CCIE Service Provider v5.0 What, Why, When?

In this post, we will look at what is CCIE Service Provider v5.0, what comes with it, which technologies we need to learn, what is the difference between CCIE SP v4 and CCIE SP v5, why you should study for CCIE Service Provider v5, when you should study for CCIE SP exam, after which certificate you should aim it for, we will look at all of these questions.

What is the Cisco CCIE Service Provider v5 Exam?

The CCIE Service Provider v5 lab exam is testing skillsets related to the service Provider solutions integration, interoperation, configuration, and troubleshooting in complex networks. CCIE SP v5 is the latest version of the CCIE Service Provider lab exam. When the candidates pass this exam, they get their CCIE number. This certification syllabus covers most, if not all real-life Service Provider network technologies.

What is the difference between CCIE SP v4 and CCIE SP v5?

From the technology standpoint, the biggest difference between CCIE SPv4.1 and the CCIE SP v5.0 exam is Network Programmability and Automation Module. It is 20% of the entire exam, thus very important in the CCIE Service Provider exam.

CCIE SP Network Automation topics are as below:

CCIE SP Network Automation Topics

  • Design, deploy and optimize NSO service packages (Yang model, template-based, python-based, fastmap, reactive fastmap, CLI NEDs, NETCONF NEDs, NSO northbound integration using REST and RESTCONF).
  • Design NFV orchestration (NFVO) using NSO and ESC in an ETSI NFV architecture.
  • Design and deploy Model-driven telemetry on XR devices (Yang models, gRPC, GPB, device configuration, collection architecture)
  • Deploy and Optimize Ansible playbook scripts that interact with NSO, IOS-XE, and IOS-XR devices

The design module is the new section in CCIE SP v5 Exam

Another big difference between CCIE SP v4 and CCIE SP v5 is the Design Module. In the previous exam, there was no Design section. It was the biggest problem with the CCIE certifications in general. Because candidates were not tested whether they know Why they do the things they do. Why was not asked? Only what and how were covered in the CCIE Exams.

But similar to the CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure exam, the CCIE SP v5 exam as well comes with the 3 hours Design section anymore. Candidates will encounter business and technical requirements and the constraints of the company, and they will translate those requirements and the constraints into technical solutions.

How long does it take to study for the CCIE SP v5 Exam?

It depends on the candidate's current level of knowledge, how many hours he/she can spend on study daily basis, how is the understanding capability, and whether they receive professional help in terms of the online courses, community, and so on. Basically, if you are a CCNP level engineer and can spend a daily basis average of 2 hours, it would take less than 8-12 months to be ready for the CCIE SP v5 exam.

If you spend more time and you have a CCNP level background, for both traditional technologies and the evolving ones such as Assurance, Network Programmability, and Automation, then time could be reduced to a couple of months only, especially if you receive a good CCIE SP v5 training too. But make sure, they just don't cover the traditional technologies from an operational point of view but cover the traditional and the evolving technologies both from an operational and design point of view.

How much money CCIE SP v5 certified Engineer can make?

Again it depends on some criteria, such as which country, years of experience, which company they work for, and so on. It can start from 2k USD and can go up to 20k USD based on the above criteria but those who have CCIE SP v5 certification, because they will know most of the Enterprise network technologies as well, will be able to work both in Service Provider, Mobile Operators, but also they can work in the Enterprise companies as well.

Why you should study for the CCIE SP v5 Exam?

Because the CCIE SP v5 blueprint covers most of the technologies that Service Provider companies use, studying for the CCIE SP exam will prepare the students to the real-world SP network environments as well. And because the design module of the CCIE Service Provider requires design knowledge, CCIE SP candidates won't only learn the practical hands-on Cisco configuration but also they will have s good design mindset, of course, this might require professional help.

This quote explains it well I think:

Design and Architecture is a thing that you can't find on Google.

What is unique about the CCIE SP v5 Exam?

Network Programmability and Automation definitely very unique as technology and you have to know them very well because the big percentage - 20% of the CCIE SP exam is based on them. Also, as mentioned above in this post, Design is unique in the CCIE SP v5 exam, and any other previous version of the CCIE SP exam was not coming with the Design questions.

When you should study for CCIE SP Exam?

You will be able to show that you have not only operational experience but also you have good design knowledge for the SP network technologies. Also, CCIE SP-certified engineers will have a bigger chance to find a job in the market. Of course certificate and knowledge should go hand in hand. Last but not least CCIE SP study is a good starting point for the CCDE exam as well and the natural path for the CCIE SP certified engineers is the CCDE certificate.

Which Online Training Course for the CCIE SP v5 Exam do you recommend?

Orhan Ergun's CCIE SP v5.0 certification preparation program covers all the CCIE SP v5.0 exam topics both from theory, hands-on practice, and DESIGN points of view as well. Most, if not all CCIE SP training courses only cover the practical aspect without the DESIGN part, and they definitely don't cover or cover different things than what CCIE SP Automation and Programmability part requires.

Also, check traditional parts as well, such as MVPNs, Segment Routing, and many other technologies should be covered in great detail with real-life information point of view too for complete understanding.

Created by
Orhan Ergun

Orhan Ergun, CCIE/CCDE Trainer, Author of Many Networking Books, Network Design Advisor, and Cisco Champion 2019/2020/2021

He created OrhanErgun.Net 10 years ago and has been serving the IT industry with his renowned and awarded training.

Wrote many books, mostly on Network Design, joined many IETF RFCs, gave Public talks at many Forums, and mentored thousands of his students.  

Today, with his carefully selected instructors, OrhanErgun.Net is providing IT courses to tens of thousands of IT engineers. 

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