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How Many CCIEs Are There In The World?

It seems like it should be easy to pinpoint the number of CCIEs in the world, but it’s not that straightforward. There are a few good blog posts, forum posts, and sites that address this question with varying degrees of accuracy.

Here’s how many CCIEs we think there are in the world — enumerated from three sources — CCIE numbers, CCIE Hall of Fame, and LinkedIn.

Our Best Estimate: 59,737 CCIEs

Because CCIEs are numbered sequentially, it should be easy, right? Just subtract the highest reported CCIE from the first CCIE number issued to a human, which is #1025. It’s just a matter of finding the highest CCIE number.

The highest reported on the CCIE Hall of Fame is CCIE #57,597. Because the CCIEs start at #1,025, that’s 59,737 CCIEs. Unfortunately, the site has largely been dormant since November 2017. So, that’s not helpful — but with a bit more information, it could be.

We had a CBT Nuggets learner recently earn his CCIE R&S with the help of the CBT Nuggets Learner Community in October 2018. (Congrats, Jacob!) His number is #60,501. By subtracting from Stuart Biggs’ first CCIE number, we know Jacob became the 59,476th CCIE.

Between November 2017 and October 2018, Cisco issued at least 2,904 CCIEs (divided by 690 days). From these numbers, we can roughly assume Cisco issues about four CCIEs per day.

So, as of January 14, 2019, there are 59,737 CCIEs in the world.

Whether or not they’ve maintained their CCIEs through recertification is another story.

The CCIE Hall of Fame: 56,572 CCIEs

The CCIE Hall of Fame wasn’t useful to determine how many CCIEs there are in the world. But, we found out other interesting information about the 16,548 CCIEs who self-reported how many CCIEs they’ve earned.

How many people have multiple CCIEs?

In total, CCIE Hall of Fame reports that 16,548 people have earned 19,973 CCIEs. Further, we can count how many CCIEs these highly skilled (and perhaps overly skilled) individuals have.

 

Number of CCIEs Number of People
8 4
7 15
6 30
5 71
4 190
3 640
2 2,476
1 16,547


Which CCIE do most people take first?

The Hall of Fame doesn’t seem to list people’s multiple CCIEs in any discernible order (like alphabetical), so we can assume they’re listed in the order they’re passed. Nearly 74 percent of CCIEs started with CCIE Routing and Switching. The second most frequent first certification is CCIE Security with 7.3 percent.

Here’s a list of the exams most CCIEs passed first:

CCIE Certification First exam % of People Who Started with Exam
Routing and Switching 12,226 73.88%
Security 1,221 7.38%
Service Provider 890 5.38%
Voice 734 4.44%
Collaboration 622 3.76%
Data Center 534 3.23%
Wireless 115 0.69%
ISP Dial 76 0.46%
WAN Switching 62 0.37%
Storage Networking 50 0.30%
SNA IP 11 0.07%
Design 1 0.01%


With years of CCIE data available, we can also determine the most common second and third exams, too. The most common second CCIE earned among the 3,426 people with multiple CCIEs is Service Provider. In second place, more than a quarter of second CCIEs are the CCIE Security.

Here are the most common second CCIEs: 

CCIE Exam Second exam after R&S % of People Took This Exam Second
Service Provider 887 35.84%
Security 634 25.62%
Data Center 296 11.96%
Routing and Switching 185 7.47%
Voice 177 7.15%
Collaboration 150 6.06%
Wireless 44 1.78%
Storage Networking 41 1.66%
ISP Dial 31 1.25%
WAN Switching 17 0.69%
SNA IP 12 0.48%
Design 1 0.04%


What’s the likelihood you’ll earn a second CCIE?

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll start with the CCIE SNA/IP in 2019 (particularly since it’s retired). But if you still could, you’d be the most likely to earn a second CCIE. Among active exams, nearly 17 percent of CCIEs who start with the Routing and Switching exam earn a second CCIE.

Here’s the likelihood of earning a second CCIE based on your first exam: 

Has a Second CCIE And Started With This Cert % of CCIE With Second CCIE
SNA IP 8 11 73%
Routing and Switching 2,080 12230 17%
Storage Networking 8 50 16%
Service Provider 113 890 13%
ISP Dial 9 76 12%
Security 146 1221 12%
WAN Switching 6 62 10%
Collaboration 46 622 7%
Voice 45 734 6%
Wireless 4 115 3%
Data Center 11 534 2%
Design 1 0%


The LinkedIn Search Method: 51,281 CCIEs

Earning your CCIE is obviously a big accomplishment — both personally and professionally. It takes the average CCIE 2.3 times to pass the lab portion of the exam. So, you better believe that any connected professional will update their LinkedIn profile the moment they pass. For that reason, LinkedIn is an easy repository of self-reported CCIEs. However, it’s also tough to vet the results.

Quite frankly, it’s unlikely there are as many active CCIEs on LinkedIn as reported. If you’re in a hiring position (or are just curious), you can verify the standing of any CCIE with their full name and CCIE number. Cisco also has an easy-to-access CCIE/CCDE Verification Tool.

As of January 9, 2019, a regular LinkedIn search returns about 53,049 people with the keyword “CCIE” in their profile. LinkedIn Sales Navigator has a slightly more robust search function and returns 55,416 results for “CCIE.” With some boolean functions to remove recruiting services, human resources, CCIE candidates, and training services, Navigator search yields 51,281 results. Let’s go with that.

Among these 51,281 CCIEs, LinkedIn provides further filtering for industry, location, and job function. Here’s a look at those breakdowns.

Which industry has the most CCIEs?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 95 percent of the 51,281 CCIEs work in IT, networking, telecommunications, or network security. The remaining five percent work in banking, healthcare, oil and energy, government, and education.  

Industry Number of CCIEs
Information Technology and Services 19,624
Computer Networking 10,826
Telecommunications 8,344
Computer & Network Security 3,147
Internet 1,257
Computer Software 1,026
Financial Services 780
Banking 514
Oil & Energy 257
Education Management 238
Information Services 224
Hospital & Health Care 212
Government Administration 194
Higher Education 192


A quick spot check confirms that most of the industry-specific outliers have titles like CIO, senior network engineer, and solution architect. That’s exactly what you’d expect, and leads into the next CCIE breakdown — seniority levels.

What seniority levels are most CCIEs?

More than 63 percent of CCIEs have senior, director, or manager positions. Surprisingly, LinkedIn classifies 28 percent of the 51,281 CCIEs as entry-level, which seems mighty odd.

Seniority level Number of CCIEs
Senior 26,843
Entry 15,400
Manager 4,225
Director 3,462
CXO 1,440
Owner 1,399
VP 1,048
Training 303
Partner 260
Unpaid 87


Looking into the job titles of those 15,400 CCIEs in the entry-level category, they’re mostly network or system engineers, which isn’t entry level, but not necessarily management either. That’s typical of a CCIE — or any expert-level certification. There’s a certain point when most IT professionals decide whether they want to go
deep or wide. There’s no doubt that these 51,281 CCIEs have decided to go deep. Unless you count all the individuals with multiple CCIEs — they’ve somehow managed to do both.

The Real Question: How Many Active CCIEs Are There?

Like every IT certification, CCIE is subject to recertification. So, there are potentially thousands of inactive CCIEs out there. There also are suspended CCIEs who need to recertify. There are retired tracks like CCIE SNA/IP. Cisco undoubtedly retains those records, but they’re not sharing.

Without a look at the Cisco database, we are estimating there are 59,373 CCIEs in the world — even if they’re not active.

Studying for CCIE R&S? Start training with CBT Nuggets.

 

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