Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Introducing Malcolm Booden!

 I am excited to announce that Malcolm Booden, my friend and fellow networking instructor, has agreed to take over my CCDE training business. I first met Malcolm when he attended my training course during his pursuit of the CCDE certification. Malcolm earned his CCDE certification in 2017 (CCDE #2017::37). Since then he has started an independent consulting business and his own highly-successful training company, concentrating on network design.

Malcolm will be an excellent CCDE instructor; he knows what it takes to succeed in this certification program. He is hard at work adapting my training content for the transition to CCDE version 3. I am excited to see how Malcolm brings his fresh perspective to this program.

Malcolm’s website can be reached at, and his CCDE training courses will be available at If you want to purchase the self-paced CCDEv2 content, please reach out to Malcolm via email at

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Departure from Teaching

 To the CCDE Community:

I have decided to step away from CCDE training to pursue a new opportunity. For all of my current students, I will continue to support your CCDE efforts. My last CCDE review session will be held on August 21st, 2021. If you have already signed up for my training you are invited to attend. Any new students who sign up before that date you may also attend. After that, I will be available via email and Slack to support your CCDE preparation until you've passed the practical exam.

I will not be offering any additional training opportunities beyond August 21st, 2021. I am working hard to find a strong instructor that I can trust to continue supporting CCDE candidates. As soon as I have finalized this handover I will make an announcement.

Thank you to all of my students over the years. This has been the most rewarding and interesting professional endeavor of my career. The CCDE program is in great hands at Cisco; I look forward to hearing success stories from CCDE candidates for years to come.


Friday, January 15, 2021

What CCDEv3 Means to You and Me


What CCDEv3 Means to You and Me

Cisco's CCDE Version 3 announcement brings about significant changes to our favorite certification program. As the year progresses I will write articles about the specific changes and how candidates can prepare for the new version of the exam. For now, I would like to cover what moving to the next generation of this program means to three groups - Existing CCDEs, Active CCDE Candidates, and Prospective CCDE Candidates.

Existing CCDEs

"Once a CCDE, always a CCDE"... provided you complete your recertification requirements every three years, of course. Cisco lists six different recertification possibilities:

The CCAr method is unavailable, as that program has almost certainly been retired. The CCIE Lab method is also unlikely to be helpful, as it is extremely rare for CCDEs to pursue an additional Expert level cert (a tip of the hat to those of you who have done it!). The easiest recertification method, in my opinion, is to pass the CCDE Written Exam (either the current 352-001 exam, or after November 1st, the new 400-007 exam). Oddly enough, the CCDE Written is the only exam in Cisco's portfolio that will, by itself, recertify your Expert-level status (whether CCIE or CCDE). The other recertification methods require two or three successful exam attempts. Perhaps this will encourage more CCIEs to pursue the CCDE certification.

It is also possible to earn credit toward recertification with continuing education credits and by contributing to the Cisco certification programs through writing or reviewing exam questions. As a CCDE instructor, I am ineligible to use this last method, so I can't provide any insight into it.

One other fun aspect of the new CCDE program is that all existing CCDEs (as of November 2nd, 2021) will earn an additional accolade, the "Cisco Certified Specialist – Design Core" badge. No exam necessary.. congratulations!

Active CCDE Candidates

Active CCDE candidates will have three opportunities to pass the current version of the CCDE Practical exam before the November 2nd 2021 switchover. If you are a student of mine, please be aware that you will have access to my updated CCDEv3 content as it is released (target is October 2021). It is my hope that you pass before the switchover, so please let me help you in any way possible.

Prospective CCDE Candidates

If you are considering pursuing the CCDE certification, you have a minor dilemma. You can try to start your pursuit now and pass before the switchover, or you can target the new version. The differences between the technical content on the two exams is not significant (something like 80% overlap, in my estimation). If you need help deciding which path to take, please reach out to me. You can reply to this email and describe your situation. Given the content overlap and my policy of continued access to materials, there is no risk to studying using my materials now, and targeting the version 3 of the exam.

As mentioned above, I will provide more detailed information on the differences between the exam versions in future blog posts and newsletters. CCDEv3 is going to give a great boost to this certification program; I am excited to be a part of these developments!