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_C13: Document Content

Cisco Certified Architect Certification


Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr®)

The Cisco Certified Architect certification recognizes expertise of network architects who can and effectively translate business strategies of organizations into evolutionary technical strategies.


The Big Picture




Business requirements

Represents what the customer wants to do, from a business perspective, and why. It describes the customer's business use cases, any constraints such as budget, laws and regulations, skills of the support organization etc. , and how all the use cases fit together.


Technical requirements

Answers the "How" question. Once the architect understands the business requirements, the next step is to describe the properties of the network – the technical requirements - required to support the use cases.


Without an architecture, design is just a guess:



Observe the definition and responsibilities of the CCAr below, in addition to the CCAr Exam Topics to determine if you are already working at that capacity.


Defining the Cisco Certified Architect

The CCAr is able to develop and articulate the vision for a network and align the vision with the business’ strategic goals and requirements. The CCAr is able to document the network vision in the form of an architectural specification that guides the technical design for the network. To accomplish these tasks, the CCAr must be adept at discovering business goals and requirements, determining the architectural or functional specifications (e.g., the properties and characteristics of the network) to support those goals, and communicating those decisions and rational to technical and non-technical audiences. Further, the CCAr must be adept at communicating with executives, management, and operations, be familiar with day-to-day business operations and their relationship with the network, and able to translate network capabilities into business impact, and business issues into network impact.


Responsibilities of the Cisco Certified Architect

  • Develop, document, and communicate a long-term vision for a company's information technology infrastructure and the short-term steps to achieve that vision
  • Define the strategy and execution priorities for the network infrastructure and associated services and applications
  • Understand a company's business and the impact of that business on the architecture, design and operation of the company's network
  • Define and communicate the priorities of individual network architecture elements with rough time frames
  • Decompose a business problem into its component parts and determine how each part interacts with or impacts the other parts
  • Lead teams consisting of architects in other disciplines (e.g
  • application, data center) and other roles (e.g
  • business, financial, facilities, marketing) to understand the applications and services required to meet the business goals and to specify the properties of the network to support those applications and services
  • Identify conflicts between requirements that support business processes
  • Respond to requests with reasonable rough estimates of impact, time, feasibility, practicality, and alignment with business goals



Valid CCDE along with a thorough understanding of networking infrastructure principles.

Recommended Training and Experience

There are no formal training programs available for the Cisco Certified Architect certification. Candidates must hold a valid CCDE certification and submit an application with their qualifications, before attempting the board examination. A valid CCDE certification is required to ensure the CCAr applicant has the ability to address issues from both a technical and business perspective. Approval to take the board exam is based on depth and breadth of architecture experience. View the Cisco Certified Architect Exam Topics for more details.


Steps to Certification (login to access this content)

Step One: Application and Interview

Applicants for CCAr are required to submit a resume (subject to verification), a summary of an architecture project, and a non-refundable fee of US$ 3,750. Architect Board members, appointed by Cisco, will interview and evaluate applicants to decide whether they are qualified to proceed to the in-person Board Review. Certification is a selective process and not all applicants are expected to qualify for the Board Review.


Step Two: Board Review

Once qualified by the Architect Board, candidates must submit their final payment of US$11,250 to obtain the architecture challenge materials and schedule their live Board Review.



    Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) certifications are valid for five years. Cisco Certified Architects will remain certified as long as they continue to contribute to maintaining the Cisco Certified Architect Certification program. Current recertification policies require Cisco Certified Architects to complete qualifying events within the 24 months preceding the expiration deadline. Qualifying events include:


    1. Contribution to the development lifecycle.
      • Significant participation in the creation of new exam content –OR-
      • Significant review / refinement of existing content –OR-       
        • Involvement in future direction of the program




      2. Participation as a judge in a candidate evaluation
        • Application review / interview for TWO (2) candidates (in the case where the candidate’s application IS NOT approved to progress to the board review) –OR-
        • Application review / interview and in-person board review for ONE (1) candidate (in the case where the candidate’s application IS approved to progress to the board review)




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