I first obtained my CCNA through a vocational program in high school. Ever since, I've been studying Cisco networking, progressing from the CCNA to CCNP to CCIE material. The entire time, I've been absently compiling a mental checklist of a few things that I feel Cisco could do to improve certification study.
Dynamips by Christophe Fillot, along with its entourage of enhancements, has quickly become a staple of Cisco labs everywhere. Students and engineers no longer have to hack together make-shift labs from end-of-life and beat up equipment purchased (out of pocket) on eBay; even a novice can command a fleet of enterprise routers into the most complex configurations imaginable. The benefits of a virtual lab are obvious and many, but "official" Cisco training continues to limp along on simulators like Packet Tracer, which can never hope to provide the same experience as the real IOS.
Sadly, Cisco's official stance on Dynamips appears to be nonexistent. Yes, there is the issue of image piracy to consider; however, this has been a problem since long before Dynamips emerged. Currently the legal issues of running legitimately obtained IOS images on unsupported platforms are murky at best, with most people benevolently assuming they are in the right by running IOS images obtained through a valid support contract.
What if Cisco were to release study images? Perhaps packet-per-second-limited IOS images available freely to students and engineers alike. Images which, while unsuitable for production use, offer complete exposure to IOS functionality. Cisco has much to gain from such a product; the Dynamips support community is already well-established, and promoting the use of Dynamips will only encourage more people to pursue higher-level certifications (read: more money for Cisco). A similar case could be made for Olive and Juniper.
Nail the Braindump Companies
Cisco is a pretty big company. You'd think they could spare a lawyer or two to legally destroy the braindump providers which plague the certification scene. Doing so would most likely result in a significant drop of certification exams taking place, but I feel this is something Cisco owes its certification holders, if not its own staff. In fairness, I have zero knowledge of intellectual property law, and this may be more difficult than it seems.
Include Real-World Information in Study Guides
Miscellaneous components of maintaining a Cisco network currently (as far as I'm aware) left uncovered by any mainstream certification track can leave significant gaps in an engineer's ability. Things like IOS licensing and support contract details, the image feature hierarchy, and how to compare hardware performance limits can prove extremely useful to know in day-to-day operations, but haven't been included in any study materials I've come across. These wouldn't need to be covered in much detail, but would be beneficial to work into the existing curricula, perhaps at the CCNP level.