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The Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) exam is an information technology exam created for people who have network design engineer, technician, and support engineer experience. It is for technological professionals who have worked in other field and want to enter the design career. Candidates must have a general knowledge of the fundamentals behind network design. They should be able to design routed and switched network structures for LAN, WAN, and wireless services.
Why is this exam required?
When a candidate completes the exam, they will receive the associate-level certification in the design field. The CCDA certification proves that a candidate demonstrates the basic skills required in order to design networks. They are able to create efficient network environments. This certification is required before they can proceed to a professional design level.
It is recommended for a candidate with high experience in other fields to still receive a certification in the field of design, as well. This is because there are many jobs that require the CCDA certification besides other certifications. Additionally, even if a candidate is a professional in other fields, they would still be at a beginning level for the design field if they choose to follow that career.
The 640-846 Cisco DESGN exam is the only exam which gives the candidate a CCDA associate level certification. Other than that, there are no associated exams.
An entry level Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certification, an associate level Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing and Switching Certification, or an expert level Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification for any field besides design can be taken to qualify for the CCDA exam.
Objectives of the exam:
The exam is divided into six domains, each focusing on different topics associated with comprehending and describing the fundamentals behind designing a network. Each topic covered must be fully understood by the candidate. Each domain takes up a certain percentage of the exam. Below is a list of each domain with the topics covered and the percentage number.
- Describe the Methodology Used to Design a Network (10%)
The topics in this domain are associated with fundamental designing techniques that associate level network designers should have an understanding of. Candidates must describe the first approach to designing a network, the tools and methods used to change the design of an existing network, the features and protocols of network management, and developing business trends. They must also identify network requirements for a business or organization.
- Describe Network Structure and Modularity (13%)
This domain contains basic topics about network structure. Candidates should understand the structures of networks. These topics are crucial for designers. Candidates must describe network architecture, network ranking, and the modular techniques for designing.
- Design Basic Enterprise Campus Networks (27%)
This domain focuses on a specific type of networks, the enterprise campus networks. The topics covered in this domain include describing important details that must be considered before designing campus networks, details about designing an enterprise campus network, designing an enterprise date center, and describing tools for network virtualization.
- Design Enterprise Edge and Remote Network Modules (10%)
In this domain, candidates must describe the characteristics of enterprise edge and teleworker design. They must also describe different aspects of WAN connectivity, design branch office WAN connections, describe how a remote worker can access the network, design the WAN according to specific methods, and identify details to consider before designing a Remote Data Center.
- Design IP Addressing and Routing Protocols (21%)
This domain focuses on topics related to IP addresses. Candidates must describe IPv4 and IPv6 addressing. They should also identify routing protocol considerations for an enterprise network, and design a routing protocol deployment.
- Design Network Services (19%)
Candidates are required to describe the security lifecycle, identify Cisco technologies which can decrease threats to the security, choose the correct security solutions and deployment placement, describe advanced voice and video architectures, identify design considerations for the voice and video services, and use controllers to design wireless networks.
Achieving the CCDA certification qualifies a candidate for many jobs. Some of the jobs focus on designing but a Cisco Certified Design Associate can also qualify for other network-related jobs. This is because the topics covered in the exam also require a candidate’s knowledge of basic network moderation and other aspects.
Once receiving the CCDA certification, a candidate is able to follow their career as a network administrator, network engineer, network support specialist, help desk technician, or a web developer.