CCDE is the de facto expert level, vendor neutral, and infrastructure network design certification in the industry.
I have been helping to CCDE community for a while through my packet pushers articles and podcasts.
I started couple months before to write about network design and CCDE related articles on my blog http://orhanergun.net as well. You should visit the blog and subscribe to my email list if you are interested in network design, CCDA,CCDP,CCDE or CCAr certificates.
I have been receiving below questions about CCDE program from many of my readers, students for a while.
As you will see, many of them require official statement of Cisco. Thus I asked those questions to Elaine Lopes who is a CCDE and CCAr Program Manager of Cisco.
I worked with Elaine for CCDE related projects, She is very helpful, focused and hard worker person. Thanks again Elaine to answers my questions in detail !
Elaine Lopes: Many network implementation and operations failures have a root cause of poor network design. What the CCDE certification does is to assess real-life, network design skills, as well as design principles such as network resiliency, scalability and manageability, but mainly assess network designs that meet business requirements! CCDE requires a deep knowledge of technologies, but differently from CCIE. CCIE focuses on implementation and troubleshooting as compared to CCDE which focuses on design by making technology decisions and justifying the choice made.
What is the process of CCDE, what are prerequisites?
Elaine Lopes: There are no pre-requisites for the CCDE certification, although it is recommended that candidates have 7+ years of experience in network design in diverse environments. The CCDE certification process consists of passing a 2-hour written exam at an authorized testing center to become eligible to take the 8-hour practical exam which is offered 4 times a year at a specialized Pearson VUE Professional Center.
What is the value proposition of CCDE?
Elaine Lopes: CCDE is the de facto expert level, vendor neutral, and infrastructure network design certification in the industry. Candidates preparing for CCDE gain extensive network design knowledge that can be applied to the increasingly complex network designs.
CCDE in general related with Routing & Switching and Service Provider oriented, is there any plan for another track, will we see CCDE-SP, CCDE-Voice in the future?
Elaine Lopes: There are currently no plans for introducing new CCDE tracks in the future.
Elaine Lopes: CCAr certifies infrastructure network architects who collaborate with the customer’s senior executives to create the vision for their network and how it will meet their business objectives, but mainly why! The CCAr is able to document the architectural specification that guides the technical design for the network, giving the customer a more tangible view of how the vision of the network will be created.
What is the process of CCAr, what are prerequisites?
Elaine Lopes: In order to be eligible to register for the CCAr certification, candidates need to be CCDE-certified in good standing. The first step of the certification process is the Application and Interview, where the candidate submits the summary of a finalized architecture where he or she assumed a significant senior role to a panel of judges. . If the judges determine the candidate is accepted into the program, the candidate moves to the second and final step, the Board exam, in which the candidate needs to create an architecture based on the provided scenario.
What Cisco is doing to help CCAr Candidates? There is no official training for CCAr, how should candidate study?
Elaine Lopes: There are no study materials for CCAr. This is done intentionally, as the certification assesses architectural skills and assumes that the candidate possess both solid network design knowledge (the CCDE pre-requisite), and the required experience to be able to effectively translate complex business strategies into infrastructure requirements and clearly communicate and advocate the proposed architecture.
CCAr exam cost is too high; why is that and do you have any plan to optimize it?
Elaine Lopes: The CCAr program is meant to be a small program, which was built upon assessing architectural experience, not easily or effectively assessed in other ways than through a Board exam. The high cost comes from the need to conduct a detailed review and analysis of the candidates proposed project. This process cannot be automated and must be conducted by a panel of network architecture experts.
Which skills should candidate have to become CCAr after CCDE? Is there a difference in blueprint?
Elaine Lopes: CCAr candidates need to show evidence they have business and communications skills as much as technical expertise, the latter being the realm of CCDE. Each blueprint reflects the corresponding job role, check out these links: CCDE written exam blueprint: https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/docs/DOC-13054
CCDE practical exam blueprint: https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/docs/DOC-13059
CCAr blueprint: https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/docs/DOC-6356
What are your recommendations to CCDE and CCAr candidates?
Elaine Lopes: Both certifications are job-role based, so on-the-job experience is key to achieve them. For CCDE, especially the practical exam, take time to read the provided exhibits and connect with the story. For CCAr, make sure to choose an architectural project where you played a significant role and collaborated with senior executives until completion on a large scale architectural project.