CCIE DNA: Reality or Myth?

CCIE DNA: Reality or Myth?


It all started at #CLUS

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Cisco Live US in Las Vegas this year. Don’t shed any tears for me as I was fortunate enough to have customers, friends, and co-workers attend. They got me some sweet swag and provided a play-by-play as things unfolded.

One such morsel of information was regarding a “CCIE DNA” or “CCIE GUI”.

At first I was just sitting in front of my monitor drifting into space thinking what the format of such a practical exam would look like. Would it be exploratory like my transition experience from R/S v3 to v4 (open ended questions, remove open ended questions, add troubleshooting, leverage virtual & physical environments, etc)?

Then I envisioned an entire exam based on APIC-EM/APIC-DC, NFV, Postman, and lots of mouse clicking. It’s this very thought that I started to break out in a cold sweat from the possibility of CLI withdrawal.

This was roughly 6 weeks ago… Now that the dust has settled, I decided to dig into this “rumor” a little more. I was especially motivated after I observed confusion in the twittersphere today.


  • At #CLUS 2016 our commander and chief, Mr. Chuck Robbins provided insight into the importance of Digital Network Architecture (DNA). It’s not so much a product, but embracing emerging technologies such as automation, mobility, cloud, IoT, and analytics. In addition, Chuck discussed how important emerging technologies are and how we’ve never brought the application + network together from a visibility perspective.
  • My understanding is Chuck also discussed a DNA user group that would be certifying engineers with reference to the CCIE tracks. I believe this is where some folks walked away with the thought that Chuck announced a standalone CCIE DNA track.
  • I did some fact finding with our very own CCDE/CCAr program manager, Elaine Lopes @elopes01 and the reality is somewhere in the middle. 

The plan is to incorporate the DNA architecture and other evolving technologies into the pertinent CCxE tracks vs. being a separate track.

I can already see hints at this when I downloaded the current (v 2.1) CCDE written blueprint. There’s a new section in version labeled “5.0: Evolving Technologies”. While this doesn’t explicitly state “DNA”, it does have network programability/SDN and cloud which are core to DNA.

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The “evolving technologies” section is NOT isolated to the CCDE either!
You can read more about it at Elaine’s blog titled “Myth Busters & Evolving Technologies” 

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Disclaimer: This is the current plan as I know it. However, as with anything in our field it’s always subject to change. <GRIN>

My 2c FWIW

I’m excited that we’re putting evolving technologies into the various blueprints. There isn’t a day that goes by where a customer conversation doesn’t include leveraging cloud workloads, making sense of all the analytical (especially infosec) data collected, network programability, or “SDN”.

In addition, I feel strongly that using the generic topic of “Evolving Technologies” gives the CCxE program managers the ability to keep the exams fresh and relevant. This is at least the case for the written exams, how evolving technologies is incorporated into the practical is still TBD.

My thought is that the CCxE tracks will start to incorporate DNA into both the written and practicals. How that story unfolds will be one that I’ll watch closely and post updates on.

I’m waiting for a CCIE R/S candidate to say “Gomez, you got an instance of APIC-EM I can lab on?”.

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