It’s that time again! Time for a refresh. Like anything in technology, things need to evolve. Cisco is doing just that with their line of technical certifications. The key is to try to remain relevant with the newest technologies while still offering the same value to the certifications that have been around previously as well. With that, there are some big changes coming to Cisco Certifications next year.
The why of these changes is that networking has changed a lot recently. No longer can people be a routing or wireless or security network engineer and stick to their silo. There is a true need for people to be groomed with knowledge, at least a basic knowledge, in all areas because of how intertwined the systems that make up the modern-day network are. The goal of the new certification program from Cisco is aimed at just that: building and certifying well rounded network admins and engineers.
New Certification Structure
The structure will look somewhat similar for a lot of people. There is still a CCNA, CCNP, and CCIE to be achieved. There are a couple changes though too. Instead of earning a CCNA Security for instance, which was still an associate level exam previously, there was a new category created and that is the Cisco Certified Specialist. This is for those people who went on after a CCNA to do just that: specialize in a specific area. It is acting as that mid-point before moving on to a CCNP.
I want to take a moment to outline each of the changes to the different certification levels and how that will affect everyone. For the CCNA, there will be one exam going forward. One single exam that anyone going for a CCNA will take. A single, core knowledge option to begin your Cisco certification journey. East as that.
The CCNP is where things start to take a big twist in how they work. The CCNP will now be changed from 3-4 exams to only 2. This includes a “core” knowledge exam that everyone has to take and then a concentration exam in that CCNP area you are focusing on, such as a specific area of security.
The CCIE is changing as well. Well, ok, not that much when it comes to the number of exams you have to take. There is a “qualifying exam” which is a lot like a core knowledge exam in my eyes and then your lab exam. Very similar to the way things are today overall. Oh yea, there is one thing! The recertification window just became 3 years instead of 2! This will take place going forward for renewals after Feb 24, 2020.
Remember I talked about remaining relevant? This is a prime example. So much in networking is taking a turn towards programmability and automation, so it’s time that DevNet was shown some love in the certification realm as well. That’s exactly what’s happening.
Other Points of Interest
So there are a few other things that I know people are asking themselves. The first is when does this take place and when do the new exams launch. That date is February 24th, 2020.
A lot of people like the continuing education option for the CCIE. Well now a lot of additional people have the chance to enjoy it as well. The CE program will now be in effect for all certifications as shown below. One callout is that the CCIE CE point value was increased due to it being a 3 year renewal now as well.
Additionally, you will notice that the certification paths are different than they are now. Everyone who has a certification today will be migrated into one of these new certification paths. I have a CCIE RS currently, when this goes live, that will be migrated into a CCIE Enterprise for example.
Where do I get more information?
Cisco has put together a new certification page outlining these changes and what you need to do as a certification candidate going forward. That page is located here: https://www.cisco.com/go/nextlevel. Feel free to comment below and I will answer as much as I can too!