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CCDE Certification Facts
The Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) is an expert-level certificate targeting network design engineers and all individuals in positions that demand accurate translation of business needs, operational constraints, and budgets into the design of desired solutions.
Target Audience and Exams to Pass
The general CCDE curriculum is tailored to suit expert designers willing to demonstrate their familiarity with the concepts of expanding design solutions for complex networks. Another group that would benefit from this training includes network engineers who are keen to verify their knowledge of network architecture design at a more advanced level. The technical acumen provided by this training ascertains that a design engineer can handle even the most challenging tasks as part of a continuing assignment in the design for network infrastructure. In general, candidates can complete the CCDE training in two major steps. Firstly, they will pass a qualifying exam, the CCDE 352-001. This is a 2-hour long test that covers specific areas of network design including tunneling, routing, cost, capacity, management, security, and Quality of Service (QoS). When we say this is the first step, we mean you must pass this test before scheduling the next one. With that being said, the second part of the qualification entails passing the lab evaluation, the CCDE practical exam v2.0. This is an 8-hour long practical test that justifies your ability to develop an infrastructure design in real-world scenarios. Here, the focus will be on finding out if the examinee is well conversant with the concepts of design requirements, analysis, and implementation.
Look at 352-001 Exam Details in Depth
In a nutshell, such an evaluation can be broken down into 5 major domains as highlighted in the course outline:
- Module 1: Control Plane of Layer 2 (24%)
This topic covers the description of a wide range of concepts including the mechanisms and techniques for fast convergence, protocols for mitigation & detecting loops, mechanisms for creating loop-independent topologies, and the impact of mechanisms of transport and how they interact with routing protocols. Also, it addresses the skills related to describing the concepts of multicast routing and the impact of fault resiliency alongside isolation when designing networks. In more detail, such a tested area will shed light on concepts like down detection, REP, flex links, virtualization, interface dampening, and the like.
- Module 2: Control Plane of Layer 3 (33%)
Such a domain is centered on the key technical tasks of describing the methods and terms of route aggregation, the usage and theoretical knowledge of layering network topology as well as abstracting network topology. What’s more, it will cover the tasks associated with describing the impact of fault resiliency and isolation on network reliability and design, defining the metric-centered traffic modification along with the flow, fast convergence mechanisms and techniques, factors influencing convergence, and the process of operating routing protocol for the unicast. Finally, the training will focus on the knowledge of analyzing operational complexity and costs, describing how routing protocols interact with topologies, outlining the concepts of multicast routing, and the concepts & operation of IPv6.
- Module 3: Virtualization of Networks (15%)
Network virtualization covers a description of tunneling technologies in Layer 2 & Layer 3 and an analysis of tunneling implementation. This implies the students should be familiar with a wide range of tunneling tasks such as tunneling to optimize traffic, security, network extension, resiliency, integrating protocol, selecting technology, and endpoint among the rest.
- Module 4: Considerations for Design (18%)
A topic like this will cover the technical tasks associated with analyzing different performance metrics in QoS, describing different forms of techniques available in QoS, identifying QoS strategies depending on the client needs, and identifying the requirements for managing networks as well as reporting applications. Other skills tested here include describing the protocols, tools, and technologies available for managing networks, describing the reference processes and models involved in managing networks, and outlining the best practices to follow when protecting networks among other topics. Finally, this section will evaluate mastery of tools and technologies used to manage identity, deploy IEEE 802.11 wireless, optical, and SAN fabric processes.
- Module 5: Evolving Technologies v1.1 (10%)
In conclusion, the 352-001 exam will address cloud concepts, cloud operations and infrastructure, network programmability (SDN), and the Internet of Things (IoT). In more detail, such a section will have a look at XaaS, the migration of workloads, compute virtualization, VNF, YANG, orchestration tools, git, SVN, and northbound & southbound APIs just to mention a few.
The CCDE certification is always likened to the network design job role and it's easy to see why. Thus, let's get to know what this technical role entails, in particular:
- Network Designer
Network designers create computer systems and networks for the organizations they work for. They design, maintain and develop customizable network interfaces to streamline the process of sharing information between clients besides ensuring effortless access to software solutions. That means you should possess the right combination of hard and soft skills and have a solid understanding of PC and network security to make a name for yourself in this industry. Today, network designers find their role in practically all sectors including the modern technology and telecommunication fields that are famed for fierce competition for the existing opportunities. This implies anyone keen to get into this role should be at the top of his/her game by getting the right credentials. With that being said, ZipRecruiter ranks network designers among the best paid IT professionals today with an approximate average salary of $90k per year in the USA. However, keep in mind that the salary estimates are never constant and the gross income will depend on other variables such as your experience level, other skills you possess, and the organization or company you are working with, and so, this figure can go up to $175k annually as mentioned by the same salary benchmark.
The CCDE is easily one of the most prestigious certificates an individual can obtain to design functional networks. It is the furthest you can go within the Cisco Design track and also the only certificate to validate network design engineers at this level. Naturally, candidates who have obtained this designation will waste no time and go after other advanced-level validations from such certification vendors as Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, and so on.