Welcome back! And, if it’s your first time here at the blog, welcome! This post is more of a continuation aka “Part 2” of my original CCDE V2.1 – Study Plan post. If you haven’t read that one over, please take some time and check that one out b/c the rest of this post may not make sense.

Picking up on the heels of my first attempt at the CCDE Practical Exam (V2.1), I’ll attempt to sum up what’s been going on since I last sat for the Practical Exam back in May of this year. Quite a few projects at work, a LOT of TAC cases for new technologies and hardware for multiple vendors (some cases still open at the moment), some hybrid work office deployments, labbing, new office designs, being flown to offices to squash some issues , a little downtime, rebuilt and finished up my 2nd CCDE Practice Scenario that I created from scratch, and also some hdmi distribution over cat6 for an office install. Oh yea. Studying, learning to rest/relax a bit and also working out. I can’t stress enough how important it is to disconnect from technical stuff and rest, as well as take care of your body during these long game learning/certification plans.

So, after reviewing some “less than comfortable” points from my May attempt earlier this year, and now having a better idea of what and how the CCDE Practical Exam is both structured and looks like, I started formulating a new plan aka strategy on sitting for my second attempt. It’s formulated (like many before me have said) around how to keep track of the over-abundance of data you are presented with in each of the four scenarios. Many of the people I have looked to for advice on this exam have said without a strategy, you are more prone to forget the smaller details; which in turn can/would result in loss of points/optimal branch questions (in the case of the exam). So I tested a few strategies out just reading some documents (both technical and non technical) and I mixed a few items from each of the strategies I tried and came up with one that works for me. I take notes in OneNote while reading through the PDFs/Sites I am on. I may do sparse highlighting within documents and then I setup like a small “table of contents” (or index) on a physical piece of paper to reference either the page that was highlighted with some metadata or information particular to what I may have to reference during the exam (diagram X is L2 diagram, available here). I also went in and doubled down on purchasing some additional training from Jeremy and Malcom as well as Martin Duggan; which was integrated with my existing materials (see first post). Links to what I ended up purchasing this time around are listed below, just like the last post. Not a big spoiler here, but I actually don’t think you can have too much practice 🙂

Additional – CCDE V2.1 Written/Practical Reading and Extended Study List

I think the real difference this time around with studying, is something I actually inherently ask myself everyday when Engineering and Architecting. It’s literally a 3 letter word. Ready for it? Asking “WHY?” Anyone studying for the CCDE has probably seen this in almost every post or book or video series, but until you actually sit there and analyze why is one technology better for this task or why can’t I use this type of distribution protocol to propagate that type of object… For me at least, many topics or designs just wouldn’t set in my head until I did this. And yes, it helps to read stuff, but getting down to the bits and bytes (so to speak) really helped me solidify many topics I had a grasp on, but didn’t get their purpose. Like, where does X fit in the picture for tunneling? or How come you need to pass labels for this, but not for that…

My buddy helping out confirm the rack was empty before we moved it.
My buddy and I migrating some BCP equipment and the corresponding rack out of one location.
Don’t worry, she came out of the rack right after I took the photo 🐶 🤓

Stark Out…

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