Monday, November 30, 2015

Over 300 CCDEs Worldwide

CCDE Program Update

Congratulations to my students who successfully completed their CCDE journey this year. I am currently aware of 18 passing results for the year, but I haven't heard from all of my students quite yet. I suspect a few are still celebrating their accomplishment. For those candidates that were unsuccessful (whether they are students or not), understand that achieving an Expert-level Cisco certification is a process. The rumored pass rate for Expert-level exams is around 20% per attempt, so it is not unexpected to face adversity in your path to certification. If you attended my bootcamp, think back to my instructor introduction discussion... One of the most important steps in passing a Cisco exam is often failing it first.

Now that the 2015 CCDE testing cycle has ended, we can announce that the total number of Cisco Certified Design Experts is 304, minus any that have let their certification lapse. We saw only 51 total CCDEs certified this year, which is lower than in previous years. Without knowing for sure, I attribute this to a particularly difficult exam cycle, especially the August exam. According to Cisco the candidate volume has been steady. I think this bodes well for 2016.

Personal Update

Speaking of recertification, I was fortunate to have passed my CCDE recertification exam a few weeks ago. This brings me to a pair of personally-significant milestones. I am now sure to make my 20-year CCIE anniversary in 2018, and I am also certain to reach my 10-year CCDE anniversary in 2019. I have no intention of abandoning my networking efforts, but it is comforting to know that if I circumstances change I will still reach those two goals.

That said, I am still as interested in networking today as I ever have been. It's hard to believe that in a world of such rapid technology change, Cisco has been an integral part of my networking career since the beginning. So many of the competing vendors from the early days (Cabletron, Synoptics, etc) have faded away, and new ones have come and gone often. I suppose I'm trying to say that although I have been in networking for half my life, I am still amazed and challenged by the field. With regards to Cisco technology, I do not intend to take advantage of the CCIE Emeritus anytime soon. Nor would I use a CCDE Emeritus program if one were created, although I think that is an unlikely development.

I have a few other professional updates I'll be sharing in future blog posts, but I'll keep this post short so readers can get back to their studies :)

Training Update

I am eagerly looking forward to helping more students achieve their CCDE certification goals in 2016 and beyond. Several students asked that I publish a training schedule for the year so they can better plan their 2016 training schedule. Here is my schedule of 2016 classroom training:

April 18-22, 2016 - Orlando, Florida - April Registration Link
October 17-21, 2016 - Orlando, Florida - October Registration Link

As you may notice, my students have shown that they are more interested in attending classes in Florida than in the other locations I have offered in the past. Perhaps it is the ability to extend their travels and visit Disney World or the Florida beaches. It certainly is an easy location to travel to, regardless of your point of origin. If you have another location in mind, and a group of students who are sure to attend, let me know and I can add another class to the schedule. As always, all classes are available for remote Webex attendance as well. After my most recent training a remote attendee commented:

"By the way the class you put on was the best training I have ever attended."

I appreciate the sentiment, and those of my other students. It is great knowing that Webex attendees are on equal footing with classroom attendees. This was my fear when considering offering a remote learning option, but with the help of few friends (especially Ivan and Ethan) I found technology solutions that work for both types of students.

If taking a week-long break from your normal work duties isn't possible, you can attend my self-paced training. I recently added two new CCDE practical scenarios to the four previous ones. These exams were developed based on student feedback and cover additional network designs. My students now receive access to all six exams. If you are a current student who hasn't passed the CCDE practical exam, send me an email and I will provide you the additional content at no cost.