In 2020, I joined Cisco fresh out of college, which just so happened to align with the inaugural year of the Cisco DevNet certification track. It was the same year Cisco consolidated all of its CCNA certification tracks into one foundational certification. The CCNA was (and still is) part of our everyday language, thanks to its immense popularity, but it was the all-new DevNet technology track I found most intriguing.
Cisco DevNet certifications focus on integrating network infrastructure with software applications, automation, and programmability. DevNet certification savored both my taste in software development and networking. Little did I know that event would leave such a great mark on my career.
Baby steps into the DevNet world
At the time they were announced, there were two certification levels, Associate and Professional, before adding the DevNet Expert certification. I was targeting passing my DevNet Associate certification exam, 200-901 DEVASC, before the end of my internship. Going through the blueprint was overwhelming due to the vast amount of Cisco technologies and the breadth of topics listed.
The official DevNet Associate course came to my rescue. I went through the course twice and passed my exam in June 2020.
It was indeed euphoric to achieve my first official Cisco certification, making entry into the DevNet Class of 2020… but it left me wanting more!
Tackling the DevNet core exam
I hadn’t intended to stop with my DevNet Associate certification. My goal was to progress further by obtaining the DevNet Professional certification, which involves passing two Professional-level exams: the DevNet core and a concentration exam. I kept the momentum going and started preparing for my DevNet core (350-901 DEVCOR) exam.
The DevNet Associate exam exposed me to the testing environment and the tricky nature of the questions, but I was well aware that the DEVCOR exam would be a tough nut to crack and would require more discipline and hard work. Completing the official course, along with several foundational courses on Cisco technologies, significantly boosted my confidence.
I passed my DEVCOR in November 2021 and earned the Cisco Certified DevNet Specialist – Core certification. Passing the DEVCOR exam marked a significant milestone, especially because it’s required for DevNet Professional certification and is a prerequisite for the DevNet Expert certification. (Before taking a Cisco Expert-level practical exam, candidates need to pass the core exam in that technology track.)
DevOps: Specialized skills to Specialist certification
DevNet opens up the automation and programmability realms, but knowledge of the underlying Cisco products is fundamentally important in creating innovative solutions. Once I realized that, my focus shifted toward learning the nitty-gritty of Cisco products, tools, and solutions.
Due to DevOps’ sheer relevance in the technological world, I chose it as my specialization, taking the 300-910 DEVOPS exam to complete my DevNet Professional concentration requirement. In turn, passing that exam would also earn me a Cisco DevNet Specialist certification: the Cisco Certified DevNet Specialist – DevOps certification.
Given the short nature of the exam, the room for error was marginally small. I maintained a systematic study plan and followed three key strategies:
- Read the material at least twice.
- Train muscle memory by doing a ton of hands-on exercises.
- Revise the material regularly.
And at last, the long-awaited day arrived.
I sat down for my exam, feeling a little nervous, but I held onto my self-belief. Just before submitting the last question, I paused for a minute, thinking of how far I have come in this journey and what a wholesome learning experience it has been. I submitted my exam in anticipation and was left numb after seeing a message saying, “Congratulations…” That unknown state of mind did not allow me to read the message completely. I felt immensely relieved to see all the hard work pay off, achieving what I had long dreamt of.
Token of Gratitude
They say, “When you are surrounded by five intelligent people, you become the sixth.” I have been over blessed to be surrounded by not five—but five hundred—intelligent people in the Cisco Learning & Certifications family. I am immensely grateful for the support and learning I have received from the leaders and engineers who inspired me to achieve these feats.
Recommendations and Resources
Finally, to help you get started on your DevNet learning and certification journey, here are my top recommendations:
- Find Cisco DevNet exam study tips from the DevNet Certifications Community on the Cisco Learning Network.
- DEVASC Study Materials
- DEVCOR Study Materials
Prepare for DevNet Associate certification and earn 16 Cisco Continuing Education credits for free.
Understanding Cisco Network Automation Essentials | DEVNAE Learning Path on Cisco U.
Develop the automation and network programmability knowledge to begin a career as an entry-level network automation engineer.
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