“Should I get a second CCIE, or a CCDE?”
A number of people have asked me this recently; in the process of answering those questions, I’ve developed a couple of lines of reasoning that I thought worth sharing here. No, I’ve not been posting much recently — I’m wrapped up in a bunch of different projects with Cisco Press, as well as building some classes for Winter and Spring, so…
“The CCIE is better known, and seen as valuable, while the CCDE is lesser known, so HR folks and hiring managers don’t place much value on it.”
While I understand the sentiment, I don’t think the right solution is to avoid the CCDE. Much rather those among us who are CCDEs should spend a little time explaining what it is, so the HR folks and hiring managers “get it.” As an analog, consider the early days of the CISSP, or even the CCIE itself. I can well remember the days when the CCIE was an “unknown,” and even the days when the CCIE was seen as a “paper tiger,” and hence not really worth much (I wonder if the CCIE has actually lost that reputation completely still?)
“The CCDE isn’t on par with the CCIE in the Cisco Partner Program.”
First, this really isn’t true — the last I checked, a CCDE can fill in the same “slot” towards partner status as a CCIE. Partners aren’t looking for CCDE’s because customers aren’t looking for CCDE’s. But when was the last time you asked a partner if they had a CCDE on board in the RFP process? Until you ask, the demand won’t be there, and until the demand is there, partners aren’t going to see the value of the CCDE.
I’ll take this one step farther: when was the last time you asked your local SE when they’re going to get their CCDE? Or your AS engineer? I can well remember the days when customers would only talk to a CCIE in the TAC. If you’re in a position as a customer to influence certifications in AS, among SEs, or others, use your influence in the same way you would when calling the TAC.
“The CCIE is still seen as the overall certification, including design.”
I think Cisco needs to clarify the marketing here, but, IMHO, this is simply not true. I’ve been involved with both programs for years, serving on the CCIE Content Advisory Group, writing questions for the CCIE (after I failed the recert and whined about the quality of the questions!), helping with lab scenarios for the CCIE practical. Everyone on the CCDE “core team,” the team that spent 5+ years developing the CCDE, has been involved in the CCIE at some point or another.
And we were intentional about designing the CCDE so it’s different. We intentionally targeted a different method of building the content, a different way of looking at the material, and a different way of asking the questions.
The CCIE is not a design exam. The CCDE is.
“Getting another CCIE broadens my knowledge, which will help me get a CCDE (eventually).”
There is a lot of overlap in the topics covered between the various CCIE tests and the CCDE. But beyond the technology, the tests are completely different. Being an underachiever, and only having one CCIE (R&S 2635 —but then again, there was only one CCIE when I took it!), I can’t really speak to how much a second CCIE is going to prepare you for the CCDE. Perhaps if you have voice, it might be useful to take Route/Switch.
Or maybe it won’t. Beyond the base line of understanding the technology, design isn’t deployment and troubleshooting. I question the value of a second CCIE as a “study tool” for the CCDE. While I agree that breadth is a good thing to have as a network engineer, I’m not certain stacking up CCIEs is going to give you the type of breadth you need for the CCDE.
So, those are my thoughts on the question at hand. Agree? Disagree? I’m always willing to be wrong, but I think we need to stop treating the CCDE as an “uber CCIE,” and start treating it like what it is — a completely different certification in a completely different field of study.