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Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr)

Overview

CCAr is the highest level of accreditation achievable within the Cisco certification program. The Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) certification is for senior network infrastructure architects who produce technical specifications for the network to support business objectives. The curriculum focuses on understanding the business strategy and translating it into technical infrastructure requirements.

Prerequisites

Valid Cisco CCDE certification can act as a prerequisite, along with a thorough understanding of networking infrastructure principles. To earn this Cisco certification, you must complete the following:

CCAr Board Exam

The CCAr Board Exam requires qualified candidates to develop and defend a network architecture that can effectively support a given set of realistic business requirements. Candidates first submit an application summarizing their project experience and other qualifications and are interviewed by the Cisco-designated Architecture Board team members. Candidates shall not submit project experience related to any classified projects. Submission of classified project information will be cause for immediate disqualification. Once approved, candidates will be given an architecture challenge and will meet live with Board members to answer questions and defend their design.

Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) certifications are valid for five years. CCAr will remain certified as long as they continue to contribute to maintaining the Cisco Certified Architect Certification program. Current recertification policies require Cisco Certified Architects to complete qualifying events within the 24 months preceding the expiration deadline.

Qualifying events include:

  • Contribution to the development lifecycle
    • Significant participation in the creation of new exam content or
    • Significant review/refinement of existing content or
    • Involvement in future direction of the program
  • Participation as a judge in a candidate evaluation
    • Application review/interview for TWO (2) candidates (in the case where the candidate’s application IS NOT approved to progress to the board review) or
    • Application review/interview and in-person board review for ONE (1) candidate (in the case where the candidate’s application IS approved to progress to the board review)

Requirements
The CCDE certification is a two-year program intended to recognize advanced-level skills in network infrastructure design principles and fundamentals. This highly prestigious certification validates the skills required to translate business needs, budget, and operational constraints into the design of a converged solution, bringing value to the enterprise.
To obtain a CCDE certification, candidates must prove and justify their theoretical knowledge of network design and best practices with a written and a practical exam. The written exam tests a candidate’s combined knowledge of routing protocols, internetworking theory, and design principles.
The practical exam is a scenario-based exam that assesses the ability to analyze design requirements, justify design decisions, and validate and optimize a network design based on best practices. The CCDE certificate holder’s design knowledge is both broad and deep. A CCDE certified individual must understand the requirements to design the infrastructure to support the applications (voice, video, security, etc.) running on the network. There are no formal prerequisites for CCDE certification. However, candidates are expected to have an in-depth knowledge of advanced internetworking theory and design principles, and are strongly encouraged to have greater than seven years of job
experience before attempting this certification.

Full Description

A. Gather, clarify, and analyze business requirements

  1. Recognize critical requirements (stated and implied)
  2. Recognize noncritical requirements (stated and implied)
  3. Identify and gather missing information
  4. Identify and clarify ambiguous information
  5. Identify and resolve conflicting information and requirements
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of the business
  7. Decompose requirements and problems into component parts
  8. Recognize and/or clarify CAPEX parameters (e.g., equipment costs, capital software costs, capital facility expenditures)
  9. Recognize and/or clarify OPEX parameters (e.g., software tooling changes, leases, retraining, staffing, support contracts, utilities, licensing and hosting)
  10. Recognize, challenge, and resolve unrealistic requirements (e.g., common-case vs. worst-case scenario)

B. Gather, clarify, and analyze technical requirements

  1. Recognize critical requirements (stated and implied)
  2. Recognize noncritical requirements (stated and implied)
  3. Identify and gather missing information
  4. Identify and clarify ambiguous information
  5. Identify and resolve conflicting information and requirements
  6. Leverage existing network documentation to gain an understanding of the current network and how it supports the business
  7. Decompose requirements and problems into component parts
  8. Recognize, challenge, and resolve unrealistic requirements (e.g., common-case vs. worst-case scenario)

C. Align business and technical goals and direction

  1. Map technical solution to business impact
  2. Map business needs and requirements to technology
  3. Recognize the relationship between technology and business requirements
  4. Map business continuity requirements to the network architecture
  5. Establish a vision and strategy for the network with clarity and completeness
  6. Analyze and estimate various impacts on the network from a change in business structure or process
  7. Analyze and estimate the SLAs required by the business and evaluate the impact of outages
  8. .Recognize, challenge, and resolve unrealistic requirements (e.g., common-case vs. worstcase scenario)

D. Perform cursory rough estimations for new or changing requirements and/or informal what-ifs and requests

  1. Recognize the impact on the existing network and how it currently supports the business
  2. Estimate the general implementation cost and time frame
  3. Estimate project feasibility and practicality (including assumptions of parameters and constraints that impact the two)
  4. Provide an opinion of how the request does or does not align with network and business goals (both current and future)
  5. Recognize and/or clarify CAPEX parameters (e.g., equipment costs, capital software costs, capital facility expenditures)
  6. Recognize and/or clarify OPEX parameters (e.g., software tooling changes, leases, retraining, staffing, support contracts, utilities, licensing and hosting)

 

 2. Develop a functional specification for the network

A. Devise a solution

  1. The complexity of the network is appropriate for the business requirements
  2. The survivability of the network is appropriate for the business requirements
  3. The scalability of the network is appropriate for the business requirements
  4. The manageability of the network is appropriate for the business requirements
  5. The security of the network is appropriate for the business requirements
  6. The performance of the network is appropriate for the business requirements
  7. The cost of the network is appropriate for the business requirements

B. Perform risk analysis

  1. Technologies
  2. Security
  3. Legal
  4. Dependencies (e.g., outsourcing to third parties, training, tools, provisioning)

 

 3. Create a road map

A. Create a migration and transition strategy

  1. Account for long-term requirements
  2. Perform and account for risk analysis
  3. Minimize the negative impact on existing services
  4. Identify parties responsible for design, implementation, and operation tasks
  5. Strive for ease of implementation

 

 4. Convey decisions and rationale (written and verbal)

A. Communicate to a business audience

  1. Articulate business problems, requirements, and constraints
  2. Articulate technical problems, requirements, interdependencies, and constraints
  3. Communicate the business strategy and direction
  4. Communicate the risks and benefits
  5. Communicate with specificity rather than generality (e.g., “does not scale because…” rather than simply “does not scale”)
  6. Communicate the rationale for decisions clearly and confidently
  7. Accept, think about, and respond to changing requirements, criticisms, questions, and challenges in a timely and positive (not arrogant or defensive) manner
  8. Influence others

B. Communicate to a technical audience

  1. Articulate business problems, requirements, and constraints
  2. Articulate technical problems, requirements, interdependencies, and constraints
  3. Communicate business strategy and direction
  4. Communicate risks and benefits
  5. Communicate with specificity rather than generality (e.g., “does not scale because…” rather than simply “does not scale”)
  6. Communicate the rationale for decisions clearly and confidently
  7. Accept, think about, and respond to changing requirements, criticisms, questions, and challenges in a timely and positive (not defensive) manner
  8. Influence others

 5. Demonstrate technical expertise

A. Technical expertise

  1. Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of a wide array of network technologies (e.g., Layer 3 routing, tunnelling, security, network management)
  2. Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of places in the network (e.g., data centre, WAN, campus)
  3. Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of a wide array of applications on the network (e.g., voice, video) Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of interactions between components and technologies
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of current and future directions of technologies, places in the network, and applications Demonstrate detailed knowledge of a range of network technologies applicable to infrastructure design (e.g., Layer 3 routing, tunnelling, security, network management)

Fees & Schedule

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