I know several former CCIE-certified individuals who have let their certifications lapse. Most did it because their careers had taken them (at least temporarily) far enough away from the technical realm to make recertification difficult. The easy decision at the time was to forego the effort of recertification. In a few of these cases, circumstances eventually led them back into the technical field, where I’m sure they regretted letting the CCIE certification go dark. Interestingly, I’ve never heard of anyone going back to take the lab to restore their CCIE certification.
Is recertification difficult? Sure, at times it can be. The first three times I recertified my CCIE, I took the old CCIE WAN Switching exam. I would have taken it a fourth time, but the track was retired in 2006. Because I was in a somewhat non-technical role, I decided to take the “easy” way out and recertify with the CCIE R/S exam. Somehow I forgot about the “S” part, and went into the exam woefully unprepared for the switching questions. My score report was a bit lopsided, with high marks for Routing, Security, etc, but extremely low marks for Switching. I did not pass. After a significant study break I retook the exam and passed. Since then, I’ve taken the CCIE Security exam and the CCDE Written. This summer I plan to take the CCDE Written again at Cisco Live. I won’t say I’ll never take another CCIE recertification exam, but I think it is highly likely that I’ll continue retaking the CCDE Written for my future recertification requirements.
There is one certification that I have let lapse. In 2003, I earned the CISSP certification. At the time I was performing contract work at General Electric, and there was a lot of talk about moving my work offshore. I felt it was the right time to add some new credentials to my resume, and security was a hot field. About a year later I found a new opportunity that did not require my CISSP credentials, so I had no strong reason to keep my certification active. I was also quite disappointed by the convoluted continuing education requirements and the yearly renewal fee. For that matter, I don’t know anyone who has been satisfied with the CISSP program. I may be too cynical, but it seems like a profit center for ISC2, rather than certification program.