Cisco prepares written exams for pilot certifications

* More about Cisco’s planned CCDE and Architecture certifications

Cisco in September is expected to roll out the beta of its written exams for its latest certifications – the Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE). The certification, formally unveiled at Cisco’s Networkers customer and partner event in July, is on par with the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) designation, and demonstrate that individuals understand complex network design and architectures.

At Networkers, Cisco also outlined its plan for an elite Architecture certification that goes beyond the CCIE and CCDE. For more about that and the CCDE, read the posts about the new certifications by Cisco Subnet blogger, Michael Morris, who was one of 50 CCIEs invited to participate in Cisco’s unveiling of the two programs. (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3)

Morris explains that Cisco's goal is to get 200 people through the beta exam to have sufficient results to base decisions on. The “lab” element of the certification exam – whatever form that takes – will be available sometime next year.

Reader Gene Simpson, CCIE #15256, wrote in raising concerns that the two new certifications could cannibalize the CCIE program. He wrote:

“It’s surprising that Cisco would not include the new design certification as part of the CCIE program. Anything related to the CCIE gains a certain amount of credibility. In recent years, Cisco has successfully rolled out three new CCIE tracks: Security, Voice, and Storage that have all achieved publicity, recognition, and interest.

“The CCDE certification will have to achieve acceptance on its own, without leveraging the reputation and instant recognition of the CCIE. In an already crowded certification landscape, it will have to compete for the attention of potential candidates, and perhaps more importantly, it will have to compete against the CCIE for mindshare among IT professionals.

“The yet unnamed network architecture certification could be the beginning of the end for the CCIE. The damage to the CCIE could be two fold. By producing a certification beyond the CCIE, Cisco will be putting an end to the ‘top of the line’ reputation of the CCIE. But perhaps more importantly, the new network architecture certification and the CCDE could eliminate industry demand for the CCIE. An informal search of job search Web site shows over 50% of the reviewed positions looking for a CCIE involved network design.

“With the introduction of these two certifications, we could see the end of the CCIE’s reputation as the ‘Ultimate’ certification, and reduced demand for CCIEs to do network design. We could see the beginning of the end for the CCIE.”

Do you agree? Will you be participating in the beta exams? Let me know.

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