CCDE Cisco Live The Aftermath

My Top of Mind


This week has been intense in Las Vegas, and there’s #NeverBeenABetterTime to be at Cisco Live (or should it be Cisco Luv?).


My Cisco Live week in numbers

28,000 participants expected:  Wow! What an amazing turnout.  What’s even more amazing is that this number was possibly higher after registration started on Saturday.

3 tech sessions delivered: I delivered these sessions alongside some very talented speakers. TECCCDE-3005 CCDE: The Cisco Certified Design Expert with Alvaro Retana, Russ White and Tom Whaley (not recorded), LTRCCDE-3006 CCDE Lab with Bruce Pinsky and Yuri Lukin (not recorded), and PSOCCIE-2000 Design your own CCIE Bootcamp with Concepcion Diaz, Lindsay Simancek, Michael Salvo, Stephen Orr and Vanessa Sulikowski.



1 Lunch&Learn session hosted: We were able to interact with some potential CCDE candidates during the CCDE Certification: Insights from the Trenches Lunch & Learn session with Aaron Aday and Daniel Dib.



2 Cisco Press author signings participation: I had the opportunity to meet some candidates and speak with the authors during the author signings for CCDE Study Guide with author Marwan al-Shawi  and The Art of Network Architecture with authors Denise Donohue and Russ White





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2 interviews: I was able to interview alongside two of the industry leading experts Andre Laurent and Marwan al-Shawi about the first book preparing for CCDE, the CCDE Study Guide. My next interview was an amazing experience, an in-promptu interview with 40 questions while the Cisco Learning Facebook live video stream was broadcasting with Daniel Dib, Errol Robichaux, Jason Gooley, Daniel Dib and Errol Robichaux.

Most importantly, I connected with an incredible number of CCDEs and CCDEs-to-be, old friends, and got to know another incredible number of folks.



What I’ve learned (or confirmed)

  • How to best prepare for a certification. I spoke to many people who provided great insights on how to approach the certification exams and being successful:
    • Thomas Edison discovered a thousand ways how not to invent the light bulb. You only fail if you give up, so pull yourself together, do lessons learned, make adjustments to your original plan and execute it!
    • Your background doesn’t matter, your determination and attitude do.
    • Don’t be the smartest dude in the room – Your experience should be used to help elevate others and should never be used to make others feel bad about themselves.
  • Network design and CCDE are attracting more and more engineers. Certifications are not a one size fits all thing, but rather everyone should choose the certification which best suits one’s needs. They either serve to validate one’s current skills or to prepare for the next career step. Choose carefully, and if it is network design, then consider CCDE. If it’s about implementation, troubleshooting or operations, go CCIE.
  • Technology evolution. It’s happening now, and it won’t slow down. If you haven’t come across Cisco DNA (Cisco Digital Network Architecture) and DEVNET (Cisco’s Developer Program), you haven’t come to Cisco Live 2016 at all . We at Learning@Cisco are taking a proactive approach to equip you to navigate this evolution by introducing evolving technologies into all CCIE and CCDE written exams (check out the Myth Busters and Evolving Technologies blog ), starting with cloud, network programmability and IoT. Once each track revises, it will incorporate these technologies as pertinent into their “core” blueprint domain.
  • Beware of rumors. There are a lot of unofficial materials out there and unavoidably rumors too. Carefully choose your sources of information.
  • About shoes. I overestimated how comfortable my shoes were, they were obviously not ready for the Mandalay Bay Convention Center distances…


My Top of Mind

  • It’s all about YOU. The future is calling. If you visit, you’ll notice new job titles which didn’t exist that long ago and these jobs are much more strategic in nature. This is a trend that will continue indefinitely which is why you’ll need continuous learning, no matter the modality. Stay connected with us and opt-in (it’s not only marketing fluff!) as we’ll partner with you on your education needs and together we’ll drive the market transitions.
  • The community. Remember the motto “We are better together than we would ever be apart”? Very true. No better way to prepare for a certification or advance your career than being part of a community. What are the top reasons attendees chose to come to Cisco Live? To get education, to network (no pun intended) with other fellow techies, exchange experiences and have lots of fun together.
  • Engineers are on career crossroads. When choosing your next career move, consider being at the intersection of your passion, your strengths and the market demand. Network programmability for example will only make your job redundant if you stay put. Pose questions to the community members to find out what the job role you’re interested in actually is like. Certifications are valuable in the marketplace, and remember that they are a journey not a destination, and we from Learning@Cisco need to (and will) stay relevant so YOU can be relevant on the marketplace



After a long week of connecting to various people, old and new friends I feel energized! I hope your experience at Cisco Live provided you a clear understanding of the directions that Cisco technology is going, the education you were looking for, increased your networking community reach and allowed you to put names to faces. Hope to see you again next year!



What is your top of mind? Is there a topic you want to hear about on my upcoming blogs? Add it to the comments field!

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




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