Cisco has announced a major refresh of its certification programs, all of which will henceforth include material on cloud, the internet of things, cloud, “network programmability” and “business transformation”.
Cloud and IoT are self-explanatory while “network programmability” is software-defined networking by another name. While Cisco is making much of the three topics' inclusion representing a major modernisation of its certifications, “core” topics beyond the three new elements will account for 90 per cent of the available score in exams.
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“Business transformation” is all about making sure networking pros can speak the language of colleagues capable of saying things like “building disruptive digital businesses” without a hint of irony or self-loathing.
The biggest changes will be felt by those studying for Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) and Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) certifications, as all candidates will be directed into fields of study that “ensure that experts are equipped to participate in meaningful business discussions about these new technical areas that are shaping business strategy and operations.”
That will mean “A new assessment approach focused on ensuring that candidates demonstrate knowledge and skills with evolving technologies such as Network Programmability, Cloud and IoT.” Assessments will see candidates sit “Unified written and lab exam topics to demonstrate that candidates possess a holistic view of each exam domain.”
The refresh means the Borg has created version 2.0 of the Data Centre variant of its Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification. The revised cert now covers “end-to-end management of complex data centers aimed at policy-based infrastructure, advanced virtualization, orchestration and automation.”
The Cisco Certified Network Associate qualification's Security skein has changed and now “expands focus from network security to end-to-end IT security, with emphasis on core technologies and skills needed to maintain enterprise information systems.”
Cisco's been trying to elevate the role of networking staff for years: your correspondent has beheld the Borg suggest that kids leaving school should find the prospect of a career in networking as exciting as careers in professions like the law. Baking business transformation into networking education clearly continues that mission, but also doubtless reflects customer demand for networking pros capable of participating in wider discussions about business strategy. Cloud, IoT and SDN look like sensible additions, even if their ten per cent loading and designation as members of an “evolving technology domain” shows they are not considered mainstream fare.
The new regime will make itself felt as of July 25th, 2016, when new “recalibrated exam topics” are offered for those who take exams.