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RE: RE: RE: RE: number of CCIE??? [7:70328] posted 06/10/2003
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Kudos to Craig for a well thought out and written response. This is what
I wanted to 
say but my temper got the better of me.

-----Original Message-----
From: nobody@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:nobody@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of
Craig Columbus
Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003 5:19 PM
To: cisco@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: number of CCIE??? [7:70328]

I've been trying to hold my tongue on this one since this firestorm
up at least once a quarter....BUT:

NRF is correct.  Attacking him and his motives fails to address the
at hand.  Rightly, or wrongly, there is a slight devaluation of the CCIE

certification and it's not NRF's fault.  Let me be clear:  I'm not 
attacking any one who has earned, or is pursuing, the CCIE designation.
think any process that furthers an individual's knowledge, including the

CCIE certification process, is valuable.  But, let's go back to the 
original post... the original poster believed that the rate of people 
pursuing, and passing, the CCIE examination was increasing by quite a
and wondered aloud if this was devaluing the certification.  And, the 
answer is: yes, to some degree.

Now before you pounce upon me, try to follow my logic.  If you can't be 
bothered to read the logic, at least skip to my conclusion at the end 
before bashing me.

DISCLAIMER: I realize that this is simplifying economists
the audience shouldn't send me emails pointing out the complexity I left

Certain basic economic laws apply to all commerce transactions,
the exchange of money for skilled IT labor.  The two laws that apply

1) The Law of Supply.  This law states:
         a) that at higher prices, producers are willing to offer more 
products for sale than at lower prices.  In terms of this discussion,
means that when companies are willing to pay higher salaries (PRICE),
(PRODUCERS) are willing to provide more services (PRODUCTS) than when 
salaries are low.
         b) states that the supply increases as prices increase and 
decreases as prices decrease.  Means that more people will become CCIEs 
(producers) to cash in on the higher prices (SALARIES) and people will
trying to work as CCIEs when the salaries drop.
         c) states that those already in business will try to increase 
productions as a way of increasing profits.  This is very similar to,
subtly different than, part a. Whereas in part a, the producers will
more services in terms of product offering, part c indicates that
will try to work more hours to optimize income.

2) The Law of Demand.  This law states:
         a) that people will buy more of a product at a lower price than
a higher price, if nothing changes.  This means that companies will
more services, up to the point where the company no longer can make use
the services, at a lower price than at a higher price.
         b) that at a lower price, more people can afford to buy more
and more of an item more frequently, than they can at a higher 
price.  Again, this means that at a lower salary, companies can afford
buy more IT services more frequently than they can when salaries are
         c) that at lower prices, people tend to buy some goods as a 
substitute for others more expensive.  This means that when the services
a CCNP are cheaper than those of a CCIE, and the services of the CCNP
sufficient, then companies will tend to only purchase (hire) the
of a CCNP.

The equilibrium point, where supply equals demand is known as the Market

Price.  The market price will remain unchanged as long as supply and
remains unchanged. If there is an increase in demand or a decrease in 
supply, the market price will increase. If the opposite occurs, that is,
demand decreases and supply increases, the market price will decrease.

Now, when you apply these rules to the current CCIE certification / 
economic situation, several things become clear:
1)      CCIE salaries have always been fairly high.  This is due to the 
higher demand for CCIE services and the relatively low supply of CCIEs 
2)      There are many people who wish to cash in on the high salaries 
typically paid to CCIEs.  However, there are barriers to entry (another 
economics term) for suppliers.  Namely, the cost of the certification
the intelligence / experience required to pass the difficult 
examination.  These barriers will prevent everyone who wishes to become
CCIE from actually attaining the certification.
3)      One of the barriers for entry (CCIE test requirements) has
been lowered.  Namely, the move from a two day test to a one day 
test.  Since twice the number of people can now take the exam as could 
previously take the exam in a given time period, the number of those 
passing in a given time period is going to increase.
4)      Without an additional barrier to entry being erected, such as 
increased difficulty, one could reasonably expect that since twice the 
number of people are taking the exam per year, that twice the number of 
people will pass the exam per year.  Around July 1999, the numbers were
the low 4300s.  A year later, the number was less than 6100.  By July
the number was in the low 7700s.  In other words, roughly 1600-1800
were passing a year under the two day system.  The lab went to one day
October of the first "one-day" numbers I remember seeing was 
8248.  We should expect then, that difficulty being equal, that 
approximately 3400 people should pass per year and that the number
be approximately 11648 (8248+(1700*2)) by October 1 of 2002.  The first 
number I can find is 10393...significantly less than would be expected,
things being equal.  To see if the difference was difficulty or just the

lack of information on the new lab, I looked at the number of people 
passing from October 2002 to present.  The most recent number I've seen
11757.  Which, averages about 170 people per month.  Extrapolating to 
October, the number of people passing from Oct 2002 to Oct 2003 should
out to be around 2044.  My conclusion then, is that since the labs stay 
booked, and since the expected doubling of the people passing has not 
occurred, that the new lab is somewhat more difficult than the old 
lab.  Therefore, the "difficulty barrier" was increased to partially,
not fully, counter the effects of lowering the "quantity barrier"
of lab seats).  Had the difficulty been raised enough to fully counter
quantity barrier, the number of those passing would have been held
5)      Because of reasons in number 4, I contend that those passing the

CCIE examination are, on average, capable of performing difficult 
networking tasks.  In translating to the real world, I'm going to make
generalization that because the exam is rigorous, CCIEs, new or old,
specialized skills to the marketplace.
6)      The US economy, and to some degree the world economy, is
depressed.  Many CCIEs are currently out of work.  My evidence is 
anecdotal...I'm only going by the number of people I know and the
of resumes I receive.  In any case, this means that the supply of CCIEs
high.  Since fewer than 100% of CCIEs who wish to work are working, this

means that there is excess supply.
7)      People continue to take, and to pass the CCIE exam.  Supply is 
continuing to grow, despite the excess supply.
8)      As supply grows, demand weakens, all other factors being held 
equal.  The only ways to counter the excess supply problem are:
         a)      Increase demand.  Until our economy picks up, I don't
this happening.  The unpleasant fact of the matter is that many networks

can be maintained and run by a CCNP level individual.  Without the need 
(demand) for higher skills, companies will hire the cheapest person that

still meets their need.
         b)      Prices decrease.  If CCIEs are willing to work for less

money (decrease price), then demand from the purchaser (companies) will 
increase.  After all, if a CCNP individual meets the needs, but a CCIE
be hired for the same salary as the CCNP, then, in many cases, the
will hire the CCIE...thus devaluing the CCNP in the process by creating 
excess CCNP supply (those looking for work).

My interpretation of the market tells me that while the technical
level of the CCIE is still very high, and that the knowledge value of
individual CCIEs is still a valuable "personal" commodity, the 
certification has been devalued in the marketplace.  Not because the 
program isn't rigorous or because Cisco is passing more people per year,

but because outside economic factors have reduced the demand from 
companies, resulting in an excess of qualified labor.  This devaluation
or may not be temporary, based upon future unknown events.  If you're 
pursuing a career in networking because it brings you personal
and not because of the money, then this devaluation won't really make a 
difference to you one way or the other.  After all, most people who
full time artists do it for the love of art...not the big salaries.  If 
you're in networking strictly for the money, you should closely examine
trends and make your decisions accordingly.  As for me, I'm somewhere in

the middle.  Personally, I love my job.  I love networking.  But I'd
find a 
new career tomorrow if I'd be capped at $20k a year due to market 
pressures.  Afterall, I have a family to feed. :-)

At 09:03 AM 6/9/2003 +0000, you wrote:
>Jack Nalbandian wrote:
> >
> > My friend NRF (what is your name anyhow?),
> >
> > Others have expressed concern, true, and most of them are
> > legitimate.  You
> > mentioned that the MCSE was thought of as a means to get "easy
> > money" from a
> > relatively naive market faced with the new "IT" dimension.
> >
> > Expressing legitimate concern by citing facts has its value,
> > but I see that
> > you are indeed "peddling myths," but, so far (forgive me for
> > generalizing
> > due to limited exposure to your thoughts) you have been very
> > one-sided ad
> > biased in your "concerns."  The "CCIE number" thread is based
> > on some
> > objective opinion of ONE person, you.  You have also not
> > provided data to
> > back your "opinion," and doubt very much that you can provide
> > definitive
> > data on the matter.
>It is not one-sided at all.  Again, answer the question - all other
>being equal, would you prefer a lower or a higher number for yourself
>not?  Of course you prefer a lower number.  I know I do.  Pretty much
>everybody does.  So actually, I would say that the majority is on my
>The only difference is that some people like me are willing to admit
it, and
>others aren't. But in our hearts, we all know what the truth is.
Again, if
>you don't believe me, go look in the mirror and ask yourself honestly
>you take a lower number if Cisco offered it to you?  Be honest with
>yourself.  I think you know exactly what I'm talking about and that's
>as definitive as you're ever going to get.
> >
> > Who are those "some people," those who (allegedly) "required
> > lower number
> > CCIE's" and what percentage of the global population of "HR
> > managers" do
> > they constitute?  Do they, furthermore, qualify to judge either
> > way?  How
> > "expertly" knowledgable are they of the CCIE certification
> > process?  How
> > familiar are you?
>Once again with the ad-hominem attacks.  Why do people insist on
>my character and my motives rather than my actual points?
>First of all, I obviously don't think it's stupid that people who do
>prefer the lower number.  I think it's actually  entirely logical.
>But fine, let's have it your way.  Even if it was illogical, what does
>prove?  You ask how what makes these HR people qualified to judge?
>The mere fact that HR managers have jobs to give makes that person
>to judge.  Why?  Simple - the golden rule.  He who has the gold makes
>rules.  If you want a job, and they have the jobs to give, then they
are the
>ones with the power.  They are the ones who tell you what they are
>for, and if you refuse to play by their rules, then they won't give you
>job,  simple as that.   Unfair?  Maybe.  But get over it.  That's life.
>you have your own company, then you can decide what criteria you will
use to
>hire.  But if you don't, then you have to dance to the tune of the
>Let me put it to you another way.  Surely we all know that many
>prefer that certain positions be filled by college graduates, despite
>fact that those positions don't really require anything that you would
>in college.  So you might then say that it's stupid that they do things
>way.  Yeah, but at the end of the day, so what?  Since they are the
ones who
>have the jobs, they get to decide what they want.  Ranting and raving
>how you think the requirement is stupid isn't going to change their
>Do you seriously believe that you'll be able to go to these companies
>use your power of persuasion to convince them that their own
requirement is
>stupid?   Of course not.  You either have want they want, or you'll be
>passed by.  The key, therefore, is if you want that job, you should get
>thing that they want, even if you don't agree that it's necessary.
>companies that you don't agree with their hiring practices doesn't help
>in paying the rent.  Sometimes you gotta put up with things you don't
>with in order to get something you want (like a job).  That's life.
>You gotta be pragmatic here.  I hate stopping at red lights at 3 AM
>there's nobody around to crash into.  But hey, if I run one and get
>over, am I really going to win an argument with the cop over how I
>need to obey the light because there's nobody around?  Of course not.
>gonna hand me a ticket and I'm going to be out $300, end of story.  I
>at red lights at 3AM simply because I don't want to get a ticket.  I
>it's stupid that I would get one because there's nobody around to crash
>into, but that's neither here nor there.  In the final analysis, I
>want a ticket, so I don't run those lights.  In the final analysis,
>go to college because they want to get those jobs for which a company
>that a degree is necessary.  In the final analysis, people desire a
>number because some HR guys/recruiters say that they prefer them.
>you personally agree that things should be this way is not the issue.
>you want the thing that people are offering (a job, not getting
>then you will need to jump through the hoops that they are dictating,
>if you don't like it.  That's life.

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