Cisco Redesigns Most Everything about Cisco Certifications: First 5 Facts
Think of everything you know about Cisco career certifications, the various CCNA, CCNP, and CCIE certifications, and all the exams. Cisco just announced its redesign of the whole thing. Sweeping, across-the-board, impactful changes.
I’ll be blogging about these changes, teaching Safari classes about it, tweeting, and doing what I can to help us all through the transition. This post gives the first five facts I think you’d want to know. I have another post ready with the next-five facts which I’ll release either today or tomorrow once I’ve vetted a few facts. Also, I’ve got posts specific to CCNA written and ready for this week as well and ready to post in the next day or so.
You will need time to read and digest all the details. This post is a place to start.
Hello to You Regulars, Welcome to Newbies
Just a quick note. Most people who read this blog regularly are currently pursuing CCNA. I’ll be walking you through the transition for months, so stay tuned! Cisco made this announcement the same week as Cisco Live, so it’s going to be a hectic week for me. I’ll get to the core of the CCNA details some this week and more in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
For you, newbies, welcome! Join in as much as you like, and comment as well. Note that the blog settings do require me to approve comments from new users for a time or three until your comments appear without approval (as a spam prevention method). Bear with me during announcement week to give me time some to approve comments while also running around the CLUS event.
I’ve organized these first few posts into “Top N” style. Enjoy, comments, tweet, whatever!
1: Revealed 2019, Released 2020: February 2020 for New Cisco Certifications/Exams
In June 2019, Cisco revealed their plan. However, unlike every other similar announcement, they did not release new certifications or exams today. All the “old” exams and certifications are still current. Per pre-announce info, they all stay current until Feb 24, 2020.
So, take a breath. Nothing changed today. Nothing changes this calendar year even. You have time to digest it all, consider the changes, finish your current exam, maybe two, maybe three, before the transition occurs in February 2020. (Cisco plans to release training material about the new exams before February as those become available.)
2: Removed CCNA Breadth: Most CCNA CertificationsGone
Cisco announced their sweeping changes to the career certifications in June 2019. At that time, four associate-level certifications had some prerequisite (with CCENT certification being the minimum), and six others with no prerequisites, as shown in this figure.
3: Reaffirmed CCNA (R&S:) Still the Foundation of it All
I don’t expect Cisco to talk a lot about CCNA with their announcements, given that only one remains. However, if you filter all the noise with this detailed announcement and its many parts, the revision from the CCNA 200-125 exam to the new CCNA 200-301 exam looks very much like a typical revision to what we have known as CCNA Routing and Switching for the past decade-plus.
For those of you who know my past books, you won’t be surprised to hear I’ve been working on new CCNA Cert Guides. To get a sense of size, consider the existing CCNA 200-125 exam to be 100% in size. The new 200-301 is smaller at about 75% the size (in terms of content) as compared to 200-125. Of that relative size, roughly 55% is old content from the 200-125 exam, with 20% new content (to total 75% in comparison to the 200-125 exam content.)
Next, if you put the new blueprint next to the new CCNP Enterprise Core blueprint, you can see some interesting facts:
- CCNP Enterprise Core appears to pick up where CCNA stops, both in terms of depth and topic areas.
- CCNP Enterprise Core requires the knowledge in CCNA
So, just like you cannot reasonably attempt the current CCNP Routing and Switching (R&S) certification without knowing the content of the CCNA R&S certification, the same holds with the new CCNP Enterprise and CCNA certifications. Additionally, if you look closely at the CCNP DC, CCNP SP, CCNP Collaboration, and CCNP Security revisions, and the Core exam for each, you will find some CCNP Core exam topics that require knowledge of CCNA topics.
The result: The new CCNP certifications do not require CCNA certification, but the knowledge and skills in the new CCNA act as the foundation for all the CCNP tracks, especially the CCNP Enterprise track.
4: Remixed CCNP: 8 CCNP/CCDP remixed to 5 CCNP
The storyline in this blog post so far is this: You have time to digest and choose a course of action. Be aware that Cisco will be removing most of the CCNA certifications, while keeping and solidifying the place of what was CCNA R&S (soon-to-be simply CCNA). So, what’s left after all these removals? A remix of CCNP, resulting in five tracks.
When Cisco made these announcements in June 2019, there were eight professional-level Cisco certifications, as you see in the next figure. Cisco will remove CCDP, CCNP Cloud, and CCNP Wireless.
Those topics do not just disappear, of course. So, what happened?
CCDP: CCNP Enterprise includes a Concentration exam on Design which looks similar to the old architecture exam for CCDP, with other design topics spread around the other CCNP certifications
CCNP Cloud: (I do not know if it survived the cut. Stay tuned for more!)
CCNP Wireless: Remixed into CCNP Enterprise with two CCNP Enterprise Concentration exams
The results: come February 2020, Cisco will offer five CCNP certifications, as shown here:
5: Reduced Exam Requirements: CCNP = 1 Core Exam + 1 Concentration Exam
Here in June 2019, if you scan all the current CCNP certifications, all except CCNP R&S require you to pass four exams. A few give you a choice of one exam or the other, but for the most part, they each require a predefined set of four exams.
Cisco reimagined CCNP with the result being:
- A CCNP certification with two exams
- Every CCNP has one required “Core” exam (CCNP Enterprise Core, CCNP Security Core, and so on).
- Every CCNP has several Concentration exams available – you pick any one exam to pass to complete your certification.
- Want to learn more? Take other Concentration exams and earn badges (I don’t know details yet – but it’s some credential for passing one exam.)
I know some of you might be a little skeptical, so as an example:
- To get CCNP Enterprise, pass CCNP Enterprise Core, plus any one CCNP Enterprise Concentration exam (for example, CCNP Enterprise Advanced Routing), and get your CCNP.
- To get CCNP Security, pass CCNP Security Core, plus CCNP Security Securing Networks with Cisco Firepower (or any Concentration exam) to get your CCNP Security certification.
More to Come!
I’ll be blogging and tweeting all this week for the announcement and digging in with more blog posts in the months between the reveal and release. Stay tuned!
- Cert portal: cisco.com/go/certifications
- Announcement: cisco.com/go/nextlevel
- CCNA: cisco.com/go/ccna
- CCNP: cisco.com/go/ccnp
- CCIE: cisco.com/go/ccie
- Recert: cisco.com/go/recertification
- DevNet Certs: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications/certifications/devnet.html
- Cisco Press Product Plans: ciscopress.com/newcert