Cisco Cert Redesign: 3rd Set of 5 Facts

 In 200-301 V1 CCC No Category on Purpose, News

Cisco made some huge certification announcements last month. As soon as I heard (beforehand a bit, as usual), I started a tickler list of random blog ideas, just because there are so many changes. That turned into two blog posts so far, with five observations each – but now the list is at 23 items. Today’s post gets us to the next five items in my list – just some notes as food for thought and to get the conversation started.

Join me at Safari for a 2-hour session for CCNA on Wednesday July 17, and another about CCNP Enterprise on Thursday July 18, if you care to dig in to either of these new certifications.


The Blogroll for the Certification Announcements

I plan to blog a lot during the first few months of this transition. Here’s a list of other related posts for easy reference:


The Next Five Observations of the Cisco Certification Announcements


11: Retired Design, or Not?: Design Certifications (CCDA, CCDP) Retired, Etc.

For a long time, Cisco has offered Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) and Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP). Through Feb 23rd, 2020, you can still achieve those, as follows:

CCDA: Get a CCENT certification (or more) and pass the CCDA 200-310 DESGN exam

CCDP: Get a CCNA R&S and CCDA certification and pass three exams: ROUTE 300-101, SWITCH 300-115, and ARCH 300-320

Come migration day, Feb 24, 2020, you cannot get a CCDA or CCDP. So, what happens on transition day? Well, if you wanted one or the other, and didn’t meet the requirements, you do not get the certification. So, what happened to design?

First, the associate level, with 10 former Associate-level certifications, which shrink to one CCNA on transition day, CCDA is simply gone. The design topics get spread around into various exams, rather than lots of technology areas in one design-oriented exam.

However, CCDP retires in name, but only in name. In effect, CCDP lives! Here’s why.

CCNP Enterprise has a concentration exam focused on design: Designing Cisco Enterprise Networks, ENSLD 300-420. (Don’t ask me what the acronym comes from.) If you compare the existing ARCH 300-320 exam (required for CCDP) to this new 300-420 exam, you’ll see enough similarities to believe that it’s an updated professional-level Design exam.

The existing CCDP certification is really a routing/switching certification with one exam focused on design. The new CCNP Enterprise certification offers the same option. That certification requires you to pass the Enterprise Core (300-401) exam plus one concentration exam. If you choose to take this new enterprise design concentration exam, you have re-created CCDP – so if you care about design, go for CCNP Enterprise, and pass the new 300-420 exam.

Figure 1: CCNP Enterprise w/ Exam 300-420 Replaces CCDP

Additionally, you can study now: the existing ROUTE plus SWITCH equals the new CCNP Enterprise Core (300-401) exam as far as Cisco’s migration paths go. In effect, the new program gives you almost an exact replacement for CCDP – it’s just not called that, and if you were already headed towards passing ROUTE and SWITCH, you’ve got a good path.

Check the CCDP migration page for more details.


12: Recertification: Expanded and Improved Options (Like Continuing Education)

Continuing education reaches the masses!

For a few years, Cisco has offered CCIE’s the chance to recertify through continuing education credits. Take a Cisco eLearning class, or from a Cisco learning partner, or go to Cisco Live, follow the process, and recertify through training – no exam required.

Come migration day (2/24/20), Cisco begins a new era, adding continuing education for all certification levels. You should check it out. Here’s how:


13: DevNet and Career Alignment: One CCNP DevNet Exam for Each of Five CCNP Career Cert Tracks

Cisco did something really interesting with one exam for each of the five CCNP track (Enterprise, DC, SP, Security, Collaboration.) When Learning@Cisco teamed with Cisco DevNet to create the DevNet certifications, they created one DevNet concentration exam that overlapped in each CCNP track.

To understand how useful that can be to anyone who cares about going deeper with automation, first take a look at the Cisco DevNet Professional certification. To get that certification, you must pass the new DevNet Core exam, and then one of many DevNet concentration exams. The next figure shows the idea, with a subset of the available concentration exams.

Figure 2: DevNet Professional w/ Five of Its Concentration Exams

In short, you can pass one DevNet Core exam, plus one concentration exam, to achieve Cisco DevNet Professional certification.

However, note that the concentration exams in the figure each match one of the five CCNP tracks. So, you could use those same concentration exams as your concentration exam to achieve the matching CCNP certification.

For instance, you could pass these three exams, and receive BOTH a CCNP Enterprise certification plus a Cisco DevNet Professional certification:

  • Pass CCNP enterprise core
  • Pass DevNet Professional Core
  • Pass Automating Enterprise (considered a concentration for both CCNP Enterprise and DevNet Professional)

The next figure summarizes the idea.

Figure 3: Five Exams Count as CCNP and DevNet Professional


14: Expanded Credentials: Specialist Certification for (Most) Every Exam

Today, and up through migration day, any multi-exam certification meant that you could take and pass an exam but not get any credential at all. For instance, with CCNP Route/Switch, if you took ROUTE, then SWITCH, then TSHOOT:

  • Pass ROUTE 300-101 – and get no credentials
  • Pass SWITCH 300-115 – and get no credentials
  • Eventually pass TSHOOT 300-13 – and finally get a CCNP R&S certification

With the new model, most every exam gives you some kind of credential from Cisco. (I only hedge to say “most every” instead of “every” because of the large number of changes and moving parts – no way I can keep track of all of it.) In fact, if you pass existing exams now, or if you’ve already passed them and they’re still active, you’ll receive either a badge (associate-level exams) or specialist certification (professional and above exams). For instance, for CCNP Enterprise:

  • Pass CCNP Enterprise Core 300-401: Receive Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Core
  • Pass CCNP Advanced Routing 300-410: Receive Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Advanced Infrastructure Implementation AND CCNP Enterprise certification


15: Repurposed CCNP Core: CCNP Core Serves as CCIE Written for Each Track

Cisco also revamped the approach to CCIE written exams in a way that speeds people towards being allowed to take the CCIE lab (practical) exam.

In the past, and through migration day, each CCIE track had a separate CCIE written exam. Cisco would not allow you to schedule the lab exam without having passed the CCIE written exam, with limits on how long you had to take the lab exam after passing the written.

In the new model, the CCNP Core exam serves as the CCIE written exam for each track. The old CCIE written exams go away. The good news: if working towards CCNP, you will qualify to schedule the associated CCIE lab exams as a side effect of your CCNP work.

Figure 4: CCNP Technology Core Serves as CCNP Exam and CCIE Written


Comments Welcome

Feel free to chime in on any of these, or other changes with the exams.

How to Study for the New CCNA Exam with Your Existing CCNA Books
CCNA 200-301: Navigating the Migration (Safari)
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David Paquet

I’d love to pursue the DevOps track however it sounds like it requires at least a years experience, “For developers who have one or more years of hands-on experience developing and maintaining applications that are built on Cisco platforms. This certification validates your core knowledge of Cisco platforms, working with applications, Cisco’s programmability strategy, and APIs” Not enough DevOps in my present position to make this happen. Any ideas?

William V

hi certsskills been trying to ascertain if following is possible achieve CCNP Route & Switch so pass them both then pass the CCDP current ARCH exam but WITHOUT CCDA then on Feb 2020 will Cisco allow this to convert to the new Design Concentration exam (NOTE I also have TShoot) WITHOUT having passed the CCDA ? hope this makes sense


I’m in exactly the same boat!

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