CCIE Written or ENCOR?

Hi Guys,

I’ve been studying towards CCIE R&S exam for only around four weeks.

With the recent exam changes, I’m doubting whether I should keep studying towards the current written blueprint because if I fail to pass before Feb 2020 then I’ll have a new blueprint to study (ENCOR). If I do pass then the lab exam will be changing as well.

How much of the current R&S written will still be relevant when come Feb 2020 in your opinion?



Hello Gareth

Hmm, this is a good question. My suggestion would be that you attempt to take it before February of 2020, that way you have the following advantages:

  1. You have fully mature content from which to study, whereas if you take the new exam, study content will be much more scarce and less developed between now and when you take the test.
  2. You will have completed the test earlier, which is always good. Get them under your belt quickly, so that you can go on to the next stage.
  3. There isn’t much connection between the written and lab exam anyway, so even if you do your CCIE written before and your lab exam after, it won’t make very much difference.

Keep in mind that I suggest this only if you feel you have the time and the resources today to be able to study to a point where you can be reasonably certain that you will indeed pass. If you feel that that is not the case, then think about giving yourself more time, but that’s a call that you will have to make.

When Cisco rolls out new certification exams, it’s not to their benefit to change them too much, as people will face the same problems and concerns that you are expressing now. They change it just enough so that new content and technologies are include, but not so much that someone studying for months on the previous certification will have lost all their time studying for nothing.

Both scenarios are doable, but if you feel that you can achieve it in time, my recommendation would be to get it under your belt before February 2020.

I hope this has been helpful!



Hi Laz,

Thanks for this advice - much appreciated. Your insight on there not being much connection between the written and lab anyway if very helpful.

Just to complicate matters, I’m expecting a new member of the family between now and Feb 2020 so sleep and study time might be a scarce resource!

My CCNP expires May 2020 so I’m even considering studying a professional level exam just to brush up on my routing protocols and layer 2 and then starting on the new track in Feb.

Decisions, decisions! :thinking:

Thanks a lot,


Hey Gareth

Balancing studying for a CCIE, working, and having a family is a great challenge indeed, and it does complicate things. I wish you success in your endeavours, and whatever you decide, we’re here to help you on your way.