Cisco CCNA Roadmap – CY2023 Plans Announced!
Back in 2023, Cisco announced an annual cycle during which they consider making changes in each certification track. Cisco just announced their plans for this year’s cycle for the CCNA certification, and the big news: No CCNA blueprint changes! I didn’t bury the lead, but if you want more about how that might impact your CCNA plans, look at the rest of the post.
Reviewing the Cisco Certification Roadmap
In 2022, Cisco announced a new transparent annual process. Check here for a more detailed explanation, but I’ll hit the highlights here to review.
For CCNA, Cisco internally reviews CCNA during its fiscal 3rd quarter (February – April) and announces its plans in the fiscal 4th quarter (May – July.) In short, we know it’s coming. Figure 1 shows the timing.
Figure 1: Cisco Roadmap for CCNA – Every Year
For any of you paying attention to this timing, you would have been monitoring various sites, including this blog, along with the Cisco roadmap page. Cisco’s roadmap page details their plans, and of course, I’ll blog about CCNA changes here.
Note: Turns out that Cisco’s roadmap page did not really say a lot once it was released. This post at CLN says a little more, confirming that Cisco choses to not update the CCNA blueprint or exam for this first cycled, announced in May 2023.
In any given year, Cisco could choose to make no changes, minor changes, or major changes to an exam’s blueprint. If changing the exam blueprint and Exam, Cisco publishes the new blueprint and announces if they consider the changes minor or major. If minor, Cisco releases the new exam the following quarter (fiscal first quarter for CCNA). If Cisco deems the changes to be major, the exam releases two quarters later to give Cisco more time to complete the work.
The New Timeline for CCNA Based on the 2023 “No Change” Announcement
Cisco decided not to change the CCNA blueprint and exam during the cycle that occurs in calendar year 2023. Ho hum. So, what does that do to the timeline for CCNA changes?
The earliest you should see a new CCNA exam, based on a new blueprint, would be in the August-October 2024 timeframe. From now, that gives you plenty of time to complete your study without fear of the exam changing, which is excellent news! Figure 2 shows the timeline based on Cisco’s fiscal quarters. (If you want some review of Cisco’s fiscal quarters, look to my post about the roadmap.)
Figure 2: CCNA Roadmap Timeline per May 2023 Announcement
Advice for CCNA Candidates Based on the New Timeline
In thinking about the announcement, I wondered what advice might be helpful. You can continue as before with no concerns about the exam changing soon. But the announcement allows you to avoid some mistakes and study better. So, here are a few suggestions:
Keep your timeline and be more mindful of the benefits of staying on pace.
First, don’t slow down because the long timeframe before the exam might change again in August 2024! The failure to continue to learn and study over the long term may be the number one reason why people begin their CCNA study but never achieve the certification. Take a few moments to reconsider your timeline based on your current study habits and consider how to stay on track. Do not just push your complete-by date to mid-2024!
Set goals and make them SMART goals.
Many goal-setting resources refer to the SMART acronym, noting that useful goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. For instance, you could have a goal like this:
Take the CCNA 200-301 exam by September 18th, 2023.
That short statement is specific and measurable. It might be better than a goal of “pass the CCNA 200-301 exam…” because you know you can achieve taking the exam while passing the exam has more variables. But you could adjust it to “Take it by September 18th, 2023, and re-take it as needed by October 7th, 2023″.
However, you should have other much smaller goals to keep you on schedule. For instance, if you are using my books, you know the current combined two volumes have 48 chapters organized into 13 parts. Some SMART goals related to the books might be:
- Complete the first reading of Volume 1, Chapter 16, by the end of Thursday this week.
- Perform all Chapter Review tasks for all Chapters in Volume 1 Part 2 by the end of Saturday this week.
- Perform the four Config Labs on Wendell’s blog site, related to Volume 1 Part 6, by next Tuesday.
Create great study habits.
I’ve come to believe that habits are more important than goals for long-term success in keeping up with learning for your career. For instance, better habits can help you avoid slowing down and doing less and less study over time. If you’ve not looked into habits much, check out the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.
Review/revision is better than Re-reading/Re-watching.
Reviewing what you read about or what you learned from a video is far more effective than re-reading a chapter or re-watching a video. For instance, many like using labs to study and believe they help us learn. They do. But it has much more to do with how labs force you to review and revise your topic knowledge than with typing commands at the CLI. A lab just provides structure to make you review and revise.
What else can you do? Use this blog’s labs and Q&A posts. Use the Chapter and Part Review tools in the books. Use anything that makes your brain recall the information. I hope to finally do some writing about great processes for studying for CCNA later this calendar year.
Next Week: We’re Publishing New Exam Update Appendices for both CCNA Books!
I don’t want you to notice this post’s more dramatic main topic but miss next week’s equally important post. We’re posting new versions of the exam Updated appendices for both the Volume 1 and Volume 2 books. Those explain why we’re posting new chapters with more technology content. If you try to learn everything in your primary CCNA study tool, you’ll want to read these updated appendices.
Next week, I’ll post again with an overview of the why/wherefore and tell you more about those new appendices. I’ll also give you a list of the new technology topics.