Only a handful of individuals across the globe have been certified in what is considered the top networking accreditation in the ICT industry after it was launched in June.
Speaking at the Cisco Networkers event in Brisbane at the end of September, Learning at Cisco marketing director, Fred Weiller, said the slow uptake resembled the introduction of the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert's (CCIE) certificate 15 years ago.
The Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) used to be considered the top networking certification until the vendor introduced the Cisco Certified Architect (CCA) ranking. The CCA certification costs US$15,000 and the CCDE is a prerequisite.
Weiller said although the number of CCAs remains in the single digits, there are around 15 individuals with the CCDE globally that are qualified to take the next step.
“From a projection standpoint globally, we’re thinking that the number of CCAs will remain in the double digits for a few years and therefore it’s safe to predict the number of architects in Australia will remain in the single figures,” Weiller said.
The CCA certification was introduced to develop skills about understanding a business and its organisational goals, and then create a design or blueprint for a network that addresses said goals. Whereas the CCIE was originally created for implementation and troubleshooting of networks.
“Architects will have some very high-level people in front of them and some very high-stake decisions are based on their recommendations,” Weiller said.
“In fact, millions of dollars will be committed based on an architect’s recommendations, so they need to have the ability to communicate the value, advantages, options and what it means to reach the objectives to the relevant stakeholders.”
Weiller urged potential candidates to think about the CCA in terms of a doctorate program, so much so he even referred to it as ‘the PHD of Cisco’.
A solid 10-years experience in design and architecture is a recommended minimum, along with good writing and communication skills.
Firstly, a potential CCA is required to send Cisco a resume, along with a set of documents outlining the work they have already done in the design and architecture space during their career.
Based on that profile a panel of three judges decides whether a candidate is worthy of certification.
“If you pass the first filter, the panel provides you with an architectural challenge, in the form of a request for proposal. The goal is to really understand those business objectives translating into a technical infrastructure,” Weiller said.
Once the candidate has proven to the judges they can meet the set architectural challenge, they are awarded certification. Re-certification for a CCA will be in the form of contributing back to the program and be a judge occasionally.
More information about becoming a CCA can be found on Cisco's website.