New technologies require new skills – and that’s never been more true than with the advent of AI and generative AI. AI is reshaping network architecture, demanding new ways of working, changing practices, and transforming outcomes. Meanwhile, our community of Cisco learners, 1.5 million strong, is always looking to advance their skills and continue to contribute to our industry. 

That’s why I’m so excited to announce a new expert-level certification from Cisco, focused on designing for AI infrastructure. Today, at Cisco Live 2024 Las Vegas, we’re introducing our Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) – AI Infrastructure certification.  

The CCDE-AI Infrastructure certification is vendor-agnostic. IT professionals who complete the certification will have the expertise needed to design modern AI/ML Compute and Networks – and the ability to continue to do so as those solutions evolve and transform.  

Cisco certifications enable learners around the world to develop the skills they need to thrive in their careers. These certifications also help organizations find the expertise critical to their success. With this new CCDE-AI Infrastructure certification, we bring Cisco’s industry-leading training and certifications to a technology that is already transforming our organizations, industry, and culture. 

“As a long-time collaborator with Cisco, Intel strongly supports their innovative, vendor-neutral expert certification aimed at mastering the design of AI/ML compute and networking Infrastructure,” says John Healy, VP and GM, Intel’s Network and Edge Customer and Ecosystem Enabling Division. “AI is bringing new operational efficiencies and generating important business insights, so it is imperative that the ecosystem helps our customers create network architectures tailored for AI workloads. As AI gets integrated into network and edge footprints, we are helping our customers utilize the full capabilities of our hardware and software, enabling them through training and solutions development.” 

After earning the CCDE-AI Infrastructure certification, technology professionals will have learned skills such as designing network architectures optimized for AI workloads; GPU optimization; building for high-performance generative AI network fabrics; and ensuring the security, sustainability and compliance of networks that support AI. And they’ll be able to do this while incorporating the unique business requirements of AI, such as trade-offs for cost optimization and power, and the matching of computing power and cloud needs to measured carbon use. 

These skills are desperately needed by technology leaders and the enterprises they support and run. According to the Cisco AI Readiness Index, 90% of organizations are investing to try to overcome skills gaps in AI.  

The technology list for the new CCDE-AI Infrastructure certification covers four high-level domains. Here is a partial list of the concepts contained in each. 

  • AI/Machine learning, compliance and governance: This section differentiates between various AI use cases, how they impact the network and how that network should be designed. This domain covers designing for regulations regarding data sovereignty and data locality, energy use, and cost optimization.
  • Network: Nothing happens without the network. This domain includes the properties and functions provided by the network, the differences between different connectivity models, and ensuring adequate bandwidth.
  • Security: Security must be built into infrastructure, not bolted on later. This domain includes secure networks and the process of securing AI applications with relevant web filtering techniques. It also includes AI-enabled tools for log analysis and correlation
  • Hardware and environment: This domain requires a thorough knowledge of specific hardware used to run AI, enabling candidates to choose and use them appropriately. This domain also includes storage options and the use of various AI-enabled tools for log analysis and correlation. 

Testing for the new certification will kick off at Cisco Live Amsterdam, to be held February 10 – 14, 2025. Cisco is actively helping learners prepare for that day. With the blueprint announced today, we are releasing a free AI study plan to help learners get started, and we’ll be providing the learning and training they need to continue. In February, we started offering free AI-related content on Cisco U. to support AI-related topics in our CCIE Data Center and CCNA exam blueprints.  

Get started with one of our AI tutorials at Cisco U.

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Par Merat

Vice President

Cisco Learning & Certifications