Everyone has heard things about the CCDE Practical. And how it's a flash-based, computer-based examination regarding design scenarios. Different people have different views about this. And we've seen a few opinions offered on different message boards already! Well, there was a demo of it in the Certifications Booth at Cisco Live (Networkers) this year! Hopefully you got a chance to wander back and see it!
So a couple different things to look at and think about here. Things were discussed during a breakout session about the CCDE. It is a computer-based exam. It will be offered at Vue testing centers. Well, sort of. Don't freak out or anything yet, because it's not going to fall victim to any of your typical "shortcut methods" to certification!
It's going to be given at Vue's Super Testing Centers. There's a lot of extra comforts (since you'll be stuck for 8 hours) and extra security measures. There are very few of these locations to begin with (but more than Cisco has CCIE Lab test locations!), and more so, right now they are looking at one location per quarter (4 times per year then!) in a different location.
There will be changes/updates from one time to the next as well, so even if you heard something (which still isn't cool to break NDA) it won't necessarily help anyway!
With this program, Cisco is taking some interesting steps to assure the integrity of the program along with giving the opportunity to reach different geographic areas that may not e conveniently handled by current CCIE Lab locations. Watch for further announcements there!
On a completely different line of thinking was the demo itself. It was pretty slick. There was lots of reading to do (see Michael Morris' blog on NetworkWorld's site for some screenshots as well) and tasks associated with it. There was also a LOT of background noise while doing the demo, so hopefully that will not be part of the torture in the real practical! :)
Another interesting thing (being that it's a beta), not everything was perfect. Note to self... When you ask a proctor a question, and they smile when they are answering, it may not be entirely honest! :) It's all good though! Needless to say, I did not perform in any spectacular fashion on this 8-9 question beta scenario here.
However, the one important thing I did come away with was an idea of what they were grading and HOW they were grading, and the types of things they were looking for. I also had some conversations with people inside the program to further that and I have to say that even though many people downplay the idea of the computer-based testing for design, I think the way they are going about it in detail is really very strong.
It's definitely unlike any computer-based testing you've ever done before!
But that's half the fun, isn't it? I'm sure more announcements with this will be coming down the road, but I'm looking forward to being thoroughly abused by eight hours of it in October!