Cisco Announces 5,000th CCDE (Survey)

OK, I admit it - 3 weeks of nothing but talking about buying lab gear in this blog has tired me out a little. I'm getting a little punchy, too much cold outside, not enough sun, too much time in the basement in front of the PC - it's time to go to the beach... soon, I hope. So, I'm taking a mental break from the lab series today, and talking about what will likely be a very interesting unfolding progression of how the Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) certification rolls out, how well accepted it becomes, and how popular it will be down the road. And I want your opinions as well.

So let's get out the old crystal ball, and look into the future. Today I'll ramble about where I think CCDE will be 5 years from now - that's plenty of time to find out if it's popular, or unpopular but really important, or a flop, or somewhere in between. Of course, if I was that good at predicting things, I'd be rich and sitting on the beach, instead dreaming about it. In the mean time, let me take an ever-so-small risk and predict what I'll think about CCDE 5 years from today. If for some reason I'm still blogging here 5 years from now, then we'll see how I did. Maybe even before then.

First off, I predict Cisco will get the grading of the lab (aka practical exam) right. Of course, "right" is subjective. But from what I could see from watching the Beta process, and the time/effort taken, articles, etc, I think they (Cisco) will make the CCDE practical as fair as, if not more fair (not easier, but fairer), than the CCIE practical exams.

(Since I'm imagining the future, I'm now imagining a target on my forehead... "as fair as the CCIE practical"? Did I write that somewhere where people might actually read it? What I mean is that I believe it's possible, due to the nature of what's being tested for CCDE, to strike a better balance between what Cisco publishes about how the lab will be graded, in comparison to the CCIE labs. I believe it's possible to be more open and fair at the same time, and I believe they're trying pretty hard to get it right.)

Back to CCDE - I predict CCDE will become the 2nd most popular expert-level Cisco cert compared to CCIE R/S. Here's why:

  • At least half of the Cisco SE force, maybe more, become well prepared for CCDE just by doing their jobs. (That's not really true for Cisco SE's and the CCIE exam.) I think once people think it's attainable, we'll see a lot of Cisco SE's go for CCDE.
  • Similarly, lots of channel SEs are in the same boat as Cisco SE's.
  • Linda Leung's article at Network World includes a quote from Cisco that may imply that you'll either learn what you need for CCDE on the job, or just not learn it. If that's true, then those with the right experience require significantly less prep to pass the CCDE lab as compared with the CCIE lab. And I think there's gobs of folks like that walking around the network world.

I predict Cisco will get it right, and CCDE well become another respected Cisco Expert level cert. I predict a lot of existing SE's will go get it. But what's it take to be 2nd place, behind CCIE R/S? Well, less than you might think. If you look at Cisco's CCIE statistics page, which as of today lists a last update in November 2007, there are 14,329 CCIE R/S, but 2nd place is 1207 CCIE Security. Think there's at least 12,070 Cisco SE's in the world? Me, too. So, CCDE would pass the current number of security CCIE's if just 1 in every 10 Cisco SE's passed CCDE in the next 5 years. Do the same math with channel SE's, with 1 out of 100... or maybe even 1 out of 500... getting CCDE.

So, I think the number is 5000 in 5 years. So, what do you think? Post away, or at a minimum, give an answer to this survey. Also, if you want to read more about CCDE, check out Michael Morris's post from yesterday, where he discusses CCDE again, and gives links to lots of other posts about it as well.

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