New Cisco Certification Tracks and Structure

The Big Changes to Cisco Certifications in 2019

Cisco announced sweeping changes to its career certification program around mid-year 2019.

First, consider Cisco’s career certifications before 2019 as shown in Figure I-1. At that time, Cisco offered 10 separate CCNA certifications in different technology tracks. Cisco also had eight Professional-level (CCNP, or Cisco Certified Network Professional) certifications.

Why so many? Cisco began with one track—Routing and Switching—back in 1998. Over time, Cisco identified more and more technology areas that had grown to have enough content to justify another set of CCNA and CCNP certifications on those topics, so Cisco added more tracks. Many of those also grew to support expert level topics with CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert).

In 2019, Cisco consolidated the tracks and moved the topics around quite a bit, as shown in Figure I-2.

All the tracks now begin with the content in the one remaining CCNA certification. For CCNP, you now have a choice of five technology areas for your next steps, as shown in Figure I-2.

(Note that Cisco replaced “Routing and Switching” with the term “Enterprise.”)

Cisco made the following changes with the 2019 announcements:
  • CCENT: Retired the only Entry-level certification (CCENT, or Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician), with no replacement.
  • CCNA: Retired all the CCNA certifications except what was then known as “CCNA Routing and Switching,” which became simply “CCNA.”
  • CCNP: Consolidated the Professional level (CCNP) certifications to five tracks, including merging CCNP Routing and Switching and CCNP Wireless into CCNP Enterprise.
  • CCIE: Achieved better alignment with CCNP tracks through the consolidations.

Cisco needed to move many of the individual exam topics from one exam to another because of the number of changes. For instance, Cisco retired nine CCNA certifications plus the CCDA (Design Associate) certification—but those technologies didn’t disappear!
Cisco just moved the topics around to different exams in different certifications.

Consider wireless LANs as an example. The 2019 announcements retired both CCNA Wireless and CCNP Wireless as certifications. Some of the old CCNA Wireless topics landed in the new CCNA, while others landed in the two CCNP Enterprise exams about wireless LANs.

– WENDELL ODOM


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