Cisco has revamped some of its most critical certification and career-development tools in an effort to address the emerging software-oriented network environment.
Perhaps one of the biggest additions – rolled out here at the company’s Cisco Live customer event – is the new set of professional certifications for developers utilising Cisco’s growing DevNet developer community.
The Cisco Certified DevNet Associate, Specialist and Professional certifications will cover software development for applications, automation, DevOps, cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT).
They will also target software developers and network engineers who develop software proficiency to develop applications and automated workflows for operational networks and infrastructure.
“This certification evolution is the next step to reflect the critical skills network engineers must have to be at the leading edge of networked-enabled business disruption and delivering customer excellence,” said Mike Adams, vice president and general manager of Learning@Cisco.
“To perform effectively in this new world, every IT professional needs skills that are broader, deeper and more agile than ever before. And they have to be comfortable working as a multidisciplinary team including infrastructure network engineers, DevOps and automation specialists, and software professionals.”
Other Cisco Certifications changes include streamlined certifications to validate engineering professionals with Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Specialist certifications as well as Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) and Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certifications in enterprise, data centre, service provider, security and collaboration.
For more senior professionals, the CCNP will give learners a choice of five tracks, covering enterprise technologies including infrastructure and wireless, service provider, data centre, security and collaboration. Candidates will be able to further specialise in a particular focus area within those technologies.
In addition, Cisco said it will eliminate pre-requisites for certifications, meaning engineers can change career options without having to take a defined path.
Meanwhile, the expansion of Cisco Networking Academy offerings to train entry level network professionals and software developers has also been rolled out. Courses prepare students to earn CCNA and Certified DevNet Associate certifications, equipping them for high-demand jobs in IT.
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 utilise the programmable network in new and exciting ways, wrote Susie Wee senior vice president and chief technology officer of DevNet.
“DevOps practices can be applied to the network, making the network more agile and enabling automation at scale," Wee wrote.
"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 centre and cloud, to the campus and branch, to the edge, and to the device."
Wee also announced the DevNet Automation Exchange, a community that will offer shared code, best practices and technology tools for users, developers or channel partners interested in developing automation apps. Wee said Cisco seeded the Automation Exchange with over 50 shared code repositories.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that network ops can be handled much more efficiently with automation, and offering the tools to develop better applications is crucial going forward," added Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst with ZK Research.