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!