training material, access to online lab environments and more.
A Cisco Partner will also receive training credits based on the volume that they sell, as part of a marketing incentive program. With this announcement, Cisco can now deliver CCIE training and fund them with the training credits without having to pay an external provider or at least, have a more efficient model for paying for training.
I suspect that the current method allows for some of the major providers to deliver CCIE training on Cisco’s behalf ((I have no knowledge whether this is true, it is pure speculation. It seems probable to me)).
Its not so much about the money
I know that Brandon Carroll thinks that Cisco is looking for a another revenue source, and I am sure that they will make a profit from this by accreditation fees, course material licensing and so on. However, I don’t believe this is the primary motivation. Cisco does not like to deviate from its core business, and training most certainly is not what they would want to do. I continue to believe that Cisco provides training so that they can sell more hardware and software.
So there are two key drivers
- provide an accredited training program for CCIE study to control the brand and product image.
Note that just like all other Cisco certifications, you can choose a non-accredited provider. This will stop poor quality training providers who are ripping off mendicants.
- allow Partners to spend training credits on Cisco courses in a more effective manner.
I am finished pontificating and will resume normal service.
CCIE Pursuit – Cisco to launch own training program
Network World article Cisco puts CCIE learning on the fast-track