One of the primary reasons I originally started this blog, was to use it for personal accountability with my Cisco certification progress. As I studied and understood a particular topic, I could write a blog article on that topic to cement it in my mind and share that knowledge with others.
The complete lack of blog posts reflects how well that plan went… I did complete my CCNP Security and was in pursuit of my CCIE Security when my career trajectory shifted. No longer was I solely a Network or Security Architect, an increasing portion of my role was focused on Network Automation and solving problems at a massive scale. I stopped chasing traditional networking certifications and spent many thousands of hours learning Python and Golang to best solve the problems I was faced with at my job.
While that work has been fulfilling and challenging, it doesn’t present itself well to the traditional Networking world mindset of “certification chasing”. Since I stopped actively pursuing Cisco certifications I have had more than one conversation where people have asked things like: “So where’s your CCIE at?” or “Are you going into management now?” As I looked at the Cisco certifications available, there wasn’t one that presented value to me and the work I was doing every day, beyond the basic knowledge acquired in getting my CCNA and CCNP Voice, Security, and Route/Switch in the past. I couldn’t justify the expense (in both money and time away from my family) to chase a CCIE if it didn’t apply to my career.
Well as of today, Cisco is announcing something that changes all of that, and I’m super excited. They are doing a complete, top to bottom, refresh and realignment of the certifications that are offered, and the process to get/keep them.
New and Improved Cisco Certifications⌗
All the discussed changes below go into effect on February 24th, 2020. So you’ve got time to finish your existing studies or gear up for a new certification/track.
First and foremost, and the most personally exciting to me, is that there is a completely new certification track:
Now Network Automation/Netdevops is to be recognized via DevNet certifications in their track! Including up to a forthcoming DevNet Expert certification targeted at the same level of expertise expected out of CCIE-level folks.
According to DevNet the DevNet Professional level exam/certification is targeted at:
… developers who have at least three to five years of experience designing and implementing applications built on Cisco platforms. Two exams cover designing and developing resilient, robust and secure applications using Cisco APIs and platforms, and managing and deploying applications on Cisco infrastructure.
This is exactly where I find myself sitting today, and I’m super excited to see that Cisco and the folks at DevNet are listening to the community and responding to this need! I will be one of the first people in line next February when these exams go live. And I can 100% see the value in pursuing the DevNet Expert examination in my career path.
There are some significant changes to the certification paths, even inside the existing network-focused paths.
- No more prerequisites for any Cisco certification, if you’re at the Professional or Expert level in your field, go sit that exam.
- All certifications are good for 3 years from the last pass date (including Expert level).
- There are now additional options, including Continuing Education, for renewing your certifications at all levels.
- Associate level (CCNA or DevNet Associate) is one exam.
- Professional level (CCNP or DevNet Professional) is two exams:
- A Core skills exam in your track.
- A Concentration exam in a more specific area of focus to your specialization.
- Taking additional specialization exams will grant you Cisco Specialist badges/awards.
- The tracks available to the Networking path narrow down to Enterprise, Security, Service Provider, Collaboration, and Data Center.
- For example, Route/Switch and Wireless are being collapsed into the Enterprise track.
- Each of these topics now exists as a concentration or specialization exam inside the Enterprise track at the Professional level.
- If you’re mid-CCNP and want to know what the path forward for you looks like:
As discussed above, these changes will go into place on February 24th, 2020. However, exam topics and other information are now live via the links below. And expect MANY blog posts and other information from Cisco in the coming days, weeks, and months.