Cisco Career Certifications: Design & Security

Last week we started to look at the Foundation Certs of the Cisco Career Certifications. Now we’ll continue with Design and Security Certifications.

Design Certifications

CCDA – Cisco Certified Design Associate

CCDA certification indicates a foundation or apprentice knowledge of network design for the Cisco converged network. CCDA certification designates professionals who can design routed and switched network infrastructures and services involving LAN, WAN, and broadband access for businesses and organizations. The exam topics were recently updated to include design methodology, network structure, campus design, enterprise edge, and more.

Prerequisite: CCNA-level knowledge and SWITCH knowledge are needed to prepare for the CCDA certification exam.

Required Cisco Exam: 640-864 DESGN

CCDP – Cisco Certified Design Professional

The CCDP certification indicates advanced journeyman knowledge of intelligent network design concepts and principles. A network professional with CCDP certification can discuss, design, and create advanced addressing and routing, security, network management, data center, and IP multicast complex multilayered enterprise architectures that include virtual private networking and wireless domains.

Prerequisite: Valid CCNA certification and CCDA certification, or any CCIE certification.

Required Cisco Exams:
642-902 ROUTE
642-813 SWITCH
642-874 ARCH

CCDE – Cisco Certified Design Expert

Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) validates advanced network infrastructure design principles and fundamentals for large networks. With a CCDE certification, a network professional demonstrate an ability to develop solutions which address planning, design, integration, optimization, operations, security and ongoing support focused at the infrastructure level for customer networks.

Prerequisite: There are no formal prerequisites for CCDE certification, but it is expected that the candidate will have an in-depth understanding of the topics in the exam blueprints, a minimum of seven years job experience, and a thorough understanding of networking infrastructure principles.

Required Cisco Exams:
Step One: CCDE Written Exam
You must pass the two-hour, written qualification exam which covers advanced networking infrastructure design principles and concepts. Once you pass the written exam, you are then eligible to schedule the practical exam.

Step Two: CCDE Practical Exam
The CCDE Practical exam is a design-scenario exam that tests your ability to perform design analysis, justify design requirements, and develop a design implementation based on best practices. The exam will assess your ability to apply your specific body of knowledge into current business problems of technical network design. The topics covered in the Practical exam are located within the exam blueprint. The exam scenarios will change each instance the exam is delivered, however, the topics will remain the same.

Security Certifications

CCNA Security

More than any other area, security and risk management skills are some of the highly sought across the network, and demand is continuing to grow. The CCNA Security confirms your competency for job roles such as network security specialists or support engineers and security administrators. It also validates installation and troubleshooting skills, as well as monitoring network devices for integrity, confidentiality, and availability. Through your exam preparation, you will get an introduction to core security technologies and also learn how to develop security policies and mitigate risks. These skills will enable you to develop a security infrastructure, recognize vulnerabilities in networks, and detect potential security threats.
Prerequisite: Valid CCNA certification or any CCIE certification.
Required Cisco Exam: 640-553 IINS

CCNP Security – Cisco Certified Network Professional Security

Last year Cisco completed a significant upgrade to their CCSP program, including a new name: Cisco Certified Network Professional Security (CCNP Security). Key changes to the program include:

  • Focus on daily job tasks of experienced network security professionals and engineers
  • More emphasis on defining service, service levels, and quality of service
  • Streamlined process eliminates elective requirements

Prerequisite: Valid CCNA Security certification, valid CCSP certification, or valid CCNA certification plus SND exam pass.
Required Cisco Exams:
642-637 SECURE v1.0
642-627 IPS v7.0
642-647 VPN v1.0
642-617 FIREWALL v1.0

CCIE Security

CCIE Security certification is the industry standard for recognizing network security engineers who have demonstrated expert-level performance implementing, configuring, and troubleshooting Cisco network security solutions.

To earn the CCIE Security certification, you must not only prove your theoretical knowledge of security best practices in the CCIE Security written exam, but you must also demonstrate your skill in the CCIE Security lab exam using real equipment in real-world scenarios. Because of this rigorous process and the expert-level knowledge and skill it requires, CCIE Security certification is one of the most advanced network security certifications available and qualifies you to manage, lead, and design the most complex network security teams and projects.
Prerequisite: While there are no formal prerequisites for CCIE Security certification, you are expected to have an in-depth understanding of the topics in the exam blueprints and are strongly encouraged to have three to five years of job experience before attempting certification.

Required Cisco Exams:
Step One: CCIE Security Written Exam
You must pass the two-hour written exam covering areas such as security protocols, operating systems, application protocols, security technologies, and Cisco security applications before you are eligible to schedule the lab exam.

Step Two: CCIE Security Lab Exam
The CCIE Security lab exam is an eight-hour, hands-on exam which requires you to configure a series of secure networks to given specifications. Knowledge of troubleshooting is an important skill, and you are expected to diagnose and solve issues as part of the CCIE Security lab exam. Your first lab attempt must be made within 18 months.

Related Courses
Cisco Certifications

In this article

Join the Conversation


  1. cisco security Reply

    Cisco’s CCNA certification is one of the best entry level certification if you are considering to enter the field of Computer Networking. From many years Cisco certification is getting evolved and it is now the first and foremost certification exam to get an entry level IT job. These days employers look not only for the skills but also the alphabets that you have in your resume. That is to say that they like to see that you have an interest in the field and have already started to learn and implement.

  2. cisco training Reply

    Cisco organizes its certifications into four broad tiers designed to help professionals measure their growth over time. By investing in themselves or by enrolling in employer-sponsored education programs, IT workers can qualify for high-paying, recession-proof networking jobs.