CCDE: Myth Busters and Evolving Technologies
How the recent "Expert-Level Certification Program Evolution" announcement affects CCDE


Historically, Cisco expert-level certifications assessed mature technologies on their respective areas: the CCIE program assesses the “how to deploy” implementation, troubleshooting and operations skills, and the CCDE program assesses the “what to deploy where, and mainly why” design skills.


The pace of technology change has been steady and fast, but never as fast as it is today. Who will quickly drive the design, implementation and operations of evolving technologies? We at Learning@Cisco know the answer all too well: the CCIEs and CCDEs out there!!  You need to be equipped to perform the job roles of the future or you will be left behind - I personally prefer the former . If you think about it many jobs of the past don’t exist anymore, new ones have been recently created (for example data scientists), and others are yet to be created.


With this in mind, Cisco recently announced a new framework to validate skills required by industries to meet the demand for evolving technologies and business insights. Changes to the Expert-Level certifications include assessment of the evolving technologies cloud, network programmability and IoT in a modular format. This "Evolving Technologies" domain will be changed more frequently than the other domains as these new technologies evolve. This is a paradigm shift, it’s critical for us to stay relevant so YOU can stay relevant in the marketplace – what got you here won’t take you there. Revised written exams with evolving technologies domain will be available beginning July 25, 2016.  To find out more about the official Cisco Next Gen information visit the Expert-Level Program Evolution page.


How will the Evolving Technologies domain be integrated into the CCDE written exam?

  • Evolving technologies will account for 10% of the written exam on July 25, 2016 and beyond

  • They will not be directly tested on the practical exam, but you can expect CCDE scenarios to include designing the network infrastructure to support new technologies, as it already does

  • They will not be design-specific, that is, all CCIE tracks and CCDE will have similar questions on the Evolving Technologies domain

  • They will be at the “understand” cognitive level (as opposed to application of knowledge)

  • The “original” written Exam Topic domains don’t change, but will be a little scaled down to accommodate the new domain.

  • CCDE is vendor-neutral, however this new section can present both standard-based and Cisco-proprietary technologies.


Comparison between the CCDE Written Exam Topics v2.0 and v2.1:

v2.0 Exam Topics (before July 25, 2016)Percentagev2.1 Exam Topics (July 25, 2016 and beyond)Percentage
1.0 Layer 2 Control Plane26%1.0 Layer 2 Control Plane24%
2.0 Layer 3 Control Plane37%2.0 Layer 3 Control Plane33%
3.0 Network Virtualization17%3.0 Network Virtualization15%
4.0 Design Considerations20%4.0 Design Considerations18%
--5.0 Evolving Technologies10%


And how do you prepare for these evolving technologies? Download the updated, v2.1 Streamlined Preparation Resources spreadsheet on the CCDE Written Exam Study Materials.


Do you have unanswered questions about CCDE and the Expert-Level Certification Program Evolution announcement? Is there a topic you want to hear about on my upcoming blogs? Add it to the comments field!




Elaine Lopes is the CCDE and CCAr Certifications Program Manager, and she’s passionate about how lives can change for the better through education and certification.



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