Cisco Redesigns Most Everything about Cisco Certifications: First 5 Facts

By certskills June 10, 2019 12:50

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!



RIPv2: Cert Guide PT Labs for ICND1 Chapter 19
Cisco Cert Redesign: Next 5 Facts
By certskills June 10, 2019 12:50
Write a comment


  1. Adam June 10, 15:40

    Just lovely. Right after I bought a few Cisco Press books for the cancelled certs. Will see if I can send them back now.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Mohamed June 10, 16:21

    so i would like to ask should i go for ccna now or wait until the new release

    Reply to this comment
  3. Ruben June 10, 16:49

    Tks for the update !

    Reply to this comment
    • Adam June 11, 13:10

      I’m set to take the ROUTE exam at the beginning July. Should I still take it or wait for the new CCNP setup?

      Reply to this comment
  4. certskills Author June 10, 17:49

    Adam and Mohamad,
    I’ve got two posts about whether to pursue the current certs, or not, with tradeoffs, posting on this blog site Tuesday. Maybe consider those. The new certs are available until Feb 24 2020, so you have plenty of time – and you can study now and be ready for the new. I’ll post about that in the next weeks. Anyway, more coming, stay tuned.

    And Adam – most bookstores know that they’ll go out of business without you being a return customer (many times) so if you do choose to return, definitely ask your bookstore. Most of the times I’ve tried to return a book it was no problem. (They get credit from the publisher.)

    Reply to this comment
    • Joshua June 10, 21:01

      Do we have any knowledge on what happens to folks who got a CCNA Security or Collaboration AFTER they got the CCNA Route and switch? Come February we will have nothing to show for getting a CCNA in these tracks since they will just all be rolled into one as the new CCNA.

      Reply to this comment
      • certskills Author June 10, 21:32

        There’s supposed to be a “migration” tool that will give a definitive answer. Pretty hectiv here, and I’ve not seen it, but I talked to someone at the Cisco Cert Lounge today at the show and they said it was live. That tool (per this person) would let you choose the exams you might pass and then what credentials you would have with the new program. Will post in the blog once I can find it.

        Reply to this comment
        • Joshua June 10, 21:38

          Thanks for the response! I have seen that tool for the current CCNP exams migrating to the new CCNP enterprise but not for anything else yet, but will take another look. Btw your cert books are an amazing resource and pretty much integral to me passing the CCNA. Thank you!

          Reply to this comment
    • Mohamed June 12, 09:56

      Mr. wendell i was planning to go for ccna cyber ops exam as i have a voucher for both exams should i go for it or not

      Reply to this comment
  5. Akram Al-Wardany June 10, 17:55

    i’ll follow you to get the latest news

    Reply to this comment
  6. John Brown June 10, 19:15

    These updates from Cisco, Microsoft, VMWare, are all so tiresome. I think people are starting to realize that these certs are meaningless so less and less people striving to get them. They are all just a waste of money if you ask me.

    Reply to this comment
  7. joshgoldeneagle June 11, 00:52

    Hmm, so if we currently hold CCNA Route Switch certification and want to maintain our certification after February 2020, our only options are:
    – Take a CCNP level exam
    – Take the new CCNA exam

    Is that correct?

    It’s unfortunate because my Cisco cert is good through July 2021 (3 years), and I was looking forward to taking the CCNA CyberOps exam to maintain my current Cisco cert. If I take the CyberOps exam before February it would extend my CCNA Route Switch cert by 18 months, and then I end up with the CyberOps cert that is going away/disappearing.

    It does not appear there will be a direct replacement for the Cisco CyberOps exam. I imagine there are a number of people in my current situation.

    Interested to hear your thoughts and if I am understanding the situation correctly. Thank you.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Josh Gold June 11, 01:07

    Okay it looks like there is going to be new continuing education options for CCNA level cert holders wishing to maintain their certs starting in February 2020.

    I am interested to find out what types of courses are eligible, and if non-Cisco courses will be permissible. Also I am curious to find out the cost of Cisco continuing education courses.

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author June 11, 08:01

      Yeah, I do think it’ll be a net better for recertification. It was a very busy part of the cert lounge yesterday. CCIE has had continuing ed for a while, and the tool had a simple search to find the courses. And it never had outside courses, I believe because Cisco didn’t have the means/trust to confirm the course was taken.

      I’m hoping to find a few links today, for the migration tool in particular. If I had to guess, I might think the tool that shows recert options might come later, maybe as we get closer to February.

      Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author June 11, 08:08

      Josh – this link on recertification policy (future) adds more detail.

      Reply to this comment
      • Josh Gold June 11, 15:23

        Thanks for all your info on recertification. We will see how things develop and what Cisco decides to do for continuing education requirements for CCNA and CCNP holders. I’m sure more information on continuing education requirements will be forthcoming.

        Reply to this comment
      • Bav June 12, 18:06

        Hi Wendell,
        Say someone completes CCNA R&S before the cut off date. Would you say they need to review some topics from the new CCNA (new material) before attempting to start on CCNP Enterprise Core exam?

        Reply to this comment
        • certskills Author June 12, 21:14

          Short answer is yes. To the extent that I’ve had time to review the blueprints, it appears that all the CCNP Core blueprints imply that you need to know at least some of what’s in CCNA. CCNP Enterprise Core requires knowlege of everything in the new CCNA, and that includes some new topics vs. the old CCNA R&S. Therefore the short “yes”.

          Reply to this comment
  9. Khowaja Zainullabuddin Siddique June 11, 08:41

    Hello Dear Teacher, and highly appreciate your works, I have used your books for ICND1 and ICND 2 and passed the exam in 3 months, right now I am CCNA R&S certified until 2021, I have passed the CCIE R&S written exam, and now busy with Lab preparation, recently I heard that cisco have changed everything, and I have shocked then what happen with my CCNA R&S certificate and CCIE R&S written exam, and many people say that I should learn python for LAB, I am a little bit worry about these issues, I need your honorable advice and what do you think ciscopress release any new book for CCIE R&S or not.
    with respect !
    Khowaja Zainullabuddin Siddique
    from Afghanistan

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author June 12, 21:20

      Hi Khowaja,
      I don’t think that any of the changes impact your process. The fact that the CCIE R&S blueprint is changing (and being renamed to CCIE Enterprise) is more like a normal change in CCIE blueprints. I haven’t looked to compare the new “CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure” to the current CCIE R&S.

      I would suggest getting with both CiscoPress and Narbik. Narbik K. writes the CCIE book, and I think you could find him online. (He’s at the CLUS show this week – saw him yesterday.) If I had to guess, I would imagine that he and the other current authors might want to update the books. But Cisco Press would know of the plans. Maybe tweet at @Ciscopress. I’ll ask as well when I see them – so much to do!

      And monitor this site for Cisco Press plans:

      Reply to this comment
  10. Scot Cunningham June 11, 09:23

    Thanks for the blog post Wendell. Very helpful.

    Will you have new books coming out? When will they be available? When will the old ones go out of print?


    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author June 12, 21:23

      Hey Scot,
      You called it! 🙂
      Hoping to catch up on the comments…
      Short answers:
      New CCNA Vol 1 September, New CCNA Vol 2 December (tentative)
      Two volumes due to size (no other reasons)
      Old books will be around for years so schools that use them for courses have time to transition – EG I think we’re still selling the 100-101 and 200-101 guides from year 2016 to some customers.

      Reply to this comment
      • Scot Cunningham June 13, 07:12

        Awesome, thanks Wendell. Would love to see a draft Table Of Contents for Vol 1 and Vol 2 when you have them.

        Reply to this comment
        • certskills Author June 13, 10:13

          Posting the ToC publicly is the publisher’s prerogative as it turns out, but for higher ed folks, that kind of stuff is gladly shared beforehand so you can plan curriculum. So I won’t post details beyond maybe a chapter outline in the coming weeks, but we an discuss offline.

          Reply to this comment
  11. Julie Lofquist June 11, 10:56

    Hi Mr. Odom, Thanks for your great blog. One thing I am unclear of (please excuse if this has been answered elsewhere): with the upcoming changes, will there still be a CCENT exam?

    Reply to this comment
    • kayvowKayvow June 11, 23:21

      Julie, CCENT exam is gone (by FEB 2020), the new CCNA 200-301 replace all associate level tracks. I have looked at the syllabus and I feel it would have been cool to give an option for a two path and one way composite exam. I am sitting for my ICND2 exam next month, and it seems those with ICND2/ CCNAX will be migrated to the new CCNA 200-301 without having to resit the exam! However the validity period I understand is not reset.

      Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author June 12, 21:25

      No CCENT exam. For the new CCNA, one exam: 200-301. No two-exam path to the new CCNA cert, either – just the 1-exam path.

      Reply to this comment
  12. Adam June 11, 13:31

    I’m planning on taking the ROUTE exam at the beginning of July, 2019, is it still worth it?

    Reply to this comment
  13. Scot Cunningham June 11, 14:08

    Hi Wendell. Hope you are having fun at CLUS.

    When do you anticipate the new CCNA study guide will be released? Also, when will the old ones go out of print?


    Reply to this comment
  14. John June 11, 21:10

    I recently got my CCNA Security cert. What does this mean for me come next year?

    Reply to this comment
  15. Sam July 11, 14:56

    So what happen if you pass CCNP Route + Switch by Feb 23, 2020 with no valid CCNA ? Do you get any credit ?

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author July 12, 09:47

      Disclaimer: just going by what Cisco has said out loud, and placed on their website. That said…
      The CCNP R&S migration tool shows that if you have an active ROUTE and SWITCH on migration day (that is, you passed in the past, they are still active aka not expired), then you get credit for those. The credit is in the form of a CCNP Enterprise Core Specialist certification, ie the specialist cert that you woud get if you passed the new CCNP Enterprise core.

      Reply to this comment
  16. David September 30, 16:42

    I recerted CCNP R/S last year 2018
    . I know I will migrate over to the new CCNP R/S but will my cert be good for 3 years or will it be 2 years

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author October 2, 09:58

      I’ll tell you what I believe to be true after a fair amount of reading and listening. That said, I don’t represent Cisco, and you’ll probably want to confirm with Cisco.
      Answer: 3 years.
      That is, every cert earned before transition day is unchanged. You have the certification, and it’s valid for that number of years. The change to a 2-year recert period is for what happens for certs earned from transition day forward.

      Reply to this comment
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