I took the coveted CCDE Practical Exams on 31st of August, and Thankfully I passed (My CCDE Number is 2016::14), this is my third attempt, the journey started in 2011, Gone through a lot of studies, Boot camps, Ciscolive Sessions, CCDE Mock Lab in Ciscolive, Mentorship from existing CCDEs.
My First attempt was in 2014 that ended with an average score, the second attempt was in February, 2015. The second attempt made me change a lot of my strategies as this beast requires a totally different approach and preparation than CCIE.
My Advice to the CCDE Candidates:
- From Books. I assume You’ve read or at least have them on your reading list- if not, start ASAP:
- BGP Design and Implementation
- Troubleshooting IP routing protocols
- Optimal network design
- OSPF and IS-IS Jeff Doyle book
- Definitive MPLS network designs
- MPLS Enabled Applications; Emerging Development and New Technologies
- Network Mergers and Migrations:
- Ciscolive.com Slides related to Design/Deployment/Implementation strategies
- Marwan’s CCDE Study Guide (Cisco Press)
- If you have spare time, you can take a look at Russ White’s new book, Navigating Network Complexity.
Now – that’s the base, when it comes to design; it’s a combination of Science (Guiding Principles/Technologies) and Art (Guided creativity within the constraints of the Science), this is the point where you start taking Bootcamps that will put you into the Practical Exams mindset as well as prepare you on things related to large scale designs, integration, considerations, pitfalls, constraints and best practices.
- I will highly recommend taking Orhan Ergun’s CCDE Bootcamp and the Self-Paced CCDE Course. I found his resources to be very detailed, Thorough and exceptionally the best around.
- Watch the CCDE session from Ciscolive – both Tectorial and minilab. If you can register for it and attempt the mini lab in person, it will give you a good idea on how the real lab is in terms of format and difficulty level, I took this in Ciscolive San Diego, it was helpful and informative.