Slowhand's Thoughts on the CCDA Journey

SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & SwitchiBay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
So after a little bit of soul-searching, I'm knee-deep in my CCDA studies. It's not exactly where I imagined I'd be almost three years after passing the CCNA exam, but I've been watching the CBT Nuggets with Michael Shannon and it's downright shocking how much I'm actually enjoying this material. GT-Rob was right about the fact that this material would be boring to a break/fix guy, but is very interesting to someone who has had to be a decision-maker and been responsible for network (re)designs. I've had so many "A-ha!" moments as I've been watching the videos on modular design and planning, it makes me wish I'd taken this exam long, LONG ago.

Another thing about Cisco's design methodology is how much consideration is taken of other products. Michael will often stop to talk about how network design and management involves not only network equipment, but also Microsoft Exchange servers, AD, Linux, etc. This was particularly apparent when talking about content routing, caching, and switching. It's refreshing to see, and it gives me a great feeling about studying this stuff; the design principles I'm learning will not be relegated to the mythical "all Cisco" environment, and might actually apply to a general, comprehensive network-design approach. In fact, there have been plenty of times I'm reminded of things I learned for the MCSA, for example, when it comes to checking syslogs and baselining. Did I mention I wish I'd done this exam a long time ago?

All in all, the CCDA seems to be very useful for mid and senior-level network engineers, designers (obviously), and I'd imagine it would be a HUGE help for networking consultants that do everything from simple implementations to entire network roll-outs. Even at this early stage, being only about ten videos into the CBT Nuggets, I can definitely recommend the CCDA to anyone who wants to move beyond being a maintenance tech and wants to move up to putting all those "hard" tech skills to some good use. The one phrase that keeps on going through my head as I get deeper into this is, "it's all beginning to come together."

Now it's just a matter of keeping up the pace and being prepared to take the exam before November 6th, when my CCNA expires. Tick-tock. . .

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Comments

  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    I'm using the following study material: I'm planning on picking up the Diane Teare book in a few days, but I'm also being quite tempted by Priscilla Oppenheimer's Top-Down Network Design. I'm a little torn because I really only have time to read one book, not to mention that I can only afford to buy one book at this point. If I have to go with only one of the two, which should it be?

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  • nelnel Member Posts: 2,859 ■□□□□□□□□□
    hey man,

    Good luck with it. im sure you will ace it.

    the teare book has been sitting on my shelf for over 16 months now and has only been opened a handful of times. I can definitely see why some may find it boring but, from my perspective, its a track i am definitely going to take some day as it really answers why things are done the way they are. In my opinion if your implementing and supporting the stuff, we should have a decent idea why something has been created for a better understanding.
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  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    How did you become a cisco partner?


    Good luck on the CCDA. I have thought about taking this exam as a warm up to CCNP topics. Some have said that the CCNP should come first. I can see why the argument for either or.
  • hypnotoadhypnotoad Banned Posts: 915
    Route (BSCI) is nice to have because you know the ins and outs of routing protocols, so you can select the right one during your design process.
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    How did you become a cisco partner?
    There was a sign-up process, you just really need a Business Name and some contact info, to tell the truth. Since my business is defunct and I'm just renewing the Cisco partner status over and over, and Cisco doesn't seem to mind.
    hypnotoad wrote: »
    Route (BSCI) is nice to have because you know the ins and outs of routing protocols, so you can select the right one during your design process.

    Right now, Cisco recommends BCMSN (now SWITCH) level knowledge for the CCDA exam, in addition to the CCNA. I dare say that having BSCI (now ROUTE) level experience isn't a bad idea either, judging by the discussions about both routing and switching design. I feel fairly comfortable in my routing and switching knowledge to move forward without doing the CCNP exams first, but I do need to brush up on my IP telephony and VoIP knowledge. Luckily, I've got a book on the way from amazon and access to the CCNA: Voice CBT Nuggets as well.

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  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Slowhand wrote: »
    There was a sign-up process, you just really need a Business Name and some contact info, to tell the truth. Since my business is defunct and I'm just renewing the Cisco partner status over and over, and Cisco doesn't seem to mind.

    If you don't mind me asking was there any cost involved with becoming a partner (besides the startup cost for your business and such)?
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    If you don't mind me asking was there any cost involved with becoming a partner (besides the startup cost for your business and such)?

    There's no cost to be a registered partner, the lowest level. I'm fairly sure there are some annual fees for the higher levels. Still, the low level gives you access to PEC, and that's all I really care about at this point.

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  • down77down77 Member Posts: 1,009
    Slowhand wrote: »
    There's no cost to be a registered partner, the lowest level. I'm fairly sure there are some annual fees for the higher levels. Still, the low level gives you access to PEC, and that's all I really care about at this point.

    It depends on the level of partnership. For example Cisco Premier partner and above requires a certain number of certified specialists in Sales, Field Engineering, and Design (Systems Engineering). Silver and Gold partnerships require advanced specialization and lab requirements as well as callback and support requirements.

    More info on certification requirements can be found here:

    Certified Partner - Overview - Partner Central - Cisco Systems
    CCIE Sec: Starting Nov 11
  • Ryan82Ryan82 Member Posts: 428
    Thanks for the great writeup. I had once upon a time cracked the Diane Teare CCDA book and found it dreadfully boring, so much so that I stopped reading it. My impression from reading others reviews of the CCDA track in general were that it was more of a cheerleading campaign for Cisco than a practical approach to design so I was always hesitant to give it another chance.

    That being said, I have always desired to have the knowledge to be able to design a network from the ground up (a task I have never had the opportunity to do) should the occasion arise, or even best practices for adding devices and services to an existing network.

    I think I may well give it another shot icon_thumright.gif
  • GT-RobGT-Rob Member Posts: 1,090
    Great thread! The design material takes a certain "mindset" to get passed the marketing crap and into the real meat and potatoes. You have to remember that yes, Cisco is a company trying to sell their product, but at the same time, companies risk billions on their products/design recommendations, so there must be some truth to their teachings, it can't all be just good salesmen ;)


    A great section I came across last year was the SRND zone of Cisco. Simply gold.

    Design Zone/SRND - Main Page - Cisco Systems

    Probably an overkill for CCDA (or CCDP for that matter), but I use this all the time in my job. I can lab things up, and can "guess" what we should do and whiteboard until my markers are dry, but nothing passes budget like a "cisco validated design" whitepaper lol. Its also nice to see when I set up a new technology/site/whatever, that I can see what they suggest and if Im on track, or way off base.



    The CCDA exam is very high level (1000ft view). Its a theory exam, not a practical. A lot of people don't like that, and I understand its sometimes hard to pull away from the CLI, but its an extremely valuable skill. I know what you mean by the "a-ha" moments, and thats good. Sometimes we do things just out of practice, but don't take the time to think "why this, and not this?".
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    A little bit of an update. I've made my way through all the CBT Nuggets for the exam, and I'm currently boning up a little bit on voice technologies by reading Voice over IP Fundamentals (2nd Edition). So far, I'm enjoying the read, (despite the fact that I find VoIP as exciting as watching C-SPAN on a slow news day,) and it's giving me a pretty good idea of the kinds of technologies I can expect to be tested on. It's by no means a deeply-detailed book, but that's not really what I need, instead it's a 10,000-foot view of VoIP and telephony technologies by Cisco. For anyone needing a little boost on VoIP, wanting to find out more about it before you jump in with both feet and do any voice exams, it's definitely a worthwhile book to pick up.

    I also got the Diane Teare book in the mail today, and will begin reading it as soon as I'm done with the VoIP crash-course. Tick-tock, November 6th is looming.

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  • Knives OutKnives Out Member Posts: 91 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I just wrote last week and passed with an 875 or 876, can't remember off the top of my head. I plowed through the book very fast in around 4 weeks (hello speed reading techniques!). Initially, I was of the mindset it was a terrible read and the theory + product mention was killing me. Later though as I progressed I began to see parallels between a Cisco design and the complex design at my workplace. Mainly I used it to renew my CCNA but found it very beneficial should I ever decide to pursue my own consulting business.

    How's the studying going? Do you have a date to write yet?
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    I will be sitting for the exam on the last possible day for it, November 6th. Right now, I'm gearing up to plow through the rest Diane Teare book as my last week of studying. So far, I'm feeling pretty confident, about 70% of the stuff I've seen in the CBT Nuggets and read in the book is familiar to me, so this last-minute thing isn't as hectic as I was expecting it to be.

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  • qplayedqplayed Member Posts: 303
    @slowhand
    good luck bro! I'm in the same boat as you, but this will be my third attempt icon_sad.gif
    not sure if you'd be up for it...want to review over skype?

    @knives out
    congrats

    1st attempt was at 790
    2nd was at 810
    I missed it by a few icon_sad.gif
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  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    Little bit of an update, not the best of news. Thanks to a last-minute emergency, I've unfortunately spent the $125 I put aside for the exam, (and then some,) on something a little more vital. I'm going to try to scrounge up some cash before Friday afternoon, but I'm thinking that it's too little too late.

    Unless a miracle happens, I'm going to have to take the hit on the CCNA and retake it later. What I'm thinking is that I'll go back to my CCNP studies, then go coast through the composite 640-802 CCNA exam afterwards, much like my former boss did. Of course, I will be doing the CCDA as well, but probably not now.

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