Friday, September 13, 2013

CCDE Study Resources Update

It’s been a while since I have updated my CCDE Study Resources list. Below is a list of resources that I recommend CCDE Practical candidates use to prepare for the exam. But first… who should be attempting this exam?

Cisco recommends 7+ years of network design experience before tackling this certification program. I would like to add that 7+ years designing the same small network is unlikely to cut it. Candidates will want to have spent time in a variety of network design challenges; preferably split between service provider and enterprise networks. I agree with the CCDE program team that many technologies have made the jump between these two traditional network types, but not all of them have. For example, I haven’t run into an Enterprise running IS-IS. I know they’re out there, but they are still rare.


Recommended Reading List

I highly recommend that CCDE candidates read the following Cisco Press books. Remember, you can skip the configuration syntax, although I often find it helpful to review configs to bolster my understanding of technology:

  • Optimal Routing Design
  • MPLS Fundamentals
  • End-to-End QoS Network Design (a new version is due out in November 22, 2013)
  • BGP Design and Implementation
  • Definitive MPLS Network Designs

I also suggest that CCDE candidates familiarize themselves with the technologies covered in these books. Whether you actually read them, or use their tables of content to guide you online learning, that’s your call:

  • Layer 2 VPN Architectures
  • IPv6 Fundamentals
  • Network Management: Accounting and Performance Strategies
  • Developing IP Multicast Networks (terribly dated, so I suggest researching this on your own)

Cisco Live 365

Cisco Live 365 is an incredibly valuable CCDE preparation resource. Himawan Nugroho wrote an excellent blog post on preparing for the CCDE where he covered the presentations that he used to pass the exam. My own list is similar to his, so I’ll only list my ‘must watch’ sessions here.

  • BRKRST-2042 Highly Available Wide Area Network Design
  • BRKSEC-4054 DMVPN Deployment Model
  • BRKRST-2335 IS-IS Network Design and Deployment
  • BRKRST-2310 Deploying OSPF in a Large Scale Network
  • BRKRST-2336 - EIGRP Deployment in Modern Networks
  • BRKRST-3051 - Core Network Design: Minimizing Packet Loss with IGPs and MPLS

As a bonus, here are a couple that look highly relevant to the CCDE Practical exam, but I haven’t watched yet:

  • BRKIPM-3010 - Which Routing Protocol? - IPv4 and IPv6 Perspective
  • BRKRST-2044 - Enterprise Multi-Homed Internet Edge Architectures
  • BRKCRS-3036 - Enterprise Campus Design: Routed Access


Online Discussion Boards

There are two great online resources for CCDE preparation. The first is Cisco’s own Cisco Learning Network. The CCDE section of this site is the definitive source for test dates and official exam blueprints. There is also an online discussion board that is monitored by Cisco and several current CCDEs and CCDE candidates. On topic questions are generally answered quickly. You can even find a CCDE overview video that I participated in on the main page on the site.

The second resource is Ethan Bank’s CCDE Group Study Google group. Ethan is a prospective CCDE candidate who created this Google group. It currently has over 100 members, including several current CCDEs (myself included) and several of Cisco’s CCDE Practical content developers. My favorite part of the Google group is the ability to opt-in to daily email updates. Message traffic is light, but with so many participants, any questions are quickly answered.



I provide two forms of training for the CCDE Practical exam:


CCDE Practical Bootcamp Classes

These are five day in person classes where we cover the technologies candidates will need to know for the CCDE Practical exam. My next class is hosted by CCBootcamp in Las Vegas, NV the week of November 11, 2013. I am tentatively scheduling my first CCDE bootcamp of 2014 for the week of January 27th in Philadelphia, PA. If you are interested in attending either of these classes, please email me at and I can provide registration information. Also, if you have a suggestion for a European location for 2014, please let me know. I’d like to take my class on the road next year… let me know where you’d like it to be.

Details on the format of the classes can be found at


Online CCDE Practice Exams

For those candidates who cannot take a week off for training, or have difficulty traveling to the US, I also offer an online CCDE training option. This event utilizes my CCDE practice exams to prepare candidates for the type of questions and format of the CCDE Practical exam. Participants receive four CCDE exam scenarios with a total of 80 questions. I review the exams via WebEx with candidates on two consecutive Saturdays (two scenarios per review session). Candidates are invited to attend the WebEx review sessions in real-time to ask questions, or they can choose the self-paced option and watch the review sessions on-demand. Registration for the self-paced option is always available. The next live review sessions are scheduled for November 2nd and 9th.


If you have any questions about these resources, please let me know. And if I have missed anything please send me an email so I can update this page.