Overview of the Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) Certification

The Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) is proficient in designing, testing and evaluating Cisco routed, converged and switched local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs) and broadband networks in the small office/home office (SoHo) market involving less than 100 nodes. The CCDA is a step up from an entry level position and confirms competence in using Cisco network equipment – routers and switches – to develop a service-oriented network architecture (SONA).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job market for the CCDA should be robust from 2008 to 2018 due to the need for the design of new computer networks, data communications and e-mail systems for businesses. The BLS classifies the CCDA as a network systems analyst involved in designing, testing and evaluating network architecture.

In 2008, employment for the network systems analyst was calculated to be 292,000 with an expected rapid growth increase of 53% over the decade to 447,800. These industries are expected to hire the most computer systems designers: data processing, healthcare, hosting and software publishing. The median annual wage for computer network systems analysts was $71,100 in May 2008.

The CCDA is a general, associate degree demonstrating basic knowledge of Cisco networking fundamentals. Cisco is well-recognized as the leader in networking equipment and its IT certifications are well-respected by the industry.

Cisco Systems was founded in 1984. It was instrumental in connecting computers together into networks using routers and switching equipment. In 1993, Cisco Academies established training certifications as benchmarks for competence in the networking profession.

Analytical, communication (written and spoken), mathematical and problem-solving skills are necessary for computer network designers. Typical coursework for the CCDA include database management, electronic business and systems design.

Switching knowledge of the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) are needed to pass the CCDA exam. It is also recommended that students gain Building Converged Cisco Multilayer Switched Networks (BCMSN) knowledge.

Certification requires passing the DESGN v2.1 exam. The Cisco certifications last three years.

Recertification requires passing one of the following exams:

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
  • Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)
  • Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP)
  • Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE)