Saturday, March 2, 2024

The Adventure to CCDE, a Non-public Tale via David Peñaloza Seijas- Cisco Blogs


This visitor submit used to be authored via Cisco Designated VIP David Peñaloza Seijas.   


Since I used to be a child, I used to be thinking about many stuff I discovered fascinating. I grew up being the nosy child, or “preguntón,” in Spanish. I used to be virtually at all times asking “why?” each time I were given one thing defined or instructed, which might pressure 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 referred to as “El porqué de las cosas,” which more or less interprets to English as “The why of the issues.”

CCDE Success Story

I may spend hours studying and asking much more questions. It used to be an never-ending loop I loved as a (un)naturally curious child. To my wonder, the e book had a number of volumes explaining issues all of us surprise about, however now not many people have the pressure to appear up, or “to Google,” in as of late’s parlance. 

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

I began tweaking my very own pc when it felt gradual, as I sought after to play the cool video games different youngsters had been enjoying. Over the years, it morphed into cracking video games, editing registry keys, disabling/enabling services and products, troubleshooting issues, and working a shared LAN (Hamachi) to play with my pals — the probabilities had been never-ending! 

Touching and troubleshooting methods, putting in units, and connecting cables and printers (units from hell!) turned into herbal, and I began earning money out of it when I used to be 16 years previous. It naturally grew into networking, and that’s precisely the place my tale with Cisco, being it Academy, certifications, boards, it all! 

As I turned into a community engineer, the urge to understand how issues labored simply made it stress-free and compelling. There used to be an invisible global to us beneath cables, numbers, and blinking lighting. I discovered an never-ending interest neatly (or hose) I may drink from on a daily basis. 

Why CCDE? 

Round 2016, after a number of years as a community enhance engineer, I made up our minds to check community design. However why? By means of that point, I labored with many engineers and may see a distinction between them. Some had been satisfied to enforce issues and notice them operating, from time to time with out them being utterly transparent to them. And a few different engineers, although, knew really well how issues labored and why the adjustments had been being offered. That they had a special standpoint.  

That in an instant stuck my consideration; I sought after to grasp the explanations in the back of issues. I used to be curious! At the moment, the CCDE neighborhood used to be rising and everyone used to be so colourful and alluring that I were given lured into it. I made up our minds that even supposing it will be a troublesome factor to do, I sought after to check community design. 

You’re normally instructed that CCDE is a certification for skilled engineers and, given the quantity of data 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 folks like Elaine Lopes, Daniel Dib, Jeremy Filiben, Mark Holm, and Andre Azevedo. They confident me you that don’t want a CCIE to try the examination, however you do want the information that incorporates it. (Word that each one of them have a minimum of one CCIE!)

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

That 12 months, I began learning and assessing myself truthfully, in search of spaces to reinforce. I aimed for CCDE and the huge data it will require.  

I to begin with took the CCDP* examination to gauge myself, which lined now not best basics but in addition very best practices; what used to be advisable given positive cases. After passing, I have in mind feeling energized and in a position for extra. 

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

Narrator:And with out understanding, David used to be atmosphere himself up for a candy and skin-scorching lesson. 

My Cisco certification examination adventure 

It took me 3 makes an attempt and quite a lot of learning to go the CCDE written examination. The primary one used to be my manner of gauging myself, whilst the second one failure felt excruciatingly shut. After all, my 3rd strive used to be a candy go. 

CCDE Success Story

The CCDEv2 written examination used to be a beast. It principally blended Undertaking and Carrier Supplier subjects, whilst additionally including some safety as neatly, 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? Now not actually. Now not emotionally… and a long way much less technically. However that used to be a lesson I realized through the years after incomes myself a few scars. 

From August 2017 till Would possibly 2018, I studied extra, I mentioned extra, and I believed it used to be time. I had heard such a lot of issues concerning the examination; the manner of the check, the quantity of knowledge, the studying and highlighting. It appeared attainable. 

Then, my examination day got here! There I used to be in Madrid on Would possibly 30, 2018, arriving previous than any one else! The trying out heart wasn’t opened till 10:00, even supposing the examination used to be intended to begin at 09:00. Don’t ever ask a Spaniard to get up early, or you’re atmosphere your self up for failure! 😀 

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

On occasion, that supposed that I didn’t perceive a selected generation neatly sufficient. Different instances, that supposed I had ignored said necessities or constraints or used to be now not in a position to pay attention for all the time of the check (8 hours). 

This took place two times in 2018, in Would possibly and November. On each events, it used to be a FAIL for me. 

CCDE Success Story

After you have overwhelmed two times, I persevered attempting. Out and in, it used to be difficult 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 wished sooner than I confronted the beast all over again. 

CCDE Success Story

I used to be in a position to go the CCIE R&S** and Carrier Supplier tests whilst getting 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 12 months and considered taking a damage sooner than going through the examination once more. I didn’t know, alternatively, that my damage could be all that lengthy. 

Taking a damage

Between 2019 and 2022, so much took place in my existence. (And most certainly yours too!) A virulent disease, adjustments in my non-public and paintings existence, amongst different issues. I devoted time to working out myself (I began visiting a psychologist) to discover what else used to be inside of past the technical acumen.  

I used to be now not in a position but, technically and individually. However I wasn’t in a position to look it. I used to be too proud to confess it and too cussed to forestall attempting. I used to be best bullying during the makes an attempt and pushing additional. 

What would you assume after an strive? 

  • I used to be now not studying rapid sufficient. 
  • I used to be studying too rapid. 
  • I ignored the necessities. 
  • I ignored that constraint. 
  • Did they are saying you couldn’t do X? 
  • I should have ignored X generation. 
  • I couldn’t keep centered during all the examination. 
  • I introduced preconceived notions into the examination. 
  • No one does that during the true global! 
  • I must now not have second-guessed myself… 
  • God, I hate tables! 

Each and every a type of makes an attempt teaches you one thing, however you need to listen. Another way, it is going over your head, and you find yourself bumping into the similar stone once more. Each and every lesson burns your pores and skin within the procedure, or a minimum of, that used to be the sensation for me. Taking the examination used to be corresponding to being a meteorite getting nearer to the earth: the extra you means it, the mightier the burn and items of you still fall except you brace your self. 

In my case, I used to be now not in a position to look the woodland as a result of the timber. Despite the fact that it sounds humorous, it used to be the case. I used to be having a look at an issue as a substitute of zooming out and having a look on the large image with all the transferring items. 

What else took place all the way through my damage? Neatly, CCDEv2 used to be made over to CCDEv3, and subjects had been adjusted, along side the exam-taking enjoy. Much less Carrier Supplier, and extra Undertaking, extra Safety, extra Knowledge Heart, extra industry, extra Cloud, and extra Wi-fi! 

Earlier than proceeding with my tale after the damage, lets speak about which issues are necessary in your CCDE adventure. Don’t concern. We can be losing some tears in a little. 

What do you want to go the examination? 

Learn about staff and pals – AKA neighborhood 

Your find out about staff may well be the important thing useful resource you want to go. The extra views you get, the simpler your technical arsenal can be when going through the examination.  

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

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

A gaggle of pals and find out about friends, folks to speak about with, folks keen to pay attention, a ground that would enhance me… a neighborhood. With out them, I do not need handed it. This overdue luck used to be because of them for his or her unwavering enhance and motivation. It’s as a lot mine as it’s theirs. 

Each time I felt like quitting (particularly the final two makes an attempt) I used to be supported via 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 not off course, pulled my ears when wanted, and hugged me exhausting sufficient to tug my items in combination once more once I couldn’t do it myself. 

Know your self 

Every other necessary a part of your adventure is to grasp your self. This would possibly sound like a cliché for lots of, however it’s drastically necessary, or a minimum of it used to be for me. 

The CCDE examination isn’t like some other CCIE examination. It does now not depend on muscle reminiscence or rapid typing. You should imagine each and every possibility, learn each and every record, and recall 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 efficient? Is it all the way through the morning, afternoon, or evening? 
  • 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 snappy collection of 20 pushups and really feel like new and centered? 
  • What about your emotions concerning the examination? 
  • How do you are feeling when getting into, leaving, and all the way through the examination? 
  • Apprehensive? 
  • Anxious? 
  • Scared? 
  • Comfortable? 

These kinds of issues had been necessary for me, and I want I might have considered them previously. I needed to learn how to imagine them after each and every failed strive. 

To start with, my drivers once I began all this had been: ambition, satisfaction (fairly hubris), and worry. I sought after to get as top as conceivable, to be actually excellent at one thing, to be identified, to close up each and every mouth that mentioned (there have been many) that I couldn’t make it or it used to be too exhausting and I used to be going to fail, and in addition, my worry of lacking out (FOMO). 

A gorgeous music about that is Vienna, via Billy Joel. 

Over time I realized (because of my pricey buddy Peter Palúch, my psychologist, and a daft quantity of introspection) that even supposing my earlier drivers helped me to stick motivated and depart the rustic, I used to be now not going to make it any longer with unfavourable feelings, they might chunk me up sooner or later. What could be higher? Discovering sure motivation! 

I did my very best to forestall evaluating myself with others and best evaluate myself with David from the previous. All of us have screw ups, everyone knows one thing any individual else doesn’t, and all of us can be informed 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 function. 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 a substitute of considering, “I gained’t have sufficient time in my existence to do all of the issues I wish to do; I should pass sooner.” 

Finally, and the toughest one: I did my very best to forestall being concerned concerning the examination’s result. In spite of everything, I had already failed a number of instances. Will it burn extra? Perhaps a little. Will it’s a disaster? Now not actually. Simply pick out up your items, regroup, and take on it once more. The examination is already aggravating sufficient, and being concerned about failing sooner than taking it is going to best make me really feel extra nervous.  

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

All over my final strive, I used to be centered at the examination itself, and the evening sooner than I believed: Well, no matter occurs, I will be able to give my very best all the way through the examination. Move or fail, it is going to be the most efficient 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 used to be a llorón when he knew he handed. 

Again not off course 

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

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

I brushed up on all of the 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 success, I handed, as soon as once more with a candy 860. I will not lie about this: it used to be superb. 

I earned the suitable to take the sensible examination once more, but it surely used to be a brand new model. The examination subjects had been step one to take. I had new issues to be told: Wi-fi, Cloud, and Safety. And in addition others to comb up and in the end be informed neatly: QoS, and multicast. 

Now, the examination used to be presented in Brussels like some other CCIE examination, so I didn’t must juggle balls to e book an examination in a Pearson Skilled Heart in Frankfurt or Madrid. I may discuss with the Cisco place of work in Brussels like everyone else! 

Additionally, a number of pals paintings there, so this is a acquainted position for me. 

CCDE Success Story

During ten months, I visited Brussels 4 instances. Each time, I used to be welcomed via my pricey buddy Peter Palúch and supported until no finish via him and Kurt Claes. 

My first strive used to be an exploratory one. I had completely no hopes of passing. I needed to see what used to be other: the brand new engine, the brand new eventualities, the manner, 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 vast open, however I may now not see or say the rest. Such a lot of new issues to meet up with, extra tech, extra industry, and the trying out engine used to be cooler and more straightforward to make use of. (Now not the whole thing used to be unfavourable!) 

I spent quite a lot of time studying about Wi-fi, one of the crucial 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 used to be intense! Freerk even created a mini CCDE situation and defined it to us intimately. 

I went once more in February with quite a lot of hopes, alternatively, it wasn’t but my time. Even if I felt higher, extra assured, and happier with my efficiency, it wasn’t sufficient. I spotted I wished extra cloud, extra migrations, extra industry acumen, extra studying abilities, and extra focus. It used to be an never-ending listing! 

I saved a listing of subjects I felt not sure about and added extra after each and every strive. The listing began massive and persevered to shrink through the years whilst I addressed extra subjects—till the final strive. 

For the June strive, I put quite a lot of effort into learning. My Cisco Are living US consultation catalog used to be all about issues I wished for the examination, together with a CCDE techtorial with Mark Holm, Zig Zsiga, and Rick Bauer, and several other periods 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 pals all the way through that consultation. Seems that some discussions aren’t about absolutes or aspects, they fairly fall into a grey house proper within the heart, and there are a number of sunglasses of grey to take care of. Some assumptions are honest, 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 folks I knew. I felt in a position. This used to be 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 efficient and used to be shot down via a FAIL. It used to be, via a long way, 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 now not in a position to triumph over this kind of titanic function after goodbye. My rankings had been appearing some growth after each and every strive, and but, I failed once more and used to be extraordinarily puzzled. 

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 pals had been there for me. As soon as once more, they held me up, they confident me I used to be shut, they usually gave me extra encouragement than I can have requested for. 

I felt like Spiderman (Tobey Maguire) getting carried over their heads after saving the folk at the teach 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 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 used to be I doing all the way through the examination? Someday, if you take care of the information gaps (otherwise you assume you probably did), you need to concern about your exam-taking enjoy and technique. 

I labored extra on my focus and on workout routines to stay myself lively. I introduced quite a lot of chocolates, caffeine, and water and did many, many pushups all the way through the check. 

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

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

I additionally presented from my arsenal to all of the folks taking the examination with me. Maximum of them replied to my proposal with incredulous appears 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 used to be about playing the experience, doing my very best, and feeling happy with how a long way I’ve come. 

This time I didn’t really feel anxiousness crawling over my shoulder all the way through the examination, being concerned concerning the consequence. I used to be centered, entertained, and sure, all about playing myself whilst it took place. 

This time the anxiousness wasn’t within the driving force’s seat. I felt high-quality, 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 used to be, how I felt, what I noticed. I wasn’t positive if I handed, however I did my very best, and I used to be happy with it. I checked the effects someday after whilst sitting subsequent to my pals. At first, I couldn’t imagine it, I believed the web page used to be damaged, and I may now not see the everyday “FAIL” I used to be anticipating. 

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

I persevered to look the ground proper aspect of the display. 

And there it used to be, on the most sensible left of the display. It wasn’t damaged. It wasn’t fallacious. I actually handed, the whole thing used to be all proper. 

It used to be the tip of an technology, the closure I such a lot craved for. I may now not do anything however cry. I used to be at all times sufficient, I used to be at all times in a position, and the adventure in the end made sense.  

CCDE used to be and can be, for me, essentially the most a hit set of screw ups I’ve ever encountered. And I’m happy with it, just like the quote attributed to Thomas A. Edison:

I’ve now not failed. I’ve simply discovered 10,000 ways in which gained’t paintings.

—Thomas A. Edison



*The Cisco Qualified Design Skilled (CCDP) certification used to be 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 Concerns from a Community Architect’s Point of view



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