Cisco Certified Design Expert – CCDE

by Mirek Burnejko

CCDECisco Certified Design Expert – CCDE is one of the highest Cisco certifications.

It is also a very specific certification that covers many design topics on high (management) and low (technical) levels.

Cisco released a new version of the exam (2.0) a few months ago. In new version you do not need to pass any CCIE certification as a prerequisite. Also exams were changed.

You can tell that the certification is easy to get. Two exams, no requirements, no configuration. The CCDE certification is very hard to achieve. The scope of the exam is enormous (going through almost all networking technologies). If you do not believe us, just read this short story by Himawan – one of the best engineers working in Cisco (based on the first version of the CCDE certification).

What Exams You Must Pass to Become a CCDE

You must pass only two exams to become a CCDE. First the Cisco Certified Design Expert Qualification Exam (352-001). Then the Cisco Certified Design Expert Practical Exam (352-011).

You do not need to pass any other Cisco exam to have a chance to pass the 352-001 and then 352-011 exams. CCDA, CCDP and CCIE RS are recommended, but not required.

Format of the CCDE Exam

  • Cisco Certified Design Expert Qualification Exam
    • It is a normal, computer-based test. You have 120 minutes to answer 90-110 single and multiple-choice questions.
  • Cisco Certified Design Expert Practical Exam
    • It is also a computer-based exam. It’s a 8-hour practical test. You must read 4 scenarios and answer (your own words) to design questions and doubts. The exam covers almost all Cisco technologies. You must answer 25 and 35 questions per scenario. You cannot back to previous questions.

Where You Can Pass the CCDE Exam

You can pass the written exam in the nearest Pearson VUE examination center. Just visit the site, choose the nearest center and follow the instruction.

To the practical exam you can also register through the Pearson VUE website. Bare in mind, the CCDE practical exam is available on specific dates. These dates may vary based on the exam language that you select.

You must also be prepared that the CCDE practical exam is organized once per few months. Make sure to choose a good place and a good date for your exam.

How Much Does the CCDE Exam Cost

The CCDE written exam costs $350. The CCDE practical exam costs $1500.

How To Renew your CCDE Certification

The CCDE certification is valid for 2 years. Every 2 years you must pass one more time the CCDE written exam.

Scope of the CCDE Exam

  • Qualification
    • Layer 2 control plane
    • Layer 3 control plane
    • Network virtualization
    • Design considerations
    • More on the official Cisco website
  • Practical
    • Analyze design requirements
    • Develop network designs
    • Implement network design
    • Validate and optimize network design
    • More on the official Cisco website

How To Prepare to the Exam

Examples of Job Opportunities

Success Story

If you interested with sharing your success story with CCDE please contact me.

Questions and Answers

Q: Do I need this certification for any other Cisco certifications?
A: Yes. The highest certification from Cisco is Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr). This certification is one of the hardest in the world to achieve and require the CCDE certification.

Q: CCIEs receive numbers with their certifications (CCIE #1337 or CCIE #30003). How about CCDE?
A: CCDEs also receive unique numbers with certifications. They have a different format. It’s based on the year of passing the practice exam and the following number (CCDE #20090013 or CCDE #20120001).

Q: I’m not a CCIE. I’m a CCNA. What is the best way to achieve the CCDE certification?
A: The road isn’t simple. For sure you must to build your employment history with big networks. Start with integrators, big enterprises and Cisco. Be sure that you can touch bigger and bigger projects to move your skills to another level. It’s also a good idea to achieve other certifications before the CCDE. CCDA, CCDP, CCNP Routing and Switching, CCIE Routing and Switching. It’s also recommended to achieve other Cisco certifications like CCNA Service Provider and CCNP Service Provider. Also ITIL Foundation can help you with understanding other (business-level) problems.