Tuesday, May 19, 2009

CCIE Security Lab Changes

The much-expected change to CCIE Security track has finally arrived.

From Cisco CCIE Security Track home (http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le3/ccie/security/index.html) :

Effective June 15, 2009, the Cisco CCIE Security lab exam will feature a new type of question format in a section called Core Knowledge. In this new section, candidates will be asked a series of four open-ended questions that require a short, typewritten response (typically several words). The questions will be randomly drawn from a pool of questions on topics currently eligible for testing on the CCIE Security lab exam. No new topics are being added. Candidates will have up to 30 minutes to complete the Core Knowledge section of the exam, and may not return to the questions later. First introduced to the CCIE Routing and Switching lab exam in February 2009, Core Knowledge questions will eventually be added to all CCIE tracks. The changes allow Cisco to maintain strong exam security, and they help ensure that only qualified candidates are awarded CCIE certification.

The change was first implemented in the CCIE Routing & Switching track effective February 1, 2009.

CCIE Routing & Switching Track:
http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le3/ccie/rs/lab_exam.html

The immediate candidate reaction after CCIE R&S change notification, as expected, has been to attempt CCIE labs before these changes got effective. Not to miss a similar reaction by CCIE Security Candidates, who registered in flocks, before the new syllabii version 3.0 came into effect in mid-April 2009.

I touched base on these 4 open-ended questions from the R&S guys who recently appeared (& passed) the CCIE Routing & Switching Exam. The questions are from the syllabi, & any candidate who has sincerely prepared for this mammoth exam should be able to answer them.

Well, now that the Security Track has a new version 3.0 syllabii, I strongly believe these 4 questions are definitely going to play a crucial part in filtering out the certified CCIE's. I wonder why Cisco didn't chose to integrate it earlier. A lot many candidates who I know, ofcourse CCIE certified now, would have still trying to get past these 4 open-ended questions, had these changes been implemented earlier. Not to say, these didn't knew the syllabii or didn't prepared well, but this is concerned more with the sound knowledge & experience over the technologies covered in the exam.

CCIE is THE test of a network security professional's knowledge of core concepts, configuration & troubleshooting abilities. And the products, though a handful only - (ASA, IOS firewalls, IPS, NAC) - require a thorough understanding & a good hands-on experience. This move will ensure a candidate has good knowledge of the technologies, domains, products & solutions along with hands-on experience towards certification & those training institutes who've been earning a fuckin', easy $$$ using pattern-based / (somehow) known questions that came in the exam will have to find another way to get their candidates pass this new bar.

Good move, Cisco.

CCIE Security Lab Blueprint v3.0:
http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le3/ccie/security/lab_exam_blueprint_v3.html

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