With the popularity of the Cisco Certified Design Expert certificate increasing, training options are growing. In this blog post, I will discuss three CCDE training bootcamps and share my training experiences as well as those of other CCDEs. These bootcamps are designed to prepare students for the practical CCDE exam, but can also be useful for the written exam.
INE has provided its CCDE training bootcamps as live, in-person events. The instructor is Brian McGahan, who is a CCDE and very up to date on version 2 of the practical exam. I attended McGahan's three-day bootcamp (each day was eight hours long) in Chicago and my experience was extremely positive. In the course, McGahan goes through specific demo scenarios, which are similar to the real CCDE exam. The class includes discussion with other CCDE candidates about the scenarios.
I agree with McGahan that your goal in the CCDE exam is to find the best answer among the many correct ones. McGahan offers important tips for a successful exam, such as to always first consider the technical and business requirements in an exam scenario. The cost is reasonable, around $1,000. In August, INE will begin providing its CCDE bootcamp as an online class.
Another CCDE training bootcamp is given by Khawar Butt of NetWorxx. In the five-day bootcamp, he covers technologies that are relevant to the CCDE lab exam, including IGP, BGP, security, multicast, VPNs and MPLS. He has two labs scenarios based on the same format as the CCDE lab exam; students go through the scenarios on their own and then discuss them. Khawar is a CCDE himself and provides tips based on version two of the CCDE lab exam.
What I hear from students of Khawar’s bootcamp is that it's a good refresher for the technologies, but that he could have spent more time on the scenarios. He doesn’t offer an online class, and the live class costs approximately $4000. Most of the classes are held in India, but he plans to hold one this month in Dubai.
Jeremy Filliben has offered CCDE training for three years now and many of his CCDE students have passed the exam.
He offers both live and online classes. The formats and costs of these classes are different. In his the three-day online bootcamp, he goes through a demo CCDE scenario, which is updated regularly. Scenarios might involve an enterprise, service provider or mobile operator, and a series of requirements the student must consider. The online class costs about $1,000 USD. Each day of the bootcamp is six hours.
Filliben's live classes are generally held in the U.S. and are five days long. In his live classes, he explains key CCDE topics such as IGP , BGP, MPLS , multicast, security, QoS and management. He uses the same scenarios as his online class, but also has four case studies, which are not used in the online class.
Filliben's students who passed the CCDE exam told me positive things about his classes. I talked with Filliben about his training, and his ideas about the CCDE exam similar to mine, which I explained in a article published on Packet Pushers. His live class costs around $5,000, which seems a bit high. He plans to conduct training in the United Arab Emirates by the end of March.
In my opinion, the most effective CCDE bootcamps include discussion about CCDE specific technologies from the design point of view and have up-to-date scenarios. In addition to technology discussions, a good amount of time should be spent on the demo scenarios. Of course, in-person training is always better than online training since you can have more interaction with the instructor, but it requires time and resources. Online courses are cheaper and much easier to schedule.
For the best exam results, CCDE candidates should attend the bootcamp at least a few weeks before the exam to understand their weak points, and to better understand the exam format.