Cisco has updated its Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) associate-level design certification curriculum. The new Designing for Cisco Internetwork Solutions (DESGN) curriculum emphasizes the converged enterprise network model to facilitate preparing, planning, implementing, operating and optimizing networks. Additional updates include case studies and presentation of services virtualization based on the service-oriented network architecture (SONA).
The new curriculum incorporates the products, technologies and services, and it teaches skills required to design routed and switched network infrastructures and services.
The recommended course prerequisite is CCNA-level knowledge, with additional recommended knowledge as taught in the Building Cisco Multilayer Switched Networks (BCMSN) course. The new DESGN 640-863 exam is required to achieve the CCDA certification.
The updated CCDA was made available Feb. 27. The old version will remain available for 135 days after that.
Roger Beatty, Learning@Cisco Group senior manager of content development, said this update represents a significant change for CCDA.
“We’re emphasizing the movement of application-level intelligence from devices on the network, hosts, servers and applications running on servers into the network itself,” Beatty said. “We’re de-emphasizing the role of the network as the mere movement of bits and bytes from location to location and trying to demonstrate from a design perspective how intelligence in today’s networks is really incorporated and built into the network itself.”
By intelligence, Beatty said he meant tasks such as content caching, server optimization and application level security. He also said Cisco feels this update is what the market demands now.
“We’re seeing changes in the market, changes in Cisco’s product lineup and a fundamental change in the direction the technology is moving, and Cisco’s responding with this product,” Beatty said. “The certification is targeted at network designers, and that could be network designers employed by our enterprise customers or by our channel partners doing pre-sales work with our customers. It’s appropriate for anyone involved in designing today’s intelligent information network.”
Twenty-six beta testers reviewed the update and reportedly gave Cisco positive feedback.
“They liked the case studies, they liked the focus on the service-oriented network architecture and they liked that we had a solid replay of the designer objectives,” said Dan Stern, Learning@Cisco Group program manager of content development. “We did not change the final objectives of the course. What we changed is the product, technology and messaging that was attached to the course — the objectives that made the design and the design itself remained the same.”
Beatty said he is confident this update increases the potential of CCDA to enhance an IT professional’s salary.
“The more relevant we keep our certifications, the greater the impact on individuals’ salary potential is going to be,” he said.