The day we’ve all been waiting for is here: February 24.  It’s here!  

It’s the day that marks the beginning of how we’re taking learning to the next level, with the biggest and most important change we’ve made to our certification and training program in more than 25 years.  It’s designed to unleash the full capabilities of the new network. We’re putting the power of intent-based networking, automation and programmability into the hands of our customers, partners and employees. It’s the day that we’re transforming an industry with the power of learning and communities. 

The new network, supported by new technologies and new skills 

Cisco has been leading a change in how networking is done for some time. And the network is rapidly evolving to include more and more critical capabilities. In the last few years, we’ve expanded our customers’ ability to leverage intent-based networking, multi-domain solutionsprogrammability and APIs. It’s a fundamental shift. And it impacts the work that IT professionals do. To unleash the full capabilities of the new network, IT professionals must become fluent in new software practices, networking skills, and software skills.  Two groups are key to this movement: network engineers and software developers.  They’re quickly learning to speak each other’s languages as they innovate, grow and prepare to lead the IT industry in this new era. 

That’s why we’ve taken learning to the next level 

Todaywe are launching new Cisco certifications that validate the skills of network engineers at the specialist, associate (CCNA)and professional (CCNP) levels.  We’re integrating software programming and automation skills in these at every level.   We’re also introducing a special program to recognize the first 500 to lead the way by obtaining their DevNet Certifications.  You can read more on that from Susie Wee, here.

So what’s really changed? 

What’s changed is that the certification and training program is tailored to fit the needs of the new network and modern learner preferences.  What has not changed is the value Cisco certifications bring. To IT managers, Cisco certified individuals stand out – they’re seen as more effective and more valuable than those who hold other types of certifications.  To individuals, learning and the strength of communities such as the Cisco Learning Network and DevNet, changes lives. 

Specifically for network engineers, as a Cisco Certified Specialist, you’ll gain recognition for the specific skills that you master.  As a CCNA, you’ll have a broader base of skills that are foundational to the future of networking.  As a CCNP, you’ll have more choices to hone in on one of five key technology tracks and on specific concentrations important to you As a CCIE, you’re the PhD of the IT realm, key strategic asset to your business, a leader with an end to end understanding of the networking lifecycle. 

For software developers, the Cisco Certified DevNet Associate validates entry level programming and software development skills, Cisco Certified DevNet Specialist validates specialized automation and programmability skills, and the Cisco Certified DevNet Professional builds software development and automation skills and specialized skills in a concentration of your choice.   

And what’s ahead? 

Three exciting developments, and one unfortunate circumstance.  Let’s start with some good news. 

  • Today, we are announcing the evolution of our CCNA Cyber Ops certification, which will be renamed Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate to emphasize its focus on cybersecurity operations. Launching on May 29, 2020, this certification program will be updated to one training and exam that covers the latest foundational skills, processes, and knowledge you need to prevent, detect, and defend against cybersecurity threats.  
  • Stay tuned for more on the Cisco Certified DevNet Expert, a future offering! 
  • We’re updating the Cisco Networking Academy curriculum to include the new CCNA and the new Cisco Certified DevNet Associate. Together, we’re building the next generation of IT professionals.  
  • And finally, a note on the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.  The safety of our customers, partners andemployees is always our priority.  Due to the outbreak, we’ve temporarily closed our CCIE labs in Hong Kong and Beijing, and extended the date for those who want to test on the current exams. This is an evolving situation, and we will be evaluating the it on an ongoing basis. Look for updates to the CCIE community here. 

A new era for learning 

“Cisco certifications have been the gold standard in the industry, and today we are releasing the most significant advancement to the program in its 26 years to embrace software, automation, DevOps, and customer success,” said Susie Wee, senior vice president and general manager, DevNet and CX Ecosystem Success. “The capabilities of the new network create new job roles, such as the Network Automation Developer and DevSecOps Professional, and these professionals need a combination of network infrastructure engineering and software development skills. Our new certification and training program will help professionals be successful in their lives and their careers for the decades ahead.” 

As we go forward, we’ll continue to lead the ever-changing market needs with our certifications.  Our new, more agile training and certification framework will continue to change as the industry evolves.  Welcome to a new era of learning – an era where networking, software development and security skills come together. An era where IT professionals choose the skills they want to develop. An era where learning is a lifelong pursuit. Visit cisco.com/nextlevel to get started 


Mike Adams

Vice President and General Manager