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If becoming a Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) has been somewhere on your bucket list for a while, you’ll have less excuses to keep postponing it next year. Cisco has recently announced that CCDE practical exam would soon be available at all PCC (Pearson Professional Centers) worldwide starting 20 February 2014. So, chances are that you will no longer have to travel too far to take up this exam challenge – a huge time and money saver!
Cisco strives to improve the flexibility of your CCDE exam experience by, firstly, increasing the number of exam locations from 8 to 275 (and counting). Secondly, when choosing your location, you will be able to register up to one day before the test date. Yet, Cisco encourages candidates to register at least 45 days in advance to ensure the exam site you need will be open for the required nine hours to administer the CCDE practical exam.
CCDE Practical Exam Topics:
1.0 Analyze Design Requirements – 36%
1.1 Analyze business requirements, conflicts, and constraints
- 1.1.a OPEX and CAPEX
- 1.1.b Project goals
- 1.1.c Lifecycle and return on investment (ROI)
- 1.1.d Business environment
- 1.1.e Compliance and policy
1.2 Analyze technical requirements, conflicts, and constraints
- 1.2.a Application requirements
- 1.2.b Compliance and policy
1.3 Analyze physical requirements
- 1.3.a Topology implications
- 1.3.b Operational requirements
- 1.3.c Analyze business and technical risks
1.4 Analyze existing network
- 1.4.a Network documentation
- 1.4.b Network infrastructure and its effect on network design
2.0 Develop Network Designs – 39%
2.1 Identify the technology to resolve a specific design problem
- 2.1.a Functional specifications
- 2.1.b Network designs
- 2.1.c Operational considerations
2.2 Analyze the effect on the existing network and services
- 2.2.a Functional specifications
- 2.2.b Network designs
- 2.2.c Operational considerations
2.3 Incorporate best practices within the network design
- 2.3.a Avoidance of over-engineering
- 2.3.b Consistent and modularized solution sets throughout the network
- 2.3.c Industry best practices
2.4 Incorporate business requirements within the network design
- 2.4.a OPEX and CAPEX
- 2.4.b Lifecycle and return on investment (ROI)
- 2.4.c Compliance and policy
3.0 Implement Network Design – 13%
3.1 Analyze implementation options
- 3.1.a Effect on design
- 3.1.b Effect on performance, availability, and network management
- 3.1.c Effect on the business
- 3.1.d Risk and consequence for a given implementation plan
3.2 Design an implementation plan
- 3.2.a Interdependencies between services, failure domains, and other architectural elements
- 3.2.b Implementation timeline and steps
- 3.2.c Contingency plans for network restoration
4.0 Validate and Optimize Network Design – 12%
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4.1 Analyze design choices based on specifications
- 4.1.a Effect of implementing changes to the original design
- 4.1.b Effect of different design solutions created by new drivers
4.2 Validate design
- 4.2.a Test strategy
- 4.2.b Performance metrics and baselines
4.3 Optimize design
- 4.3.a KPI
- 4.3.b Baselines
The Cisco CCDE Practical Exam lasts 8 hours. This is a scenario based design exam that aims to assess the candidate’s ability to analyze design requirements, develop network designs, justify design decisions, and validate and optimize a network design that is based on best practices. You will be expected to demonstrate your ability to apply your specific body of knowledge into current business problems of technical network design. The exam, however, does not test for any product-specific knowledge including version of code, implementation and operations specific concepts (assuming you know this already if you’ve made it that far up the Cisco certification ladder).
The exam consists of four sections, and each section contains 25 to 35 queries focused on a different scenario. The total time allotted for the exam can be up to nine hours when the lunch break is included. Candidates can take a lunch break after they have completed section 2 of the exam. Do note that if you return early from lunch, this will not increase the second four-hour block. If you return late, however, your second block will be shorter by the time you’ve been late for. So just don’t be late.
Remember that you won’t be able to go back to a previous query if you have already moved to the next one. Scenario documentation is presented at the beginning of each section. Additional scenario documentation will appear throughout each section – you’ll be getting notifications every time a new document is available for your reference.
You’ll be able to access your results in about 48 hours after completion of the exam by logging in to the Cisco Career Certification Tracing Stem. Don’t be worried, however, if you do not see your results in 2 days as they may take up to 10 business days to appear. Results are Pass/Fail and failing score reports indicate major topic areas where additional study and preparation may be useful. Cisco no longer mails hard copy score reports.
So, as Cisco brings the CCDE practical exam closer to you, it can become just another motivation to boost your career in network design.
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