Never ever limit your knowledge with mediocre credentials. And if you want a superior kind of validation from a famous IT organization, then you won’t get wrong with one of Cisco’s most prominent certifications – CCIE Routing and Switching. But how do you earn this rather outstanding credential? To answer your question, continue reading and follow the significant steps mentioned below.

Cisco CCIE R&S 400-101 Exam

What will you gain with the CCIE Routing and Switching certification? 

First, let’s discuss the CCIE Routing and Switching (CCIE R&S) Internetworking Experts certification. Considered as an expert-level credential for network engineers, CCIE R&S validates the candidate’s high proficiency in difficult enterprise network infrastructure. The certification confirms your ability to operate, plan, and troubleshoot complex network setup and its related components.

Is it for everyone?

Everyone can take the CCIE R&S certification as there are no formal prerequisites such as required professional certifications and training courses. However, to become CCIE R&S certified, you are expected to have prior knowledge about network concepts, evolving technologies, and enterprise infrastructure. Moreover, it’s recommended to have at least 3 to 5 years of work background in network infrastructure. Hence, if you’re a fresh graduate wanting to put your knowledge to the test and give CCIE R&S a try, this might not be a perfect choice. There are many other Cisco certifications that you can try to obtain such as CCT, CCENT, and CCNA R&S.

How to earn the CCIE R&S certification?

To acquire your CCIE R&S credential, you need to pass two exams – the written qualification exam and hands-on lab exam. So, now that you know the details, let’s jump into a more challenging discussion and talk about the most effective process of passing the written qualification exam which is also known as Cisco 400-101.

What do you need to know about 400-101 exam? 

Don’t take the written exam lightly. Cisco 400-101 is composed of 90-110 questions to be answered within 120 minutes. Within the limited time frame, the exam will check how well you know the topics. But there’s nothing worry about because you’ve got everything you need to know right here.

  • The outline of the exam topics

With the help of the official set of topics provided by Cisco, it’s easy to understand the core areas of 400-101 exam. These vital topics include Network Principles, Layer 2 and 3 Technologies, VPN Technologies, Evolving Technologies, Infrastructure Security, and Infrastructure Services. With such a range of subjects, you should spend a considerable amount of time on each topic, especially on Layer 3 Technologies, since this section holds a significant percentage of the total exam.

  • Exam materials needed

With the help of the all-embracing range of training courses offered by Cisco Platinum Learning Library, you’ll have lots of choices at hand. There are full-length courses that are highly interactive to ensure you enjoy every bit of your exam preparation. Aside from the Cisco official training courses, you have other options to choose from. Simply check out the PrepAway website and you’ll be surprised by the incredible selection of exam materials you can find there. Aside from courses, they also have a variety of practice tests to check your skills. Continue practicing your abilities with PrepAway sample exam questions for 400-101 exam. Another great way to train your skills is to take the hands-on lab training through Cisco VIRL PE or Cisco Modeling Labs.

  • Important things to note

With the changes in the certification track, Cisco 400-101 exam is available for a limited period only. You have time until February 23, 2020 to take the test. So, if you want to complete the exam and further take the second part of the certification, then you need to prepare as soon as possible. You only have a few months to make up your mind. The retirement of the older certification exam is meant to welcome newer, advanced credentials that are more in line with modern technologies and recent innovations.

  • All about recertification 

Because of the level of the certification as well as its importance, CCIE holders are required to recertify every two years. And to keep your credential active, you have to choose from one of the options:

  • Get the required credits via Cisco Continuing Education program
  • Pass any current CCIE written or lab exam
  • Pass the current CCDE written or practical exam
  • Pass the CCAr interview and board review

This recertification policy, however, will soon be revised once the mentioned certification exams will be retired by 2020.

If you’ve completed all the test preparation, then you are now ready to schedule and pay for 400-101 exam (the price is $450). And if you’re successful with the written exam, then you’re off to the second phase, which is the lab exam. This 8-hour practical test assesses your skills in configuring actual tools and troubleshooting real networks.

What’s next?

Successful candidates who passed both written and lab tests can expect an awesome professional career ahead. Earning your CCIE R&S certification is a sure investment in your future. You gain not just a profound understanding of routing and switching components and remarkable networking skills, but also career benefits. Getting Cisco certified is simply a thing to be proud of. Plus, you become part of the wide community of Cisco certified professionals, whose aim is to stay relevant in the dynamic Information Technology industry.


Taking the CCIE R&S journey is a worthwhile path that will certainly give you maximum expertise in complex network infrastructure and its features. Yes, the path itself is a difficult one, but it’s definitely gratifying.


Sumit is a Tech and Gadget freak and loves writing about Android and iOS, his favourite past time is playing video games.

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