April 21, 2015

Introduced in 1993, the CCDE certification is one of the oldest and most well-known top-tier IT certifications. However, in 2009, Cisco created a new level within its certification program: the Cisco Certified Architect, or CCAr for short. Cisco Certified Architects are network architects who can effectively translate business strategies of organizations into evolutionary technical strategies. Keep reading to find out more about how to get certified and what impact it could have on your career success!

What is a Cisco Certified Architect?

A Cisco Certified Architect gathers the business requirements and objectives necessary to produce a blueprint for an integrated, large-scale, complex, global network. They can translate business parameters and objectives into functional requirements for a network design. In addition, Cisco Certified Architects can clearly communicate and advocate proposed Cisco network architectures.

The business benefit to organizations is that certified architects are a key resource to collaborate with C-level line-of-business executives to translate business needs into effective IT systems.

CCAr Board Exam

The CCAr Board Exam requires qualified candidates to develop and defend a network architecture that can effectively support a given set of realistic business requirements. Candidates first submit an application summarizing their project experience and other qualifications and are interviewed by the Cisco-designated Architecture Board team members.

Board examinations are only held once or twice a year, as demand requires.  Due to the intensive evaluation process, only one or two candidates are accepted for each examination period. The total cost of the CCAr Board Exam is US $15,000 and is paid in two parts.  An initial fee of US$3,750 is paid to review the candidate’s qualifications and conduct the initial interview.  Once approved, candidates submit a final fee of US$11,250.00 to receive the architecture challenge documentation and schedule a live Board Review.

Prerequisites include a CCDE certification, approximately 10 years of industry experience, and acceptance into the program via an application process. The Cisco Certified Architect Certification is valid for 5 years.

The Role of a CCAr

Cisco Certified Architect is the highest level of accreditation achievable within the Cisco Career Certification program. CCAr recognizes those who can effectively translate complex business strategies into infrastructure requirements and clearly communicate and advocate the proposed architecture.

The average salary of Cisco Certified Architect is $130,7381, with typical responsibilities including:

  • Analyzing technology and industry market trends
  • Establishing governing principles for enterprise networks
  • Identifying organization resource needs
  • Leading the creation, understanding and evolution of enterprise architecture
  • Selecting appropriate technology and products that support Cisco network architectures
  • Driving communication and an education plan to support the integration of the new enterprise network architecture

Cisco expects that the CCAr will remain an elite certification and that the total number of candidates to achieve it on an annual basis will remain low, mainly due to requirements and cost. Organizations will be encouraged to view architecture as a defined job role rather than as a component of a job role. Though the requirements are tough, the CCAr certification would be an excellent way to boost your resume and be viewed as a subject matter expert.

Check out our other IT certifications here

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Posted By: Ariana Hampton-Marcell

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