For those who are seeking employment in the information technology field, or are looking to gain additional training for their current positions, Cisco Systems, Inc. offers a wide range of certifications in its products. The Cisco Certified Design Professional, or CCDP, program is an advanced certification that focuses on network design concepts and principles. Those who obtain this certification have demonstrated their knowledge and abilities on network design concepts including routing, switching, network security and network architecture. Specializing in networking equipment, Cisco Systems is headquartered in San Jose, Calif. Its products have a heavy workplace focus, and span a wide variety of networking, security, and data management services and business solutions. Cisco offers five levels of IT certification on nine different product tracks. Certifications are available the following levels: Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Architect. The product tracks offered are: Routing & Switching, Design, Network Security, Wireless, Voice, Data Center, Storage Networking, Service Provider, and Collaboration. Training and exams related to each of these certifications are administered by the Cisco Learning Network, at learningnetwork.cisco.com. The online portal provides resources for learning options, business community networking, and careers, including a jobs listing portal for those who have completed their Cisco certifications.
To complete the CCDP certification program, it is necessary to pass three required exams. The exams and areas covered are as follows:
- Implementing Cisco IP Routing: Exam covers IP addressing and routing, configuration of secure routing locations, and connecting routing to LAN and WAN networks.
- Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks: Exam covers skills related to the use of Cisco’s Campus Enterprise Architecture, including configuration for enterprise switching solutions and connection of various elements to campus networks.
- Designing Cisco Network Service Architecture: Exam covers network design, infrastructure and solutions. This is the test that divides the CCDP and CCNP programs.
The exams run from 75 to 120 minutes, and are available in English, with some options available in Japanese. The exams are administered in a proctored, timed environment, and are available in classroom or virtual classroom testing situations. Training courses for each test are available through the Cisco website, in classroom or self-directed modules. Training courses typically run for five days and specifically address the network skills that will be tested. Before beginning the coursework for the CCDP, students must first complete the Cisco Certified Design Associate, or CCDA, program. With one required exam, this certification track provides a foundation in design concepts related to network infrastructures and services. Based on the skills covered in the CCDP training and evaluation process, it may be possible to find employment in a number of design-focused positions. Because Cisco products are workplace-friendly, training on those products can be relevant to any employer who uses them. As many of the exam and certification requirements for the CCDP program are the same of the CCNP, those who have completed the design training also may be qualified to compete for networking jobs. Those with CCDP certification may seek employment in the following areas:
- Network design engineer: A network design engineer is responsible for the implementation and networking of various workplace systems, including the configuration and installation of systems, managing WAN and LAN networks, and handling routers and other engineering aspects.
- Systems engineer: A systems engineer handles all aspects of the networked environment, including the routers, switches and components, managed by a network engineer, with additional responsibilities including project planning and environment support. Positions at this level typically require several years of IT work experience.