Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Adventure to CCDE, a Non-public Tale by way of David Peñaloza Seijas- Cisco Blogs


This visitor submit was once authored by way of Cisco Designated VIP David Peñaloza Seijas.   


Since I used to be a child, I used to be enthusiastic about many stuff I discovered attention-grabbing. I grew up being the nosy child, or “preguntón,” in Spanish. I used to be virtually all the time asking “why?” each time I were given one thing defined or informed, which might force many of the adults to madness after a few hours with me. 

My mother, in an try to get this subject solved, gave me a e book known as “El porqué de las cosas,” which kind of interprets to English as “The why of the issues.”

CCDE Success Story

I may just spend hours studying and asking much more questions. It was once an unending loop I loved as a (un)naturally curious child. To my marvel, the e book had a number of volumes explaining issues all of us surprise about, however no longer many people have the force to seem up, or “to Google,” in these days’s parlance. 

Years later I thank my mother for this type of good transfer; I picked up studying in my early years and endured to develop keen on it. Encyclopedias (do any of you keep in mind Microsoft Encarta?), novels (Potterhead right here!), tales, newspapers, and my occupation box: IT. 

I began tweaking my very own pc when it felt sluggish, as I sought after to play the cool video games different youngsters have been enjoying. Through the years, it morphed into cracking video games, editing registry keys, disabling/enabling products and services, troubleshooting issues, and working a shared LAN (Hamachi) to play with my buddies — the probabilities have been unending! 

Touching and troubleshooting programs, putting in gadgets, and connecting cables and printers (gadgets from hell!) changed into herbal, and I began getting cash out of it when I used to be 16 years outdated. It naturally grew into networking, and that’s precisely the place my tale with Cisco, being it Academy, certifications, boards, it all! 

As I changed into a community engineer, the urge to know the way issues labored simply made it stress-free and compelling. There was once an invisible global to us below cables, numbers, and blinking lighting fixtures. I discovered an unending interest smartly (or hose) I may just drink from on a daily basis. 

Why CCDE? 

Round 2016, after a number of years as a community improve engineer, I made up our minds to review community design. However why? By means of that point, I labored with many engineers and may just see a distinction between them. Some have been glad to enforce issues and spot them operating, once in a while with out them being utterly transparent to them. And a few different engineers, even though, knew really well how issues labored and why the adjustments have been being offered. They’d a special point of view.  

That straight away stuck my consideration; I sought after to understand the explanations at the back of issues. I was once curious! At the moment, the CCDE group was once rising and everyone was once so colourful and inviting that I were given lured into it. I made up our minds that despite the fact that it might be a difficult factor to do, I sought after to review community design. 

You might be most often informed that CCDE is a certification for skilled engineers and, given the quantity of information required, you will have a minimum of one CCIE sooner than making an attempt it. It to begin with discouraged me—till I spoke with other folks like Elaine Lopes, Daniel Dib, Jeremy Filiben, Mark Holm, and Andre Azevedo. They confident me you that don’t want a CCIE to aim the examination, however you do want the information that incorporates it. (Notice that every one of them have a minimum of one CCIE!)

Like my excellent buddy, Peter Palúch, informed me a number of instances: “You should be on the identical point. Make generation your moment nature, and perceive issues all the way down to the bone.” 

That yr, I began learning and assessing myself in truth, on the lookout for spaces to support. I aimed for CCDE and the huge data it might require.  

I to begin with took the CCDP* examination to gauge myself, which lined no longer simplest basics but additionally very best practices; what was once really helpful given positive instances. After passing, I keep in mind feeling energized and in a position for extra. 

Again then, I assumed: “What if I take a look at the CCDEv2 written examination? 

Narrator:And with out figuring out, David was once surroundings himself up for a candy and skin-scorching lesson. 

My Cisco certification examination adventure 

It took me 3 makes an attempt and a number of learning to go the CCDE written examination. The primary one was once my approach of gauging myself, whilst the second one failure felt excruciatingly shut. In any case, my 3rd strive was once a candy go. 

CCDE Success Story

The CCDEv2 written examination was once a beast. It principally blended Undertaking and Carrier Supplier subjects, whilst additionally including some safety as smartly, making it a mighty difficult examination by itself. 

Was once all my learning sufficient to go the written examination? Sure. Slightly. 

Was once I in a position to take the CCDE sensible examination? No longer in reality. No longer emotionally… and some distance much less technically. However that was once a lesson I discovered through the years after incomes myself a few scars. 

From August 2017 till Might 2018, I studied extra, I mentioned extra, and I assumed it was once time. I had heard such a lot of issues in regards to the examination; the way of the take a look at, the quantity of knowledge, the studying and highlighting. It appeared possible. 

Then, my examination day got here! There I used to be in Madrid on Might 30, 2018, arriving previous than any one else! The trying out middle wasn’t opened till 10:00, despite the fact that the examination was once meant to start out at 09:00. Don’t ever ask a Spaniard to get up early, or you’re surroundings your self up for failure! 😀 

It was once precisely like I had heard—however on steroids! The tips, the emails, the diagrams, the questions. I assumed I used to be in a position for it, however I wasn’t. The examination made me understand that a lot more was once wanted; extra data, extra studying, extra enjoy. 

From time to time, that intended that I didn’t perceive a specific generation smartly sufficient. Different instances, that intended I had neglected mentioned necessities or constraints or was once no longer ready to pay attention for all of the time of the take a look at (8 hours). 

This took place two times in 2018, in Might and November. On each events, it was once a FAIL for me. 

CCDE Success Story

Upon getting crushed two times, I endured making an attempt. Out and in, it was once tricky to get on my ft once more. 

In between my makes an attempt in 2018 and 2019, I additionally took different tests to check my data and get myself nearer to the “CCIE-level” data I wanted sooner than I confronted the beast all over again. 

CCDE Success Story

I used to be ready to go the CCIE R&S** and Carrier Supplier tests whilst making ready for the following to be had makes an attempt for the CCDE examination. It felt nearer, knowledge-wise, in addition to in examination enjoy. 

In 2019, I went for it once more. Two times. Each instances, I used to be visiting Frankfurt. And sure, even supposing it felt higher, smoother, and clearer, it wasn’t sufficient. I failed each makes an attempt that yr and thought of taking a spoil sooner than dealing with the examination once more. I didn’t know, alternatively, that my spoil could be all that lengthy. 

Taking a spoil

Between 2019 and 2022, so much took place in my lifestyles. (And most definitely yours too!) An epidemic, adjustments in my private and paintings lifestyles, amongst different issues. I devoted time to figuring out myself (I began visiting a psychologist) to discover what else was once within past the technical acumen.  

I used to be no longer in a position but, technically and for my part. However I wasn’t ready to look it. I used to be too proud to confess it and too cussed to forestall making an attempt. I used to be simplest bullying throughout the makes an attempt and pushing additional. 

What would you suppose after an strive? 

  • I used to be no longer studying speedy sufficient. 
  • I used to be studying too speedy. 
  • I neglected the necessities. 
  • I neglected that constraint. 
  • Did they are saying you couldn’t do X? 
  • I should have neglected X generation. 
  • I couldn’t keep centered right through all of the examination. 
  • I introduced preconceived notions into the examination. 
  • No person does that during the actual global! 
  • I will have to no longer have second-guessed myself… 
  • God, I hate tables! 

Every a kind of makes an attempt teaches you one thing, however it’s a must to concentrate. Differently, it is going over your head, and you find yourself bumping into the similar stone once more. Every lesson burns your pores and skin within the procedure, or a minimum of, that was once the sensation for me. Taking the examination was once comparable to being a meteorite getting nearer to the earth: the extra you means it, the mightier the burn and items of you still fall until you brace your self. 

In my case, I used to be no longer ready to look the woodland on account of the timber. Despite the fact that it sounds humorous, it was once the case. I used to be having a look at an issue as an alternative of zooming out and having a look on the large image with all the transferring items. 

What else took place all over my spoil? Smartly, CCDEv2 was once made over to CCDEv3, and subjects have been adjusted, along side the exam-taking enjoy. Much less Carrier Supplier, and extra Undertaking, extra Safety, extra Information Heart, extra industry, extra Cloud, and extra Wi-fi! 

Sooner than proceeding with my tale after the spoil, lets discuss which issues are vital in your CCDE adventure. Don’t fear. We will be able to be dropping some tears in a little bit. 

What do you want to go the examination? 

Learn about workforce and buddies – AKA group 

Your find out about workforce might be the important thing useful resource you want to go. The extra views you get, the easier your technical arsenal can be when dealing with the examination.  

All through my CCDE adventure, I had the posh of learning with other folks like Mike McPhee, Jason Beltrame, Bruno Wollman, Fareed Fakoor, Remington Free, Ronald Lopez, Anti Sourdi, Freerk Terpstra, Nicolas Vallet and Fabian Beck. They all are good engineers/architects, and so they all taught me one thing alongside the best way. We shared guidelines and data, had classes to show others about what we have been excellent at, and naturally, made stunning bonds within the procedure. 

On most sensible of that, I had glorious buddies who weren’t learning to take the CCDE examination however have been supporting me and educating me issues (educate me your secrets and techniques, grasp!) or supporting me as an individual, as a chum: other folks like Peter Paluch, Daniel Dib, Mark Holm, Martin Novak, Ivan Zlatkov, David Chapcak, Matt Saunders, Kurt Claes, Peter Haluska, and Martin Duggan. 

A bunch of buddies and find out about pals, other folks to speak about with, other folks prepared to concentrate, a flooring that might improve me… a group. With out them, I wouldn’t have handed it. This overdue luck was once because of them for his or her unwavering improve and motivation. It’s as a lot mine as it’s theirs. 

Each and every time I felt like quitting (particularly the final two makes an attempt) I used to be supported by way of them. (Particular point out to Peter, Daniel, Kurt, and Mark!) By means of individuals who, a minimum of at that second, believed in me greater than I did. They saved me on target, pulled my ears when wanted, and hugged me laborious sufficient to drag my items in combination once more once I couldn’t do it myself. 

Know your self 

Any other vital a part of your adventure is to understand your self. This would possibly sound like a cliché for lots of, however it’s significantly vital, or a minimum of it was once for me. 

The CCDE examination isn’t like another CCIE examination. It does no longer depend on muscle reminiscence or speedy typing. You should believe every possibility, learn each and every report, and bring to mind each and every selection. It’s an 8-hour-long studying comprehension examination with technical and industry subjects. Your psychological state is paramount. 

  • Have you learnt whilst you find out about the most productive? Is it all over the morning, afternoon, or night time? 
  • How briskly are you able to learn? 
  • How a lot of that are you able to retain? 
  • Are you able to care for 8 hours of learning? 
  • What about 4-hour or 2-hour blocks? 
  • How excellent is your focus? (I am getting distracted simply.) 
  • How do you deal with anxiousness? 
  • How do you calm your nerves? 
  • Are you into meditation? Or do you do a handy guide a rough collection of 20 pushups and really feel like new and centered? 
  • What about your emotions in regards to the examination? 
  • How do you’re feeling when getting into, leaving, and all over the examination? 
  • Nervous? 
  • Frightened? 
  • Scared? 
  • Comfortable? 

A majority of these issues have been vital for me, and I want I might have thought of them previously. I needed to learn how to believe them after each and every failed strive. 

To begin with, my drivers once I began all this have been: ambition, pleasure (slightly hubris), and concern. I sought after to get as top as conceivable, to be in reality excellent at one thing, to be identified, to close up each and every mouth that stated (there have been many) that I couldn’t make it or it was once too laborious and I used to be going to fail, and in addition, my concern of lacking out (FOMO). 

A gorgeous track about that is Vienna, by way of Billy Joel. 

Through the years I discovered (because of my pricey buddy Peter Palúch, my psychologist, and a ludicrous quantity of introspection) that even supposing my earlier drivers helped me to stick motivated and go away the rustic, I used to be no longer going to make it any more with unfavourable feelings, they might bite me up sooner or later. What could be higher? Discovering certain motivation! 

I did my very best to forestall evaluating myself with others and simplest examine myself with David from the previous. All of us have disasters, everyone knows one thing any person else doesn’t, and all of us can be told one thing from others. Even the folk we don’t like can educate us one thing. 

I began having a look on the adventure in addition to the objective. I didn’t forestall chasing the solar, however I began to benefit from the view whilst I used to be doing it. I additionally began to comprehend extra of what I used to be doing, what I used to be studying, and what I used to be making, as an alternative of pondering, “I gained’t have sufficient time in my lifestyles to do the entire issues I wish to do; I should cross sooner.” 

Finally, and the toughest one: I did my very best to forestall being worried in regards to the examination’s consequence. In the end, I had already failed a number of instances. Will it burn extra? Possibly a little bit. Will or not it’s a disaster? No longer in reality. Simply select up your items, regroup, and take on it once more. The examination is already aggravating sufficient, and being worried about failing sooner than taking it’ll simplest make me really feel extra frightened.  

Don’t beat your self up previously. Give your self a possibility, forgive your self, and be sort to your self. All of us make errors. Agree with me, you’re sufficient. You’ll do it. You’ve got it in you. 

All through my final strive, I used to be centered at the examination itself, and the night time sooner than I assumed: Well, no matter occurs, I can give my very best all over the examination. Go or fail, it’ll be the most productive of me.

I didn’t know if I handed, and I used to be about to test the following to be had date for the examination. Little did I do know that I might go this time, however extra on that later.  

Narrator: After which David unsightly cried for hours as a result of he was once a llorón when he knew he handed. 

Again on target 

After the spoil, I used to be again on sq. one: the examination was once made over to model 3. Its contents had modified, and my written examination (legitimate for 3 years) had already expired. 

What was once the very first thing to do? Take the written examination once more! I used to be fortunate sufficient to have a final likelihood sooner than the CCDEv2 written examination could be retired on November 1, 2021. 

I brushed up on the entire subjects and studied for some weeks sooner than feeling in a position and, in fact, having the looming shadow of the soon-to-be-retired examination over my head. To my good fortune, I handed, as soon as once more with a candy 860. I can’t lie about this: it was once superb. 

I earned the proper to take the sensible examination once more, but it surely was once a brand new model. The examination subjects have been step one to take. I had new issues to be informed: Wi-fi, Cloud, and Safety. And in addition others to sweep up and after all be told smartly: QoS, and multicast. 

Now, the examination was once presented in Brussels like another CCIE examination, so I didn’t need to juggle balls to e book an examination in a Pearson Skilled Heart in Frankfurt or Madrid. I may just discuss with the Cisco workplace in Brussels like everyone else! 

Additionally, a number of buddies paintings there, so this can be a acquainted position for me. 

CCDE Success Story

All through ten months, I visited Brussels 4 instances. Each and every time, I used to be welcomed by way of my pricey buddy Peter Palúch and supported until no finish by way of him and Kurt Claes. 

My first strive was once an exploratory one. I had completely no hopes of passing. I needed to see what was once other: the brand new engine, the brand new eventualities, the way, the generation. And, God, I did. 

I got here out of the examination having a look like a fish in a fridge: eyes and mouth broad open, however I may just no longer see or say anything else. Such a lot of new issues to meet up with, extra tech, extra industry, and the trying out engine was once cooler and more uncomplicated to make use of. (No longer the whole thing was once unfavourable!) 

I spent a number of time studying about Wi-fi, probably the most weakest spaces in my technical acumen. Freerk Terpstra and Fabian Beck gave me a masterclass on many stuff, they defined main points, deployments, authentication, and the character of wi-fi networks, it was once intense! Freerk even created a mini CCDE state of affairs and defined it to us intimately. 

I went once more in February with a number of hopes, alternatively, it wasn’t but my time. Despite the fact that I felt higher, extra assured, and happier with my efficiency, it wasn’t sufficient. I noticed I wanted extra cloud, extra migrations, extra industry acumen, extra studying abilities, and extra focus. It was once an unending listing! 

I saved an inventory of subjects I felt undecided about and added extra after each and every strive. The listing began large and endured to shrink through the years whilst I addressed extra subjects—till the final strive. 

For the June strive, I put a number of effort into learning. My Cisco Are living US consultation catalog was once all about issues I wanted for the examination, together with a CCDE techtorial with Mark Holm, Zig Zsiga, and Rick Bauer, and several other classes about design. 

There I used to be within the CCDE Techtorial: “Dude, don’t inform me this bull****, I already took the examination!” (I’m sorry, Mark.) 

I wasn’t making any buddies all over that consultation. Seems that some discussions aren’t about absolutes or facets, they slightly fall into a grey house proper within the center, and there are a number of sun shades of grey to care for. Some assumptions are truthful, however an excessive amount of of that journeys you off. You find yourself strolling on a tightrope like a circus performer whilst the drums resonate within the background. 

I felt assured and proud. I did my very best and felt in a position for the examination. Proper after Cisco Are living US, I headed again to Brussels for my 3rd strive at CCDEv3. 

I labored on my data, note-taking, studying, and focus and mentioned with the already-certified CCDE other people I knew. I felt in a position. This was once my time. I used to be excited whilst taking the examination. It felt excellent, it felt like a breeze, and I used to be virtually positive. 

I got here out hoping for the most productive and was once shot down by way of a FAIL. It was once, by way of some distance, essentially the most painful of the makes an attempt. I felt misplaced, that I didn’t know what to paintings on anymore, and that I used to be no longer ready to triumph over this type of titanic objective after goodbye. My rankings have been appearing some growth after each and every strive, and but, I failed once more and was once extraordinarily perplexed. 

It took me a number of days to even procedure such a lot of issues and care for my emotions. And when I used to be about to throw the towel, my buddies have been there for me. As soon as once more, they held me up, they confident me I used to be shut, and so they gave me extra encouragement than I may have requested for. 

I felt like Spiderman (Tobey Maguire) getting carried over their heads after saving the folk at the educate from an impending crash. However this time, I used to be the only being stored, in addition to carried. 

The final straw 

With their assist, I used to be nonetheless a little bit hesitant, however I picked up my items and attempted to do one thing other for the October strive. 

Was once it about data? What else was once I doing all over the examination? In the future, when you care for the information gaps (otherwise you suppose you probably did), it’s a must to fear about your exam-taking enjoy and technique. 

I labored extra on my focus and on workout routines to stay myself lively. I introduced a number of chocolates, caffeine, and water and did many, many pushups all over the take a look at. 

Each and every time I felt my thoughts was once slipping clear of me, I might step up, do 20 pushups, stretch myself, wash my face, and are available again to my seat. 

All through the examination, I used to be eating power beverages, water, espresso, sourworms, and Nutella biscuits. I used to be happy I may just carry these items to the trying out room! 

I additionally presented from my arsenal to the entire other folks taking the examination with me. Maximum of them replied to my proposal with incredulous seems and awkward silence. However a few them did get nearer. They were given Nutella crackers and an power drink, some sweets. 

This time my perspective wasn’t about passing the examination. It was once about playing the trip, doing my very best, and feeling pleased with how some distance I’ve come. 

This time I didn’t really feel anxiousness crawling over my shoulder all over the examination, being worried in regards to the outcome. I used to be centered, entertained, and certain, all about playing myself whilst it took place. 

This time the anxiousness wasn’t within the motive force’s seat. I felt fantastic, I felt calm (in spite of the irresponsible quantity of caffeine and sugar in my device), and I felt provide.  

There I used to be, telling Peter the way it was once, how I felt, what I noticed. I wasn’t positive if I handed, however I did my very best, and I used to be pleased with it. I checked the consequences someday after whilst sitting subsequent to my buddies. To start with, I couldn’t imagine it, I assumed the site was once damaged, and I may just no longer see the everyday “FAIL” I used to be anticipating. 

I assumed: “That is kaput, the place is my fail?

I endured to go looking the ground proper aspect of the display screen. 

And there it was once, on the most sensible left of the display screen. It wasn’t damaged. It wasn’t incorrect. I in reality handed, the whole thing was once all proper. 

It was once the tip of an technology, the closure I such a lot craved for. I may just no longer do the rest however cry. I used to be all the time sufficient, I used to be all the time in a position, and the adventure after all made sense.  

CCDE was once and can be, for me, essentially the most a success set of disasters I’ve ever encountered. And I’m pleased with it, just like the quote attributed to Thomas A. Edison:

I’ve no longer failed. I’ve simply discovered 10,000 ways in which gained’t paintings.

—Thomas A. Edison



*The Cisco Qualified Design Skilled (CCDP) certification was once retired from the Cisco Certification program on February 23, 2020.

**The CCIE R&S, or Routing and Switching certification, migrated to the CCIE Undertaking Infrastructure certification on February 23, 2020.


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Safety in Community Design: Key Issues from a Community Architect’s Standpoint



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