IT Certification and Career Paths

CCAr Board

Cisco Certified Architect Exam

Exam Number CCAr Board
Associated Certifications CCAr
Duration  
Available Languages English
Register Pearson VUE
Exam Policies Read current policies and requirements

The Cisco Certified Architect 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. Once approved, candidates will be given an architecture challenge and will meet live with Board members to answer questions and defend their design.

Exam Availablity

Board examinations are held one or two times a year, as demand requires. Due to the intensive evaluation process, only one or two candidates are accepted for each examination period. View the CCAr Certification Timeline for more information on exam availability.

The exam is closed book and no outside reference materials are allowed. The following topics are general guidelines for the content that is likely to be included on the practical exam. However, other related topics may also appear on any specific delivery of the exam. In order to better reflect the contents of the exam and for clarity purposes, the following guidelines may change at any time without notice.

  • 47%     1.0   Gather, Clarify, and Analyze Requirements
      

      • 1.1   Gather, clarify, and analyze business requirements
        • 1.1.a   Recognize critical requirements (stated and implied)
        • 1.1.b   Recognize non-critical requirements (stated and implied)
        • 1.1.c   Identify and gather missing information
        • 1.1.d   Identify and clarify ambiguous information
        • 1.1.e   Identify and resolve conflicting information and requirements
        • 1.1.f    Demonstrate knowledge of the business
        • 1.1.g   Decompose requirements and problems into component parts
        • 1.1.h   Recognize and/or clarify CAPEX parameters (e.g., equipment
                    costs, capital software costs, capital facility expenditures)
        • 1.1.i    Recognize and/or clarify OPEX parameters (e.g., software
                    tooling changes, leases, retraining, staffing, support contracts,
                    utilities, licensing and hosting)
        • 1.1.j    Recognize, challenge, and resolve unrealistic requirements
                    (e.g., common-case versus worst-case scenario)
           
      • 1.2   Gather, clarify, and analyze technical requirements
        • 1.2.a   Recognize critical requirements (stated and implied)
        • 1.2.b   Recognize non-critical requirements (stated and implied)
        • 1.2.c   Identify and gather missing information
        • 1.2.d   Identify and clarify ambiguous information
        • 1.2.e   Identify and resolve conflicting information and requirements
        • 1.2.f    Leverage existing network documentation to gain
                    understanding of the current network and how it supports the
                    business
        • 1.2.g   Decompose requirements and problems into component parts
        • 1.2.h   Recognize, challenge, and resolve unrealistic requirements
                    (e.g., common-case versus worst-case scenario)
           
      • 1.3   Align business and technical goals and direction
        • 1.3.a   Map technical solution to business impact
        • 1.3.b   Map business needs and requirements to technology
        • 1.3.c   Recognize the relationship between technical and business
                    requirements
        • 1.3.d   Map business continuity requirements to the network
                    architecture
        • 1.3.e   Establish a vision and strategy for the network with clarity
                    and completeness
        • 1.3.f    Analyze and estimate various impacts on the network from
                    a change in business structure or process
        • 1.3.g   Analyze and estimate the SLAs required by the business and
                    evaluate the impact of outages
        • 1.3.h   Recognize, challenge, and resolve unrealistic requirements
                    (e.g., common-case versus worst-case scenario)
           
      • 1.4   Perform cursory rough estimations for new or changing
               requirements and/or informal what-ifs and requests
        • 1.4.a   Recognize the impact on the existing network and how it
                    currently supports the business
        • 1.4.b   Estimate the general implementation cost and time frame
        • 1.4.c   Estimate project feasibility and practicality (including
                    assumptions of parameters and constraints that impact the two)
        • 1.4.d   Provide an opinion of how the request does or does not
                    align with network and business goals (both current and future)
        • 1.4.e   Recognize and/or clarify CAPEX parameters (e.g.,
                    equipment costs, capital software costs, capital facility
                    expenditures)
        • 1.4.f    Recognize and/or clarify OPEX parameters (e.g., software
                    tooling changes, leases, retraining, staffing, support
                    contracts, utilities, licensing and hosting)
           
  • 23%     2.0   Develop a Functional Specification
                        for the Network

      • 2.1   Devise a solution
        • 2.1.a   The complexity of the network is appropriate for the business
                    requirements
        • 2.1.b   The survivability of the network is appropriate for the business
                    requirements
        • 2.1.c   The scalability of the network is appropriate for the business
                    requirements
        • 2.1.d   The manageability of the network is appropriate for the business
                    requirements
        • 2.1.e   The security of the network is appropriate for the business
                    requirements
        • 2.1.f    The performance of the network is appropriate for the business
                    requirements
        • 2.1.g   The cost of the network is appropriate for the business
                    requirements
           
      • 2.2   Perform risk analysis
        • 2.2.a   Technologies
        • 2.2.b   Security
        • 2.2.c   Legal
        • 2.2.d   Dependencies (e.g., outsourcing to third parties, training,
                    tools, provisioning)
           
  • 10%     3.0   Create a Roadmap

      • 3.1   Create a migration and transition strategy
        • 3.1.a   Account for long-term requirements
        • 3.1.b   Perform and account for risk analysis
        • 3.1.c   Minimize the negative impact on existing services
        • 3.1.d   Identify parties responsible for design, implementation, and
                      operation tasks
        • 3.1.e   Strive for ease of implementation
           
  • 10%     4.0   Convey Decisions and Rationale
                        (Written and Verbal)

      • 4.1   Communicate to a business audience
        • 4.1.a   Articulate business problems, requirements, and constraints
        • 4.1.b   Articulate technical problems, requirements,
                      interdependencies, and constraints
        • 4.1.c   Communicate the business strategy and direction
        • 4.1.d   Communicate the risks and benefits
        • 4.1.e   Communicate with specificity rather than generality (e.g.,
                      "does not scale because …" rather than simply "does not
                      scale")
        • 4.1.f    Communicate the rationale for decisions clearly and
                      confidently
        • 4.1.g   Accept, think about, and respond to changing requirements,
                      criticisms, questions, and challenges in a timely and
                      positive (not arrogant or defensive) manner
        • 4.1.h   Influence others
           
      • 4.2   Communicate to a technical audience
        • 4.2.a   Articulate business problems, requirements, and constraints
        • 4.2.b   Articulate technical problems, requirements,
                      interdependencies, and constraints
        • 4.2.c   Communicate business strategy and direction
        • 4.2.d   Communicate risks and benefits
        • 4.2.e   Communicate with specificity rather than generality (e.g.,
                      "does not scale because …" rather than simply "does not
                      scale")
        • 4.2.f    Communicate the rationale for decisions clearly and
                      confidently
        • 4.2.g   Accept, think about, and respond to changing requirements,
                      criticisms, questions, and challenges in a timely and
                      positive (not defensive) manner
        • 4.2.h   Influence others
           
  • 10%     5.0   Demonstrate Technical Expertise
     

      • 5.1   Technical expertise
        • 5.1.a   Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of a wide array of
                      network technologies (e.g., Layer 3 routing, tunneling, security,
                      network management)
        • 5.1.b   Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of places in the network
                      (e.g., data center, WAN, campus)
        • 5.1.c   Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of a wide array of
                      applications on the network (e.g., voice, video)
        • 5.1.d   Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of interactions between
                      components and technologies
        • 5.1.e   Demonstrate knowledge of current and future directions of
                      technologies, places in the network, and applications
        • 5.1.f    Demonstrate detailed knowledge of a range of network
                      technologies applicable to infrastructure design (e.g., Layer 3
                      routing, tunneling, security, network management)
           
  • Courses listed are offered by Cisco Learning Partners-the only authorized source for Cisco IT training delivered exclusively by Certified Cisco Instructors. Check the List of Learning Partners for a Cisco Learning Partner nearest you

    There are no formal training programs available for the Cisco Certified Architect certification. Candidates must hold a valid CCDE certification and submit an application with their qualifications, before attempting the board examination. Approval to take the board exam is based on depth and breadth of architecture experience. View the Cisco Certified Architect Exam Topics for more details.

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