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Why I don't Like This New Cisco Certification Suite 2020?

Cisco has just announced on 10-June-2019, some major changes to its certification programs. Most of you may still not be aware of….

Before I explain about these changes, I wish to assure you that you can still have a go at current CCNA(s), CCNP(s) and CCIE(s) and respective exams before 24-Feb-2020.  No need to worry!

Cisco introduces a new certification path called “Cisco Certified DevNet” programs, which will follow same structure of Associate, Professional & Expert hierarchy.  As Chuck Robbins, the Chairman of Cisco, clearly elaborated that the Future of IT teams is basically having two components:

  • Infrastructure Engineers
  • Software Application DevelopersIntroducing Cisco's new certification suite

The biggest change which is perhaps the most impactful to all networking professionals is that Cisco has added a new layer of 'Specialist' Certifications in between of its CCNA and CCNPs.

 Cisco's New Specialist level


First, they have scrapped all existing variants of CCNAs in one CCNA, it will cover a breadth of topics, including:

  • Network fundamentals
  • Network access
  • IP connectivity
  • IP services
  • Security fundamentals
  • Automation and programmability

 * There are no formal prerequisites for CCNA certification.

I like this change as there would be only one CCNA like good old times, giving you a sound base of key networking technologies.

Then they have added  33-Speciaist Certifications, out of which 27 are pure 'Specialist' certifications and 6 are 'Core' certifications.  Here is the complete list of these specialist exams.

Each 'Specialist' Certification will give you a badge of your specialization.

New Cisco certification trackNew Cisco CCNA CCNP CCIE track

In order to get your CCNP certification, you need to pass 'Core' exam of that area, as well as one (only) Specialist exam of that certification track.  Remember, there  are 3 to 5 'Specialist' exams for each track, you can choose any one.  But the perquisite of having CCNA certification for CCNP(s) is no longer there!

Next level Cisco's new certificates suite

Each 'Core' certification will lead you towards your CCNP (and CCIE too) of your chosen area.  When you get your 'Core' certification, you would be able to appear directly for CCIE Lab. It means that the perquisite of having CCNP  or CCNA certification for CCIE(s) is also not there!

Why do I Not Like This Cisco Certification Suite?

I took some time to deliberate on these changes and tried to think about how these changes would impact a normal networking professional like you and me.

It has made CCNP Certifications weaker, as now it would require only 2-exams to pass in order to get it: 1-Core exam and 1-Specialist exam (out of many choices available).  Just think for a moment, there is an interview for Network Engineering job and there walk in three CCNP Security Professionals. What would happen, if each one of those CCNPs have obtained very different specialist certificate.  The interviewer is going to face a dilemma which CCNP Security Professional to hire.  Right?

In his eyes, the value of term 'CCNP Security Certified' would get diluted immediately.  He would not bother about this certification.  He would place more importance to Number of Specialist Certifications out of Security Specialist track.  The guy with more Specialist Certifications would land this job.  There would be extra-tough competition among job-aspirants for these Specialists certifications.  This would increase the stress and un-healthy anxiety…..because there are 4-5 Specialist Certifications for most tracks.

Further it would make it more difficult for people to get ready for CCIE Lab.  Everyone who is merely a normal CCNP certified, would largely be rendered incapable of attempting the CCIE Lab.  CCIE Certification would rise above the reach of many professionals, I guess!

What do you think about new changes?


Please let me know….




This article is written & published by Ms. Meena, Senior Manager - IT, at Luminis Consulting Services Pvt Ltd, India. She can be reached at Email:  and/or Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/meena1 

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