Bringing Software Practices and Software Skills to Networking with Cisco Certifications and DevNet
Building IT teams to accelerate business with the new network
It’s an exciting time to be in our industry because new networking technologies are catalyzing new applications and changing the role networks play in business.
Advances in network technologies have enabled new applications and business models – converged IP networks enabled voice over IP, 3G networks enabled mobile applications, and 4G networks enabled mobile video. Now, new technologies like 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and edge computing are doing it again. They will spur an entirely new set of applications, and developers who understand the capabilities of this new network will be able to create new experiences and accelerate businesses.
Also, new network technologies such as intent-based networking, multi-domain networking, and programmability fundamentally change the capabilities of the network, giving network engineers the opportunity to architect solutions that utilize the programmable network in new and exciting ways. DevOps practices can be applied to the network, making the network more agile, and enabling automation at scale. Business insights can be derived from the network, making IT a critical business driver. The new network provides more than just connectivity, it can now use policy and intent to securely connect applications, users, devices, and data across multiple environments – from the data center and cloud, to the campus and branch, to the edge, and to the device.
The opportunities are exciting, but we need more than new technology to bring the full capabilities of the network to life. The new network fundamentally changes the role networks can play, but it also changes how networking is done. The way we ran networks 5, 10, and 20 years ago changes if you want to use its full capabilities. To unleash the full capabilities of the new network, we need people and teams with the right skills and the right practices.
I’m happy to announce two new offerings to unleash the capabilities of the new network. The first brings software practices to networking and the second brings software skills to networking. They are:
- DevNet Automation Exchange: a community-based developer center to accelerate success with network automation. It brings software practices to networking with shared code repositories to solve use cases for network automation, developed by Cisco’s community of network experts and software developers.
- New Cisco Certifications, with new DevNet Certifications: training and certifications for network professionals and software developers that bring software skills to networking. It enables application developers to write applications that leverage the full capabilities of the network, and it helps build IT teams with network skills and expertise, and software skills and expertise so they can leverage the full capabilities of the network.
I love listening to our developers, customers, partners, analysts, Cisco Champions, and CCIE advisors. Everything we’ve built in DevNet has been in response to their advice and feedback. Both these offerings have been built and refined with their inputs.
Introducing DevNet Automation Exchange
We’ve been told by our customers and partners that network automation is one of their biggest problems. Networks are at the core of business, and as their businesses have grown their networks have too. They’ve grown so much that they’ve become unmanageable, so they want to bring automation into their networks, and they want DevNet to help.
We created DevNet five years ago to help network engineers and application developers alike take full advantage of the revolutionary changes shaping our industry. Today, at Cisco Live, we’re taking it a step further to help our customers with their biggest problem, network automation, and announcing “DevNet Automation Exchange.” This is a community-based developer center where our networkers and developers can learn to Walk, Run, and Fly with Network Automation, using Cisco’s products and the full capabilities of the new network. They are defined as follows:
- Walk: Get visibility and insights in their networks in a read-only way. This enables use cases such as gathering telemetry and insights from running networks, and performing auditing to ensure ongoing security of the network.
- Run: Activate policy and intent across different network domains. This enables use cases such as providing self-service network operations that comply with security policies and operational guidelines.
- Fly: Proactively manage applications, users, and devices with DevOps workflows. This enables use cases such as deploying applications in continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines while configuring the network in accordance with new application policies.
The DevNet Automation Exchange lets you bring intent-based networking into your practice.
Another thing that our networkers told us is “DevNet has been great in helping us with learning how to code and learning to use Cisco APIs, but we’re ready to take it further – we need help solving the use cases we face every day.” We are addressing this is by developing software that solves use cases for network automation on top of Cisco products and APIs. Rather than write all the code ourselves, we are bringing the software practice of shared code repositories to network automation.
DevNet Automation Exchange is a place where DevNet members can get free source code for network automation to help them solve their unique use cases. We seeded the Automation Exchange with over 50 code repositories, many contributed by our engineering teams and SEs. And now, we are inviting our DevNet community to submit code that solves their use cases. We’ve talked to our developers and networkers, and they’re excited about using this community approach to network automation. They’re excited about having a place where they can contribute code and discover code they can use in their projects, and they appreciate that this is hosted by Cisco. I hope our community will band together to make this the leading repository of code for network automation in the industry. Please take a look at DevNet Automation Exchange and contribute your code today!
DevNet Automation Exchange addresses network automation across domains
Kenny Marus, Vice President of US Solutions for Dimension Data/NTT, said:
“Partners that can fully embrace DevOps will find they are able to extract far more value from Cisco products than those who do not. DevNet has given our people the ability to experiment in a safe place which is critical to allow them to grow and become more willing to try new things. These skills have fundamentally changed the way in which we engage with our clients, bringing us closer to helping them solve their most critical problems. DevNet Automation Exchange lets us collaborate with our clients and the DevNet community through shared software to create best the industry’s practices for network automation.”
Introducing new Cisco certifications, including new DevNet certifications
Another thing our DevNet developers, Cisco Champions, and CCIE advisors also said to me is, “I’ve been spending time in DevNet developing software skills that I know are important to my job, but I don’t get credit for it. Can you please give me a DevNet certification.” Once again, we’ve listened to you and taken your feedback to create another new offering – new Cisco Certifications, along with new DevNet Certifications!
We have created a new professional certification program that includes an evolution of our highly respected, industry leading CCNA/CCNP/CCIE certifications and adds a brand new DevNet developer certification! Like the engineering certifications, these new software certifications offer Associate, Specialist, Professional, and soon to be coming Expert levels with the same level of rigor that the Cisco certification program has been known for since it was founded in 1993. This is the biggest evolution of the program in its 26 years, and we believe it will carry our professionals forward and technology and industry leaders for the next 26 years!
- The associate level certifications are for entry level jobs. The DevNet Associate certification covers 80% software skills and 20% networking skills. The CCNA certification covers 80% networking skills and 20% software skills. This creates
- The Cisco Specialist and DevNet Specialist certifications are technology concentrations for networking and software. You can choose the technology concentrations you need to be successful in your job, and you can use these to earn professional and expert certifications.
- CCNP certifications are available in enterprise, service provider, data center, security, and collaboration and are earned by passing the respective core exam and a Cisco Specialist or DevNet Specialist exam.
- The DevNet Professional certification is earned by passing the core exam and a Cisco DevNet Specialist exam.
- The CCIE certification remains as one of the most highly respected certifications in the industry. A DevNet Expert certification will become available in the future.
There are different ways these certifications can be used by network professionals and software developers. We envision these certifications to be mix and matched together so individuals can learn the skills they need. More specifically, we envision network experts to earn DevNet certifications and we envision software developers to earn Cisco specialist certifications as they choose their own adventure.
This agility allows individuals to customize their training for new jobs roles that are emerging in the industry because of the new capabilities of the network, such as DevSecOps engineer and IoT Architect.
For example, a DevSecOps engineer may earn their CCNP Security certification and learn skills in these specializations:
- Learn to automate security operations (Cisco Specialist: Security)
- Securely deploy applications (Cisco DevNet Specialist: DevOps)
- Build chat bots for monitoring and alerting SecOps teams (Cisco DevNet Specialist: Webex)
An IoT Architect may earn their DevNet Professional certification and learn skills in these specializations:
- Design high-density wireless networks (Cisco Specialist: Wireless)
- Develop applications for the IoT edge (Cisco DevNet Specialist: IoT)
- Automate threat detection (Cisco DevNet Specialist: Security)
This gives two examples of how the new Cisco certifications arm you with the skills you need to do the most important jobs in the industry.
Dr. Ravi Pendse, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at the University of Michigan, said
“In the incredible, evolving, dynamic, and exciting field of technology, one should not expect job security. We can absolutely have career security when we incorporate learning platforms such as Cisco DevNet into our daily routine and earn the appropriate certifications that follow. Life-long learners will always have secure careers.”
Expanding the workforce with Cisco Networking Academy
Cisco’s Networking Academy program has trained 9.2 million students in 180 countries. Cisco Networking Academy students can earn CCNA and CCNP certifications to ensure they are ready for networking jobs in the industry. We are excited to announce that the Cisco Networking Academy will expand its program to train students for the DevNet Associate and DevNet Professional certifications as well. Our customers and partners view the Cisco Networking Academy as a source for hiring employees into their workforce. This will create even more opportunities for students interesting in networking careers and software careers to enter the workforce and be prepared for the most exciting jobs in the industry and become part of the Cisco ecosystem.
Teams of the Future: Network experts and software developers working together
As I said at the beginning, this is an exciting time in our industry because new networking technologies will catalyze new applications and new businesses, and they fundamentally change the role networks play and how networks are run. To make the most of this opportunity, there is tremendous opportunity in having a world of software developers and infrastructure developers who can work together, and that is the goal of our new certification program.
We need network/infrastructure engineers who are driven to design, build, and operate mission critical infrastructures, and will do everything they can to keep these infrastructures alive. We need software developers who are driven to write innovative applications that run on infrastructure and write software to automate workflows and tasks. There are a few people who want to and will excel in both areas. However, the most effective organizations will have teams of domain experts in both software and infrastructure who can work together effectively.
Our customers and partners have been struggling with how to bring the right practices and skills into their teams to make the most of the new network. Their feedback on the DevNet Automation Exchange, Cisco’s new certification program with DevNet Certifications, and the expansion of the Networking Academy program has been very positive. They view that by building on the structure of Cisco’s certification program, we are giving them a framework to grow their workforce to enable them to compete and differentiate their businesses.
Final comments from our DevNet Creators:
Andra Ehlert, Digital Automation Practice Manager of Dimension Data Europe, said:
“Advances in networking are forcing me to have both networking and software skills on my team to meet the demands of clients and partners wanting to take advantage of all the capabilities the new network provides. I look forward to the evolution of Cisco’s certification program to help guide me and my team down this path.”
Jose Bogarin, Chief Innovation Officer of Altus Consulting, said:
“My customers are asking for this exact type of certification, so they can be confident in the software development skills they are dependent on for their business. With the new DevNet Developer Certification, they can trust that my engineers are the best in the business.”
This is an exciting time in the industry, where business growth is fueled by software and the network. We look forward to seeing what you will create next!