Certifications – A Vehicle for Changing Lives


three_documents_18433Whenever I meet people for the first time, it is no surprise to them that I believe in Cisco and the certification process. This becomes obvious when people learn that I have attained multiple CCIEs, the CCDE and have also completed the Business Architect Transformation Program certification. As people continue to get to know me they realize that my love for certification is not simply tied to learning, but also sharing what I learn. In fact, sharing knowledge with others is essentially what provides me with the purpose necessary to truly focus and to make the necessary sacrifices throughout the learning journey. John Chambers said it best when he said that we need to change the way people work, live, play and learn. Cisco certifications are a vehicle for changing lives.

As part of my mission to share knowledge, empower people focused on lifelong learning and to change lives for broader impact, I never thought that I would take part in a Cisco Press publication. This may be strange, but most of my personal learning comes from seeing, hearing, discussing, experiencing and teaching. Reading is a supplementary approach that I use when needed to prepare for discussions as well as mentoring and teaching engagements. When it comes to certifications like CCIE, I have traditionally leveraged reading as a final step to validate and verify that I understand all relevant details associated with a specific topic. Opportunities that I have taken advantage of for sharing knowledge have always seemed to result in being part of interactive engagements centered around real time force multiplication such as:

Throughout my learning journey I have found that design is a topic that is difficult to learn without investing a considerable amount of time reading. Marwan Al-Shawi approached me when he was beginning to write the first CCDE Book  CCDE Study Guide and asked if I would contribute as a technical reviewer. I do not consider myself a strong reader and must have told Marwan ‘no’ around a dozen times until he convinced me that the book would provide considerable impact and that it is an important innovation necessary to empower those taking part in the CCDE journey. As I read through the book to provide relevant input, I was overwhelmed by the amount of detail and effort that went into the publication. I recall telling my wife how impressed I was and how writing a book was something that I would never do. Not long after this publication released, Marwan approached me with the opportunity to coauthor the  CCDP ARCH 4th edition book

Again, I must have told Marwan ‘no’ a dozen times, before he again convinced me that I must be involved in the release of this important publication to assist those interested in learning about design. The commitment and effort required to author a book it not small, but it has been an extremely rewarding experience and I would like to thank my coauthor for the opportunity, encouragement and for leading the way. I only hope that some people benefit from the publication and that it aids them in the journey to become design engineers.


Whether you are preparing for CCDP certification, CCDE certification or simply want to gain a better understanding of designing scalable and reliable network architectures, in the context of places in the network and by better understanding network services, you will benefit from the information and best practices presented in this 900 page book

Please don’t hesitate to reach out on LinkedIn and Twitter to connect. Wishing you the very best in your lifelong learning journey.

Twitter: @askaccde
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Marwan Al-shawi – CCDE No. 20130066, Google Cloud Certified Architect, AWS Certified Solutions Architect, Cisco Press author (author of the Top Cisco Certifications’ Design Books “CCDE Study Guide and the upcoming CCDP Arch 4th Edition”). He is Experienced Technical Architect. Marwan has been in the networking industry for more than 12 years and has been involved in architecting, designing, and implementing various large-scale networks, some of which are global service provider-grade networks. Marwan holds a Master of Science degree in internetworking from the University of Technology, Sydney. Marwan enjoys helping and assessing others, Therefore, he was selected as a Cisco Designated VIP by the Cisco Support Community (CSC) (official Cisco Systems forums) in 2012, and by the Solutions and Architectures subcommunity in 2014. In addition, Marwan was selected as a member of the Cisco Champions program in 2015 and 2016.


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