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Overview of CCDE 352-001 Exam: How to prepare for this certification?

CCDE (Cisco Certified Design Expert) is an expert level certification. The curriculum is designed to prepare designers to create design solutions at infrastructure level for big enterprise networks. This certification is specifically for network design engineers, network leaders of IT infrastructure teams, and network leaders of architecture team. Basically, everyone whose job involves translating business needs, operational constraints, and budget into a design of converged solutions should consider this certification. Professionals who hold the CCDE certification are well respected for their expert level skills and knowledge in network infrastructure design.

Requirements for CCDE Certification

The CCDE certification does not need any prior professional certifications or special training. However, an individual need to prepare for the test before sitting for it. Before you can be awarded the certification, the first step is to sit for a written examination that covers network design. The scope of the course covers Tunnelling, Routing, Management, Quality of Service, Security, Capacity, and Cost. The examination lasts 2 hours and it is important that you pass the exam to be qualified for the practical part of the exam.

The second part of the prerequisite for the certification is the practical exam. This is an eight hours practical session that examines your skill sets and your ability to carry out design analysis. It also seeks to examine your expertise in developing design implementation focusing on best practices, and your ability to justify design needs. It is important to note that only students who have passed the CCDE written examination can sit for the practical exams.

To register for the CCDE certification examinations, you will need to visit Pearson VUE platform to complete your registration. Pearson VUE is the organization that conducts all Cisco examinations. There are numerous resource materials online that will go a long way to help you in your preparation for the CCDE written and practical exams.

Steps for CCDE Certification Preparation

Earning the CCDE 352-001 certification requires some committed efforts on your part. There are some studying activities that need to be done and you must be well prepared for the practical sessions of the exam. With the wealth of resources available online, it might be a little daunting to study all the materials in preparation for the certification. Well, you really do not have to study ALL the materials. You only need to study what is relevant and go with your gut feeling in some cases. To have a seamless and fruitful preparation for your CCDE certification, there are some tips that you can follow.

  • Study for your Certification at your own Time and Pace

For you to be at this level in your career, you must have done some studying in the past. You know your studying pattern and the best way you learn. It is important that you stick to what works for you. Trying to change your studying strategy for the CCDE 352-001 might not be the best approach. If you love studying alone, do more of it. It is advisable to do some study in group though,because it helps candidates to be exposed to areas they are probably not focusing on. In addition to this, going through design challenges together with a couple of others help you see things from different perspectives. As far as studying comes, dedicate enough time to get ready for the CCDE certification.

  • Go through Cisco Live Training and Books

Many CCDE students attest to the fact that books and Cisco Live presentation are the top resources that helped them in their preparation for the practical exam. Taking out time to study relevant books and going through the live presentation made available by Cisco will definitely improve your chances of performing better during the exam.

  • Publications and Bootcamps

In addition to books and Cisco Live presentation, publications and bootcamps are very essential in preparing for the certification exams. White papers, blogs and other publications are some of the resource materials you should take out time to read. Reading other publications open you up to different ideas on how to solve the likely design challenges that will come up during the exam.

  • Experience in Network Design

It goes without saying that experience counts when it comes to writing an expert-level certification. Many candidates of the CCDE certification have at least seven years of experience in network design before they attempt practical examination of the CCDE 352-001 certificate. According to an anonymous survey, many candidates were already professionals before making the first attempt at the CCDE.

  • Change in Mindset

Your approach to the CCDE exam, especially the practical part is very crucial. It is highly important to approach the practical part of the examination with the mind-set of a network designer. It does not matter if you are a network engineer. If you want to sit for the CCDE practical exam, you need to have the mind of a network designer. Look at questions from the point of view of a designer as opposed to anything else. This will keep you from making avoidable mistakes in your practical sessions.


Preparing for the CCDE certification requires adequate preparation and you must give it all it takes. It is important to mention that many candidates have failed their CCDE 352-001 at their first attempts. There are others who have failed more than once. However, they are not allowing the failure to stop them. This is not to scare you. Actually, it is to prepare you for the task ahead. At this point, it is also critical to mention that there are others who sit for the CCDE certification examinations once and cleared it. The fact is that it all depends on you. How well you prepare and how well you take to the advice you read while preparing for the exam will go a long way in affecting your success level.

In summary, take time to prepare for your exams and never leave any stone un-turn in your preparation. Study at your pace and access different resource materials to help you. There are numerous CCDE written examination resource materials as well as Practical Exam study materials that you can access online.

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