Happy First BirthdayRetrospective of the Unleashing CCDE
First Anniversary


Time flies, I can hardly believe I started the Unleashing CCDE blog one year ago! I had a clear goal in mind: to help CCDE candidates prepare for the CCDE practical exam. Not an easy task, but I never meant to take you on this journey single-handedly. Over the past year, I’ve been able to provide you with knowledge from my own experiences but mainly I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to count on many top-notch subject matter experts to hop on this ride with us, like Cary Chen, Joe Galimi, Martin Duggan, Marwan al-Shawi, Michael Kowal, Mohamed Sobair, Nelson Figueroa, Stephen Lynn, Virgilio Spaziani and Yuri Lukin. My plan to achieve this goal was to post bi-monthly articles that touched upon network design as a discipline as compared to design guides for technologies.


We talked about the following topics in the first year:


Network Design Nuggets: The idea has been to cover the tridimensional aspects of CCDE. The first dimension is the network design lifecycle: analyze design requirements, develop network designs, implement network design, and validate and optimize network design.  The second dimension is the network design use cases: add technology or service, replace technology or service, merge and divest, scaling, green field and design failure.  The third dimension comprises the same technologies tested on the CCDE written exam. I didn’t plan to cover technologies much on the blogs, as technologies come and go, but design principles stay.


Applied Network Design: Theory is great and all, but I felt some practice through design challenges would go a long way, and not surprisingly, these have become the most popular Unleashing CCDE blogs:


CCIE and CCDE: There are no pre-requisites to CCDE, but I get many questions about the necessity of being a CCIE prior to CCDE. From my perspective, the knowledge of technologies and experience CCIEs have is very beneficial and can expedite the achievement of the CCDE certification. However, given that the focus of CCDE is the assessment of design skills, the CCIE mindset can be harmful to achieving the CCDE certification. The following blogs touched upon the differences between the two sibling Cisco expert-level certifications, CCIE and CCDE:


Preparation Methodology: What does it take to achieve the CCDE certification goal? Discipline, methodology and what has helped real life candidates be successful on their pursuit to the CCDE certification: New Year Resolution . Knowing what the question types are that you will encounter on the CCDE practical exam also goes long ways: Myth Busters and the CCDE Practical Exam Question Types


Network Design-related Topics: The Unleashing CCDE blog aims to touch upon all things CCDE and network design, including topics you asked for: Cisco Validated Designs by Nelson Figueroa


CCDE News and Announcements: You can expect to see anything that’s new about CCDE in this category. I always want to simplify and demystify things, so when the Learning@Cisco Expert Certification’s team introduced the concept of Evolving Technologies, for example, it presented an opportunity for a blog: Myth busters and Evolving Technologies. I also wanted to share my top of mind after attending Cisco Live US 2016 on the blog Cisco Live – The Aftermath


Looking back, it’s been a great journey! I hope the Unleashing CCDE blog has helped you on your journey to achieve the CCDE certification and to refresh network design concepts during its first year.  Here’s to many more!


Now is the perfect time to find out which subjects have been the most beneficial to you, what your favorite blogs are, and how they’ve helped you! 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.