CCIE Pursuit Blog

January 23, 2008

Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) Goes Live

I received an email from Cisco today stating that the CCDE program has gone live [emphasis mine]:

Recognizing the Sr. Level Network Designer

Introducing Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) Certification
Responding to strong customer demand to assess and recognize Sr. Level Network Architecture skills in the market, Cisco is introducing a new premiere knowledge based certification focused on Network Infrastructure Design. – The Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE). The CCDE is an expert-level certification with content emphasis on expertise in network architecture, which is the capstone for Cisco’s design curriculum. In addition, passing the CCDE certification demands competencies of an experienced, seasoned, networking professional with a proven ability to interface with customers at the executive-level to ensure that business requirements are incorporated into successful designs.
What is a CCDE?
The successful CCDE-certified individual must have a demonstrated an ability to analyze and develop solutions which address planning, design, integration, optimization, operations, security and on-going support focused at the infrastructure of large 1000+ node customer networks. 
The CCDE certification recognizes those with expert-level knowledge and skills in Infrastructure Design. The CCDE program is parallel to the CCIE program in terms of the expertise required and certification exam difficulty. It emphasizes network design principles and architectural theory of the network infrastructure and recognizes designers with the knowledge to assess network business requirements and translate them into technical specifications for successful designs.
Why Cisco Created the CCDE Program
Cisco created the CCDE program to respond to market demand in recognizing existing senior-level Network Designers and Architects while simultaneously providing senior Operations Engineers and Support Engineers with a validated professional development path into an Architectural role.

Cisco has found that organizations employing strong Network Designers and Architects consistently develop networks that are easier to maintain and troubleshoot. Properly executed, a well-designed network infrastructure aligned with a network-centric corporate business strategy leads to greater levels of efficiency and effectiveness – as well as potential competitive advantages like increased up-time, easier troubleshooting, increased performance, and simpler enhancements.
What are the exam requirements to attain CCDE?
To attain a CCDE certification a candidate will be tasked with passing two exams; a Qualification Exam, and a Practical exam.
Similar to the CCIE program, there are no prerequisites to taking the Qualification exam and it is a 2 hour multiple-choice exam available at any worldwide Pearson VUE testing center. The Qualification exam, (ADVDESIGN) 352-001, assesses fundamental knowledge of networking theories, principles, protocols and technology.
Visit the CCDE program site for more details regarding the Qualification Exam (
The second exam, the practical exam, is still currently in development.  It will be an eight-hour, practical scenario-based exam available in late 2008.Bookmark the CCDE programs page as more details are expected to follow as the development team progresses.
The qualification exam is now available at Pearson VUE testing facilities worldwide.

More questions? Access the latest information on CCDE at

There has been a lot of speculation about this certification since Networkers.  I initially heard that the second step to qualification would be for sponsored candidates to go before a board and pitch/defend a network design.  It looks that has been scrapped in favor of an exam more in line with the CCIE lab.  We’ll need to wait until the end of the year to find out for sure though.

How long before we start seeing Monster posting requiring CCDE certification?   🙂



  1. I think they’ve gone back and forth about that for a while. I sat on some of the discussion at Networkers, and I took the discussion of a board certification to be part of another, bigger exam. I think that one has been put on the back burner for the time being, as they want to make sure they the CCDE finished first. A lot of the talk about that board cert was focused around having the CCDE be a kind of pre-req, so I’m sure they want to get a few of them out of the way first.

    Comment by Tom Hollingsworth — January 23, 2008 @ 10:09 am | Reply

  2. @ Tom,

    Thank you for that clarification. I probably misunderstood what certification the board discussions were about. Another, bigger, board certification with a prereq of the CCDE sounds like an absolute beast. I think that they should call it the CCID – Cisco Certified Internetwork Deity.

    Comment by cciepursuit — January 23, 2008 @ 10:25 am | Reply

  3. Funny thing is, you aren’t far off. The working name was CCIA (Cisco Certified Internetwork Architect). I jokingly told them they need to choose a different term, unless they want to be identified with the Microsoft Architect program.

    Comment by Tom Hollingsworth — January 23, 2008 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

  4. Have you taken a look at the course outline for the written?
    Its the most comprehensive of them all 😀
    Ip routing of CCIE R$S depth
    MPLS and QOS of CCIE SP depth
    Security approaching Security CCIE track
    and then monitoring part is going where no CCIE program has gone before:D

    CCDE seems to be s super CCIE believe me:D

    Comment by Barooq — January 23, 2008 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  5. The exam seems to have a heavy focus on MPLS, but isn’t that more important for someone working at a Service Provider?

    Comment by Milton Moore — January 26, 2008 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  6. It seems a broad approach – the difficulty will depend on how deep it all goes. I can see that this will be something that CCIEs might want to add to their portfolio – I certainly think it would be better for me instead of a second CCIE cert. Especially as the written can act as my CCIE recertification exam.

    Comment by Terry Jack — January 30, 2008 @ 6:46 am | Reply

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