Insight on the New Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) - Part II

As I mentioned in my post the other day about the CCDE, there was an initial Q&A session with about 50 CCIEs at Networkers last week that gave an overview of Cisco's intention for the CCDE. During the Q&A (and based on an invitation e-mail sent earlier) Cisco highlighted the following key points:

  • Cisco has identified a need for certifying individuals with a high degree of experience and expertise in designing and architecting large-scale networks (over several hundred routers) at the routing layer.

  • The CCIE, while an extremely well respected certification, focuses on the device level configuration and operation of Cisco equipment. Network design is not part of those tests. Furthermore, for experienced design engineers and architects, the CCIE tracks do not fit their roles and needs anymore, yet the CCIE is the only avenue for industry recognition for people at their level. The concept for this certification came about because some of Cisco's earliest CCIEs are no longer interested in the CCIE's product and configuration focus since that is not part of their job anymore.

  • The new CCDE will be on par with the existing CCIE programs. It will have a written exam and then a "performance oriented scenario test which assesses a practitioner's advanced network design skills". The "scenario" format or process has not been developed yet. The intent is not to make it a "lab", but focus it on design. Thoughts about responding to an RFP or project plan were presented as options during the Q&A. The goal of the CCDE is to provide incentives for experienced network design practitioners to continue professional development.

  • The Network Infrastructure Architect (which is not officially named yet) will be feature a board review. Candidates to the board would have already completed the CCDE. The board would be made up of industry experts; likely Cisco employees, but not required. A candidate would have to present and defend a network design and architecture to the board. The expectation is the board review would be extremely rigorous, only for the most experienced engineers.

I'll have one more post about the CCDE and Architecture certification in a few days. That will detail the engineers' comments during the Q&A and information on the CCDE Written Exam. Let's just say, the comments were lively...positive....but lively. (read Part III)

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