Study Buddy and CCDE Books

*Note: No dogs were harmed during this photo nor “Durante La Tormenta” of the decade-and-a-half plus (and counting) of studying involved here…

Network Design might be one of the most fragile yet complex things within the IT industry as a whole. OK, maybe I’m a little biased… So, like most “projects” or “goals” in my life, I began by wanting to learn “just a little bit more about” this, and just kept going from there. With regards for learning the material for the Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) Certification, I tried very hard to keep track of the valuable links and information I came across while studying for it.

This Certification, and its two individual, yet conjoined, parts is quite a beast. There is so much content across so many traditional “Tracks”, “Paths”, or “Disciplines” of Networking to cover, for each part of these exams. As you may or may not be aware, the content spans the gambit on Network Infrastructure Design Technologies (mostly layers 1-3 of the OSI model) including: Routing & Switching, Service Provider, Data Center, Security, Voice, Wireless, Cloud, IoT, Plex VM Servers, etc… OK, maybe Plex is a stretch. Or… Could it be viewed as a “Content” or “Application” Provider, which could potentially leverage hot, or cold, potato routing along with content or data caching? I’m just saying, “Streaming Media” (*Cough* NetFlix *Cough*) is a thing right? Also, let’s not forget three additional non-technical skills required to get the full spectrum here: general business knowledge [and how to communicate technical contents to non “Geeked out” people], reading comprehension and the ability to see the “bigger picture” to suit the business’ goals [not just because it’s a cool technology that you can configure in your sleep].

Unlike most of my CCIE Study plans, taking aim at this certification was not fueled by my undying love/hate relationship of renewing my Current Active Certifications, but to push my knowledge to yet another level and [hopefully] obtain a professional dream I have been chasing since early 2005. I had heard about this “CCDA” design certification “thing” back in 2005 at the boot-camp I had attended twice, and was hooked on the idea of network design ever since. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. I had to attend a bootcamp twice in order to obtain my first certification… Also, on a not-so-well-known sidenote, I failed a combined number of 6 out of the 8 exam attempts I sat for to achieve my original CCNA back in 2005. See? Even us “Experts” fail before we Succeed.

+++ (Most Recent) “Official” start date 2020.02.17 +++
“Official” start date: 2015.12.26 – More on that paradigm in the CCDE V2.1 – Journey post.

“It depends” – Every Network Architect and Designer
“Look at me… I am the Architect [Captain] NOW!” – Adaptation from Captain Philips
“What I learned on Networking [Jefferson] Street” – A tip of the hat to Family Guy.
“show ip route, please?” – A gentleman with two first names and no clue.
“Son… Your Network has a condition…” – Rhodey aka War Machine
“So… What y’all routin’ ’bout?”

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

Some items listed below were performed in parallel (mostly the reading). To keep myself from becoming completely numb on a specific topic, I would mix up a chapter or two from one book supplemented by a second or third book’s chapter on that same topic. Also, sprinkling in a video or two (at 1.5x playback while taking notes worked for me) helped keep it freaky fresh. I’ve also included some milestones I used to gauge myself on my readiness of a specific topic [and some old exams that influenced my path]. This goes without saying, but the below study plan helped me on my journey. However, I wanted to share some resources I found helpful along my journey as well. Please remember, learning and retaining knowledge TAKES TIME. I hope the list below is helpful for anyone looking for some direction.

If you made this this far on this post, I commend you. It was quite a challenge to carve out time between life, work, COVID, taking care of my study Buddy for a few weeks, and everything else in between. As with most things in life, your mileage may vary as opposed to mine. While your nose is to the grindstone, don’t forget, it’s not all about the destination; the journey is where you make the real progress and memories. Keep learning!

My Buddy Reading Up On VPLS
My Buddy Reading Up On VPLS some more…

Stark Out…

For my second time around, here are the additional resources I referenced 🙂

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