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Difference Between CCDA, CCDP, and CCDE


Cisco is one of the leading names when it comes to networking products. Many of the large server infrastructures use Cisco products. Thus, it is advantageous for these companies to hire people who are well aware of Cisco products and how to set them up. To make it easier for their customers, Cisco has created a certification system for those who are knowledgeable with Cisco products. Three of these certifications are the Cisco-Certified Design Associate (CCDA), Cisco-Certified Design Professional (CCDP), and Cisco-Certified Design Expert (CCDE). The main difference between the three is the level of complexity. The three are incrementally more complex, so it is probably better for someone to get the CCDA first, then CCDP, and CCDE last.

A person holding the CCDA certificate is expected to be able to design switched and routed networks for LANS, WANs, and broadband services. This is the most basic level of comprehension for Cisco devices. The next step from CCDA is CCDP. People with the CCDP certification are expected to have the capabilities stated by the CCDA level as well as the ability to design and implement addressing and routing for complex networks like data centers as well as multi-layered enterprise architectures that include wireless domains and VPNs. Lastly, the CCDE should be able to assess and design very large and advanced network architectures. This goes beyond addressing the current needs of the customer but also considers future growth and expansion. The CCDE also considers optimization, security, and integration of the network.

If you are deciding on taking one of these certifications, you should consider that there may be certain prerequisites. CCDA, being at the bottom rung, doesn’t really have any prerequisites. You can take it any time you want as long as you’ve already prepared. After you get the CCDA, that is the time when you can take the exams for CCDP as the former is a prerequisite of the latter along with the CCNA. If you have these two certificates, then it’s just a matter of a single exam in order to get the CCDP. On the other hand, the CCDE doesn’t really have any prerequisites, so you can take it even if you do not have certificates for either CCDA or CCDP. But you need to be well-versed with the topics of CCDA and CCDP in order to pass the written exam of the CCDE.

Unlike the other two, only the CCDE supplements the written exams with a practical exam. This makes sure that you really know what you are doing.


1.CCDA, CCDP, and CCDE are incrementally more complex in scope.
2.CCDA and CCDE doesn’t have prerequisites while the CCDP does.
3.CCDA and CCDP have written exams while the CCDE has written exams as well as practical exams.

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  1. The summary states that CCDA and CCDE has no pre-requisites. This is incorrect. CCDA requires the candidate to hold a current unexpired CCNA certification or any current Expert level certification such as the CCIE.

  2. CCDA requires the candidate to hold a current unexpired CCNA R&S certification or any current Expert level certification such as the CCIE.
    With CCNA DC you cannot certify CCDA.

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