Cisco Cert Redesign: Next 5 Facts

By certskills June 10, 2019 16:16

So if you missed the first post, or missed the news from day 1 of #CLUS, Cisco just announced a complete redesigned their entire career certification program. I’ve already introduced some of the big CCNA and CCNP changes in my initial announcement post (First 5 Facts). This post gets on to the next 5 facts. Simple enough! More below the fold.

Heads up on My Short-Term Blog Plan

A quick heads up before getting to the list: I’ll post several times during announcement week (June 10th, 2019), and follow up over the summer. Here is the list of posts coming within the first 24 hours or so after the announcement – all written beforehand, just need to vet items and confirm timing before I’m allowed to post:


6: Retooled for Automation (Career): Automation Added/Increased in CCNA and Three CCNP Core Exams

Automation, programmability, SDN, controller-based networking, and APIs change how we interact with networking gear. Cisco has been slowly adding these kinds of features to the career certifications over the last cycle, but frankly, there wasn’t a lot there yet. That changes with today’s announcement, in two big ways.

Cisco continues the trend by adding more automation and programmability to the career certification tracks. For instance, these exams each have an automation domain listed in the blueprint, with the percentage of points from that domain listed here:

The new CCNA and CCNP certification tracks in their respective automation domains, by percentage of each exam:

  • CCNA: 10%
  • CCNP Enterprise Core: 15%
  • CCNP SP Core: 15%
  • CCNP DC Core: 15%


7: Retooled for Automation (DevNet): Introducing the New DevNet Certification Track

The existing nine CCNA certifications (plus CCDA) become one CCNA certification. The seven CCNP (plus CCDP) become five CCNP certifications. So Cisco will consolidate the existing career certification tracks. At the same time, Cisco will introduce an entire new track: The DevNet Track:

  • DevNet Associate
  • DevNet Professional
  • DevNet Expert

For those who may not know, DevNet ( is Cisco’s developer portal, but geared to both networkers and developers. Networkers can learn about network automation and programming, and developers can learn about networking and Cisco APIs. It’s a great site.

On a pre-announce call, the folks from DevNet said that many people had been asking for some kind of credentials to go with all the learning they were doing on DevNet, and this is the response. Also, beyond the certifications, there is a mention of other kinds of credentials as well – details I haven’t had time to learn yet. (But we’ve got 8.5 months to figure this stuff out…)

Also – note that while the preannounce info listed the expert level, but also mentioned that it will be later – so there was no info at DevNet when I looked here on announcement day. Also, they’re NOT using the terms CCNA, CCNP, CCIE with these – only the words “associated”, “professional”, “expert”.


8: Reconsidered Plans: Long (8.5 Month) Transition to New Certifications Makes for Interesting Choices

Compared to past transitions, this latest Cisco certification transition is a little strange. First, they announce the changes – but the exams are not available for almost nine months. So, you definitely have time to finish the exam you are studying for, and maybe more.

Cisco promises a transition tool to help you figure out your options. I am guessing that the Cisco certification release launch page will point to that transition tool, so I’ve listed that link in the list below. Additionally, once I can find the direct link to the transition tool, I’ll come back here and update the second link to go directly to that page:

The Cisco certification launch page

The Cisco certification transition tool

My next two blog posts in sequence (as planned) get into more depth about this decision for CCNAs. I think the decision for those pursuing CCNA is pretty clear: keep learning the content in the existing CCNA. People pursuing CCNP may have a much trickier path to choose. But the long runup to the new exams gives us all some flexibility, which is very helpful.


9: Remixed Old CCNAs: Old CCNA Content for CCNA Routing and Switching Moves up to CCNP Enterprise

This topic focuses on the old CCNA R&S and the new CCNP Enterprise, but from my more cursory review of the other new CCNP tracks, the idea holds true to some extent. But take everything here as specific to the existing R&S vs. the new enterprise

Some of the technologies that effectively move up from CCNA to CCNP Enterprise are in this list. That is, they are found in the existing CCNA R&S exam and are now not in the new CCNA but are found in some CCNP Enterprise exam.

  • eBGP
  • NTP
  • SPAN

Some technology topics that were covered to a troubleshooting depth of mastery – the most demanding depth in the Cisco exam topic verb structure – now have a less demanding verb for that technology in the CCNA exam, with the more challenging level of coverage in some CCNP Enterprise exam. Some examples include:

  • VLAN Trunks
  • EtherChannel
  • STP
  • FHRP
  • SNMP
  • QoS
  • OSPF
  • ACLs

As you can see, it’s not just the same topics and depth for each topic compared to the old exams,


10: Relaxed Prerequisites: No Prerequisite Certifications for CCNP

For the entire history of CCNP since its release in 1998, each CCNP had some prerequisite certification. That prerequisite was often a CCNA certification in the same technology track.

The prerequisite requirement did not prevent you from taking a CCNP exam, but it did prevent you from receiving the CCNP credential. In fact, if you passed all the required exams for some CCNP certification, but did not have the prerequisite certification, you did receive the CCNP certification.

The announcement tells us that future CCNP certifications do not have prerequisite requirements. Note that Cisco has never had any prerequisite requirements for CCNA R&S or CCIE, by the way.


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!


Cisco Redesigns Most Everything about Cisco Certifications: First 5 Facts
CCNA Program Changes and Your Reaction: Keep Studying!
By certskills June 10, 2019 16:16
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  1. Jeff June 10, 17:51

    Do the costs of the tests go up?

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author June 12, 21:32

      I’ll try to ask before I go. Hasn’t come up yet. Thanks for asking…

      Reply to this comment
      • Marc Harter June 13, 08:26

        Hi Certskills,

        First off, thank you for the good information. If I already have my CCNA R&S, is there any benefit to still get my CCNA in security before February 2020? Is that what the badge thing is about? Any advice would be appreciated!

        Thank you, Marc

        Reply to this comment
        • certskills Author June 13, 10:17

          Yep, it’s the badge thing. It’s on my list to ask more about it – I hope to get to the Cert lounge to get direct answers before they close today (the CLUS show is hectic for me – lots of committments and random opportunities to talk) – but if not, I’ll be asking more about it next week. But short answer is yes, you get a credential called a badge, and there’s not much detail about it yet.

          Reply to this comment
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