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The future of Cisco Certifications

If you followed CiscoLive US – 2019 Keynote, you may already aware that Cisco has announced substantial changes to their prestigious Certification Program. Here is a picture when Chuck Robbins – Cisco CEO announce it on stage.

As a Cisco Champions we were briefed about those changes bit earlier and here is the summary of what I know based on what is published on Cisco webpage & conversations I had with Cisco Certification Team here at CLUS.

Cisco will introduce a new certification path called “Cisco Certified DevNet” program which will follow same structure of Associate, Professional & Expert hierarchy. As today’s digital transformation required resources to skill up with both infrastructure & applications, Cisco is helping to develop training programs that include both infrastructure skills as well as software development skills. Below shows summary of high level overview of future Cisco CertEven though it did not highlighted in CLUS keynote, there are massive changes published to existing Infrastructure certification program as well. Here are the key changes at each level, you can read more about those changes from this page.

Associate Level

Cisco decided to scrap all specialized CCNA programs (R&S, Wireless, DC, Security, CyberOps, Service Provider, Collaboration) & have one common CCNA cert. Also they removed CCNA be a pre-requisite to go for any professional level certification.

CCNA v2.0 (or CCNA 200-301) is the certification you have to take in future. It consist of following exam topics, you can refer this page to get detail blue print.

Network Fundamentals (20%)
Network Access (20%)
IP Connectivity (25%)
IP Services (10%)
Security Fundamentals (15%)
Automation & Programming (10%)
Professional Level

There will be 5 Certification Tracks available for Network Infrastructure certification program and DevNet Professional track for Software Development Certification Program. Here are the 5 technology tracks available under “Network Infrastructure” category.

1. Enterprise
2. Security
3. Service Provider
4. Collaboration
5. Data Center

You notice traditional “Routing & Switching” and “Wireless” programs consolidated into one track called “Enterprise” . Also they scrap, Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP) program, however design aspect added to all 5 technology tracks.

Cisco also has changed the way you can achieve your Professional level certification. To become certified Professional, you have to take two exams “Technology Core” & ONE of “Technology Concentration” exams listed under each track.

They have introduced “Cisco Certified Specialist” badge for every time you do a “Technology Concentration” certification. So you require Core Exam & one Specialist Badge to achieve your CCNP status. Below diagram shows all those Core & Concentration available under each track.

As “Enterprise” track is the biggest change, let’s see what’s involve to become CCNP-Enterprise. You have to take two exams

Implementing & Operation Cisco Enterprise Core Technologies (ENCOR 300-401)
– Architecture (15%)
– Virtualization (10%)
– Infrastructure (10%)
– Network Assurance (10%)
– Security (20%)
– Automation (15%)
One of below Exams based on your choice
Implementing Cisco Enterprise Advanced Routing & Services (ENARSI 300-410)
Implementing Cisco SD-WAN Solutions (ENSDWI 300-415)
Designing Cisco Enterprise Networks (ENSLD 300-420)
Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks (ENWLSD 300-425)
Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks (ENWLSI 300-430)
Automating & Programming Cisco Enterprise Solutions (ENAUTO 300-435)
As you can see, there is much more flexibility to choose “Technology Concentration” exam to become CCNP depend on your interest area. If you are Wireless Professional, you can choose one of Wireless concentration exams, if you are into Software development, then you can choose Automation concentration to become CCNP Enterprise. Below diagram shows the overview of Enterprise Certification track.

Expert Level

There are changes in Expert level as well. Cisco has removed CCIE-Written pre-requisite specific to each track. Still you have to do CCNP-Level “Technology Core” exam prior to attempt Lab exam. This will allow you do either directly to go for CCIE lab (depend on your expertise) after CCNP level “Technology Core” exam or continue to do specialized exams (Technology Concentration) & become CCNP.

CCIE Lab structure has also changed. New lab exam cover design, implement & operation aspect as well as some topics related to automation & programming Cisco solutions related to given technology track. Now every track lab exam consist of two parts

3 hr – Design
5 hr – Implement, Troubleshoot, Optimize, Automate
Specific to “Enterprise” technology track, you will have two Lab options. Since this track combined Wireless & Routing-Switching, you will get CCIE-Enterprise Infrastructure or CCIE-Enterprise wireless depend on your choice of Lab exam.

Cisco has standardized on Exam validity period of 3 years for CCIE as well (previously you have to renew active CCIE status in every 2 years)

So when will it go live ?

Even though Cisco announced it in June 2019 (CLUS), new program will go live on 24th February 2020. This mean you have 8 more months to complete whatever the certification program you are currently taking. Cisco advice is complete your current certification journey prior to that date. Specially if you are on your way to CCIE-Lab, it is highly recommend to attempt your labs in current structure.

What migration path available for current certified individuals ?

Depend on certifications you hold, you will get appropriate Specialized badges . You can check what badges/certifications you get using migration tool available under each certification track. For example, if you currently got CCNP-Wireless, you will get CCNP-Enterprise cert and two specialized badges for Enterprise Wireless Design & Enterprise Wireless Implementation.future of cisco certs

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