Networks are now programmable. Applications built for those networks have become essential to business security and success. As a result, the need for meaningful software skills development and certification has become a requirement.

Many of us working in network automation, app dev, and DevOps have known this for a while. That’s why at Cisco Live in San Diego, the announcement of the forthcoming DevNet Software Certification Track, got everyone so pumped up.

Starting in February of 2020, you will be able to take exams to earn your DevNet Certifications at Associate, Professional, and Specialist levels. An Expert level certification will be available soon thereafter.

People are stoked about it and asking questions like:

“what’s going to be on the exam?”

“what’s the best way for me to prepare to take the exam?”

There will be several exam topics offered, and on August 26th I will be hosting an online webinar that will take a deep dive into what the Cisco IoT Certification track will look like for developers. The webinar is called “Developing Solutions Using Cisco IoT and Edge Platforms” v1.0 (300-915)

You can register now for the webinar.


Why get a DevNet IoT certification?

The term IoT (Internet of Things) can be a quite nebulous term these days, which invokes a lot of thought and possible confusion about what IoT really is. IoT in its basic form is connecting data from previously unconnected sources to forge a fully connected digital world. Whether that is data from devices, sensors, or machines, from our homes to our jobs, from ocean depths to the space around our planet, we are connecting to more data from more devices than we ever have in all human history before.

The challenges of IoT are great in size, but in a lot of ways are straight forward to solve with best practices from software and IT principles. The DevNet Certification Exam will pull in core concepts from several disciplines:

  • writing and developing applications
  • managing applications through DevOps and CICD
  • managing hardware and network connectivity
  • connecting sensors
  • visualizing data
  • securing applications, data, and physical devices

IoT developers and engineers are the great forgers of the future and with the new DevNet Certification, you will be ready to dive in on a great path of a technological revolution.

There are different approaches you can take with this exam:

  • take it solo to provide a “DEVNET Certified Specialist” certification
  • take it as the second exam (plus DEVNET CORE) to provide your “DEVNET Certified Professional” certification
  • take it as part of a re-certification path for your “Cisco Certified CCNP” certification

More information about DevNet Certifications is available on the DevNet website.


Seriously, you could read the rest of this article to learn more about the topics covered by the IoT Certification exam, but if you’d really rather be lazy and watch a Webinar of me talking about it, you can register to attend my webinar, and spare your eyeballs some cycles!

The IoT Certification Exam

OK…you’re still reading. That’s cool. You can also find this whole list of exam topics for the IoT certification on the Cisco DevNet site. But for now, here’s a break down of each topic.

1.0 – Cisco IoT Architecture
When you have built a few IoT projects, you quickly realize that having a good architecture for your use case / business problem you are trying to solve can be the most valuable component to success for IoT. This starts with connectivity and the network. Yes, I know this is a Cisco blog, no they don’t pay me to say everything is about network connectivity… I mean they do pay me, but I am not obligated to say NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK everywhere I go. But if you think about it, you can’t have an internet of things without some sort of connectivity to the internet or at the very least a private network. A good IoT developer / engineer needs to know how to get data from a device back to other devices on the same or to a remote network across the public internet. To do this, you need to know how you are connecting the device, are you using bluetooth, WiFi, LoRa, LongFi, wired connections? What types of gateways, access points , or routers will you need to access from your IoT device? Am I connecting over IP (internet protocol) or a serial connection? This is where you assess your connectivity needs and how your device absorbs and distributes data and know the different ways that connectivity impact your solution.

2.0 – Compute and Analysis
Compute and Analysis is about how to process and compute the data from your device and analyze through applications and edge compute devices. It is critical to know where and how you will be processing all the data you will be collecting, whether at the Edge or in the Cloud. This is also where you decide

3.0 – Cisco IOx IoT Software
On the back of compute and analysis is knowing Cisco Edge Compute platforms and at the center of Cisco Edge Compute is Cisco IOx. IOx is specifically designed to be an open compute platform for IoT and Edge applications. The IOx ecosystem allows for IoT developers to write code in any code language of their preference while packaging that application as a container that runs on an IOx instance. The IOx platforms provide the APIs that allows for full integration of CICD for applications to help manage the life cycle and versions of IoT / Edge compute applications.

4.0 – Cisco Edge Processing
In combination with Cisco’s open compute platforms, Cisco provides a platform that allows developers and engineers to quickly create Edge processing data flows that allow for quick consumption and redistribution of data from IoT devices.

5.0 – Open Source IoT software
Knowing IoT also means knowing the most common open source technologies and protocols used in the industry. The biggest portion of this is around messaging. Since IoT devices send lots of data and sometimes over constrained networks, being able to send data under light weight protocols becomes very valuable. To do this we typically use standards like MQTT, AMQP, and WebSockets (for connecting IoT data to web applications). Knowing how to send this data, when to send this data and what Quality of Service (QoS) to assign to messages is very important to know for any IoT developer.

6.0 – IoT Data Visualization
Being able to visualize IoT data quickly and easily and in different forms is very important in the IoT industry. Just like in DevOps, having the ability to see the data and show how it has an impact on business outcomes is an important skill to have. Whether you are showing the business value for an IoT solution or you are using visualizations to verify that you are receiving IoT data properly, creating and using IoT Data Visualization in your day to day work are super important.

7.0 – Security
Last but certainly not least is IoT Security. Just like any other space in hardware or software, security is important and paramount in the IoT industry. We are constantly hearing stories about bot nets from IoT devices and infiltration into a secure network through an IoT device. Knowing the right practices for coding IoT apps, security checks in CICD for IoT Apps, and mitigating risk on devices that are inherently in secure is an important topic to be have a deep understanding of for IoT best practice.

Now What???

Well first, I can’t believe you made it all the way down this far. Good for you? Did you not see the TLDR up above? Just kidding. To get more information watch my Webinar on August 26th, 2019 and get a better deeper understanding (with less reading than in this article) about the IoT certification so you can help build a better more connected world.

And if you haven’t done so already… join the DevNet Community. We’re here to help you on your journey.

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Jock Reed

Software Engineer

Developer Experience