Cisco finally updates the CCDA certification

That's right - demonstrate your updated skills of network design today!

I have been waiting years for Cisco Systems to refresh their popular Design Associate certification, and that day has finally come!


The new exam number is 200-310. The old exam, 640-846, features a last day to test of December 14, 2015. The great news is the new exam is live right now and you can start studying for it immediately. 

In order to obtain the CCDA, you do need to meet an important prerequisite. You must possess a valid CCENT or a valid CCNA Routing and Switching. Of course, you can also have any CCIE certification act as a prerequisite.

As you might guess, this new certification covers much more in the area of modern data center and cloud technologies. This was the largest omission in the previous version. 

Here is a high-level summary of what you need to master for this new associate-level certification: 

  • Design methodologies
    • Describe the Cisco Design lifecycle 
    • Characterize an existing network 
    • SNMP, NBAR, NetFlow
    • Top-down and bottom-up design approaches
  • Design objectives
    • Modularity
    • Hierarchy
    • Scalability
    • Resiliency
    • Fault domains
  • Addressing and Routing Protocols in an Existing Network
    • Scalable addressing
    • Effective IP addressing scheme
    • Routing protocol scalability considerations
    • Routing protocol expansion
  • Enterprise Network Design
    • Design a basic campus
    • Design a basic enterprise network
    • Design a basic branch network
  • Considerations for Expanding an Existing Network
    • Wireless network architectures
    • Security controls integration 
    • Traffic flow
    • Voice and video
    • Virtualization
    • Network programmability (ACI)
    • Data center components

I thought this new exam was pretty decent. It consists of multiple choice-only style questions (currently), and time pressure was not an issue. I would love to see Cisco eliminate some of the questions regarding specific device model types and their capabilities. This is at times appropriate when discussing something like a Nexus 5K versus a 2K, but it seems strange when you ask something along the lines of which WLC supports a specific technology. 

I hope you will consider this exciting new certification, or at least pursuing the knowledge it contains! 

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