Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Cisco CCNA, CCNP, CCIE Certification Changes: What You Need to Know

Massive Cisco CCNA, CCNP, CCIE certification changes incoming February 2020

IT giant, Cisco, has announced a massive restructuring to their portfolio starting 24th February 2020. Here's an overview of what changes, and everything you need to know. 


The massive change will affect the popular CCNA, CCNP, and CCIE certifications, resulting in a culling in the number of certifications, which will be consolidated to streamline the offerings.

In terms of what you’ll learn, Cisco will now be focusing more on software skills instead of the traditional hands-on hardware knowledge. All certifications will now focus more on modern tools and techniques like programmability and automation.

As an official Cisco Learning Partner, Firebrand is on the front-line of this dramatic update. Read on for the top four major changes.

CCNA is retiring


The current CCNA Routing and Switching is one of the most respected networking certifications and is about to see the most change.

The new CCNA certification will be far more challenging and you will study more topics in a shorter amount of time,” adds Dave Petts, senior Cisco instructor for Firebrand Training.

Currently, there are 10 CCNA certifications but as of 24th February 2020, there’ll only be two. Just one CCNA will be reintroduced as a sole replacement.

The new CCNA will cover a broad range of networking fundamentals for IT professionals, and is designed to prepare you for today’s associate-level job roles. This certification will cover skills like security fundamentals as well as new topics like automation and programmability.

Plus, you’ll only have to take one exam to achieve the new CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate (200-301 CCNA).

While there are no official prerequisites for the new 200-301 CCNA exam, Cisco does recommend you have at least one year experience implementing and administering Cisco solutions, a basic knowledge of IP addressing and a foundation in networking knowledge.

The following CCNA certifications will retire next year:

New CCNP structure


Like the scrapping of the CCNA certifications, Cisco’s CCNP will also undergo a dramatic restructure and most CCNP certifications retiring after 24th February 2020.

Currently, to achieve a CCNP, you must first pass the relevant associate-level exam. However, as part of Cisco's updates, the only available associate-level certifications will be the DevNet Associate and CCNA Cyber Ops.

There will no longer be any formal prerequisites for the CCNP exams - a huge change. However, Cisco discreetly recommend you build your skills through the CCNA before specialising at the CCNP level.

The CCNP Specialist Professional certifications are the really exciting changes. You’ll now have to pass a core exam and then choose from a variety of ‘concentration exams’ to certify as a CCNP.

Each section of expertise – such as Enterprise or Security – offer a core exam and a variety of concentration exams. Your choice of expertise will determine what kind of CCNP Specialist Professional you are, CCNP Security for example.
This is the complete list of the new CCNP certifications:

When you pass any concentration exam, you’ll also earn yourself the Cisco Certified Specialist certification. To become a Cisco Certified Specialist, take any exam – except the CCNA (200-301).

Introducing Cisco DevNet Certification


Alongside the vast changes to existing certifications, Cisco are also introducing the Cisco DevNet training and certification program.

The Cisco DevNet certifications aim to prove the skills of software developers, DevOps engineers and automation specialists. They will build your skills across automation, infrastructure for the network, DevOps, Internet of Things (IoT) and Webex.

The Cisco DevNet comes in four levels:

These certifications follow the same format as Cisco’s other new certifications – you’ll take a core exam to get certified at CCNA level, then pass a concentration exam to become a Specialist and earn the CCNP-level certification.

New CCIE structure


Cisco is also changing their CCIE-level certifications.

As of February 24th 2020, there will be six CCIE certifications that will no longer have dedicated written CCIE exams. You'll need to pass the relevant CCNP core exam and instead of a concentration exam, sit an 8-hour lab test.

This is the complete list of new CCIE certifications:
  • CCIE Enterprise Wireless
  • CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure
  • CCIE Security
  • CCIE Service Provider
  • CCIE Collaboration
  • CCIE Data Centre


What happens to your Cisco certification now?


If you currently hold a CCNA or CCNP, you must be wondering what happens to it now, especially when Cisco states certifications are valid for three years.

Not to worry! Cisco have launched a handy migration tool to help you work out what your certification converts to as of the end of February 2020. You can also use the tool to calculate the resulting certification of any exams you pass before the update.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t let these updates stop you from getting Cisco certified. You can still test on current certifications, like the CCNA Security, until February 24th, 2020.

Regarding the new CCNA, there are no transition exams for the new certification and you’ll automatically gain it in February if you hold any existing CCNA.

Plus, if you achieve a CCNP before February 2020, you’ll still receive credit. For example, if you pass the CCNP Routing and Switching now, you’ll receive the new CCNP Enterprise after February.