Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cisco Certified Design Expert

Just got internal email regarding the new Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) certification. From the email:

"The CCDE certification recognizes those with expert-level knowledge and skills in Infrastructure Design. CCDE is parallel to CCIE in terms of the expertise required and certification difficulty. It emphasizes network design principles and theory at the Infrastructure Layer and recognizes designers with the knowledge to assess network business requirements and translate them into technical specifications for successful designs."

Hmm, interesting. Especially for a Network Consulting Engineer who must breathe and live with network design everyday.

From the email that is released to public:

"What is a CCDE? The successful CCDE-certified individual must have a demonstrated an ability to analyze and develop solutions which address planning, design, integration, optimization, operations, security and on-going support focused at the infrastructure of large 1000+ node customer networks."

So.. is it 1000+ node for Enterprise or SP customers?

"Why Cisco Created the CCDE Program? Cisco created the CCDE program to respond to market demand in recognizing existing senior-level Network Designers and Architects while simultaneously providing senior Operations Engineers and Support Engineers with a validated professional development path into an Architectural role."

I'm just wondering how the lab test format will be. From the written test information, it seems like the topics covered are more into technologies on Service Provider or large Enterprise that provides network services for another companies (i.e. network resiliency, MPLS, TE, VPLS, L2TPv3, MPLS QoS etc and no common campus network features such as VLAN and switching, trunking, DHCP snooping, port security, etc). So will the lab exam similar as CCIE SP lab plus some design activities? Or just testing the knowledge in deploying common features that normally are deployed in any 1000+ nodes customer network? How to measure the design skill from each candidate?

I believe the real design skill is on the capability to capture all customer requirements correctly and to select the right features to answer each requirement accordingly. Knowing how to deploy the features is important, but knowing which features to deploy to address the requirements is far more important. So in the lab there might be story based scenarios to explain customer requirements and the candidate must figure out which features to answer and able to deploy the features successfully in order to build a complete network infrastructure. If required, there should be a presentation session in the end of the exam for the candidate to explain why he selects certain features to answer the requirements. Whatever format the lab will be, this new CCDE program is a breakthrough step from Cisco to accommodate market demand on Network Designers and Architects.

Let's just wait until Cisco releases the lab exam blueprint.


Anonymous said...

This is Cisco's second attempt at a design CCIE. I am not sure if you remember but in the begining of the CCIE program (when #'s where in the lower 4 digits) there was a CCIE Desing ( but Cisco retired it because the amount of equipment required to validata an engineers skills in design became enormous. I wonder how they will prevent the same thing this go around. Imagine 7200's, 7600's, GSR's, CRS-1's, SIPs, SPAs all on the same lab. That would be interesting. With that said I am sure Cisco has a good plan this go around.

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