Cisco announced a major update to their CCNA, CCNP, and CCIE certification programs, and introduced the new DevNet certifications focused on software skills, such as programming, application development, DevOps, and automation.

At Cisco Live 2019 in San Diego, Cisco announced a major refresh and update of their entire certification program, from the CCNA to CCIE level. Some certifications will be retired, some will be changed, and new DevNet certification programs have been introduced. The key idea behind the revamp is to align certification programs with market demand and learners’ preferences, add more flexibility to learning paths, and encourage lifelong learning. New certification exams will be available on February 24, 2020.

In the article below, we cover some of the major updates.

DevNet certifications

This is an entirely new certification track. DevNet certifications are designed for both the network professionals and software developers to optimize and write applications for the new network and choose the technology skills that they want to develop. DevNet Associate and DevNet Professional certifications were already announced and the Expert-level certification is also being expected in the future. DevNet certifications validate software skills, such as programming, application development, DevOps, and automation.

Automation all over the place

As automation is becoming sort of a paradigm in the IT industry, Cisco included automation in every certification track at all levels. Moreover, for every technology track, there are also focused automation specializations, i.e. Data Center Automation and Programmability, Security Automation and Programmability, etc.

One CCNA to rule them all

Currently, Cisco offers the following associate level certifications: CCNA Cloud, CCNA Collaboration, CCNA Data Center, CCNA Industrial, CCDA, CCNA Routing and Switching, CCNA Security, CCNA Service Provider, and CCNA Wireless. All of these will be retired and there will be only one CCNA certification - CCNA. The program covers a broad range of fundamental network and IP topics as well as security, automation, and programmability. You will have to pass the 200-301 CCNA exam in order to earn the badge. Click here to learn more.

Streamlined CCNP

To earn one of the current CCNP-level certifications, you need to have the required associate-level certification(s) (or CCIE) and you have to pass 3 or even more exams. This can take time to accomplish.

New CCNP programs have a simpler structure. In order to succeed, you'll have to pass a corresponding core exam and one concentration (specialization) exam of your choice. Therefore, 2 exams for every CCNP certification. You can, of course, take more than one concentration exam if you want to further expand your skills within a specific technical domain.

CCNP and CCIE have the same technology core exam

Technology core exams cover the foundational and common concepts that are required to understand and work within a specific technology architecture. For CCNP and CCIE, there are five technology core exams available that are focused on Enterprise, Security, Service Provider, Collaboration, and Data Center technologies. This does not mean getting a CCIE badge will get any easier. You will still need to pass the lab exam (lab exams will be updated) and you will have to pass the core exam prior to taking a lab exam.

The CCDE and CCAr certifications will remain as they are for now.

No more prerequisites – start where you want

In the Cisco's next-gen certification paths, learners will certainly have much more flexibility. First, there are no more prerequisites in terms of certifications for any of the levels – you can take any CCNP or CCIE written exam you want without having any Cisco certification. In addition, there will be more flexibility in taking the recommended courses (online or in the class).

Moreover, Continuing education credits for recertification and ongoing development will be available for CCNA, Cisco Certified Specialist, CCNP, and CCIE. As of February 24, 2020, there will no longer be a continuing education administrative fee.


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