Cisco CCNA, CCNP, CCIE Certification MAJOR Update – Changes in 2020

Cisco CCNA, CCNP, CCIE Certification MAJOR Update - Changes in 2020

In this post you’ll learn about the major updates coming to the Cisco Certification Program in February 2020. I’ll explain exactly what the changes are, why Cisco have made those changes, how they affect you and what you should do if you’re currently studying for or considering starting towards a Cisco certification. Scroll down for the video and also text tutorial.

 

Cisco CCNA, CCNP, CCIE Certification MAJOR Update – Changes in 2020 Video

YouTube video
John DeMatteo

Neil is great at simplifying complex concepts. Definitely helped me pass my own CCNA and I’m revisiting his course to review networking for my first Network Engineer interview.

John DeMatteo

Summary of the Main Changes

  • The changes come into effect on February 24th 2020
  • All certification tracks and levels are affected
  • The main certification levels remain the same – CCNA, CCNP and CCIE
  • The different tracks are being removed at the CCNA level
  • The tracks are being consolidated at the CCNP and CCIE level
  • The entry level CCENT certification is being retired
  • The recertification period for all certifications will be 3 years

CCNA Cisco Certified Network Associate

Current CCNA Tracks before February 24th:

  • CCNA Routing and Switching
  • CCNA Cloud
  • CCNA Collaboration
  • CCNA Cyber Ops
  • CCNA Data Center
  • CCNA Industrial
  • CCNA Security
  • CCNA Service Provider
  • CCNA Wireless
  • CCDA Design

New CCNA Tracks from February 24th:

  • CCNA
  • Cisco Certified DevNet Associate (new)

 

The 10 current CCNA tracks will no longer be available from 24th February 2020. Way back in the day when Cisco were originally a routing and switching company, they released the CCNA certification which was the equivalent of today's CCNA Routing and Switching. Whenever somebody mentions the 'CCNA' in general, they're talking about the CCNA R&S.

 

Cisco went on to expand into other technology areas such as Security with devices like the PIX firewall (now the ASA) and Collaboration with products such as Cisco CallManager (now the Cisco Unified Communications Manager). The certification evolved to include the new technologies, with CCNA Security, CCNA Collaboration etc. tracks being added, eventually culminating in the 10 tracks available now.

 

Having 10 different CCNA tracks can be confusing both for new network engineers wishing to get certified and also for employers. Another concern is that engineers working on real world Cisco networks are typically expected to have skills across multiple tracks, and the current certification program means they have to either study all the different tracks which would be very time consuming and expensive, or pick up knowledge on the job without structured study showing the right way to do things.

 

Cisco are addressing this by consolidating the 10 current tracks into a single CCNA certification which covers foundational level knowledge across all of them. Network automation and programmability is also included.

 

Cisco offer official 5 day classroom courses for each of the current tracks. The course material for the new CCNA exam hasn't been released yet, but I expect it will also be a 5 day class (or maybe 10 days). Obviously you can't fit 10 weeks of training into 1 or 2 weeks, so the more advanced material will be pushed up to the CCNP level exams.

Required Exams for CCNA

To achieve the CCNA Routing and Switching before February 24th, you can EITHER:

Take BOTH the ICND1 100-105 (which gets you the CCENT) AND ICND2 200-105 exams

OR

Take the single CCNA 200-125 exam

 

To achieve the CCNA after February 24th:

Take the single CCNA 200-301 exam

 

UPDATE: You can find the list of topics on the new CCNA 200-301 exam here:
https://www.cisco.com/content/dam/en_us/training-events/le31/le46/cln/marketing/exam-topics/200-301-CCNA.pdf

Cutover Date

The last day to take any of the current exams is February 23rd 2020, and the first day to take new exams is February 24th 2020. When Cisco certifications have been updated in the past, there's usually a transitional period of around 3 months where both the old and new exams are available. Because this is such a major update Cisco are doing a clean cutover on a specific date.

 

If you achieve a certification before February 24th, you will automatically receive the equivalent new certification after the cutover date. You will need to recertify 3 years after the date you attained the certification. For example, if you achieve the CCNA with the current exam on January 1st 2020, you will still be a CCNA after the cutover date, and you will need to recertify (with the latest version of the exam) on January 1st 2023.

Cisco Certified DevNet Associate

Network programmability and automation is a comparatively new technology which is becoming more prevalent, particularly in Service Provider and large enterprise environments. Cisco are releasing the new Cisco Certified DevNet Associate certification to give engineers the knowledge and skills to program network environments. It's aimed at developers who want to learn how to use their skills in networks, or network engineers who are cross training into programming.

What Should You Do If You Have Already Begun Studying For the CCNA?

My online CCNA course includes a suggested timetable to complete your studies in 6 weeks. If you’re reading this before December 2019, I highly recommend that you take the current exam (or the ICND1 and ICND2 exams) to get your CCNA before the changeover. There’s 12 weeks from December 1st until the changeover so you have plenty of time.

The benefits you get from doing this are:

  • You retain the qualification after the changeover without having to study all the new topics in the new exam.
  • You will have advanced Routing and Switching skills you can use on the job and while studying to attain the CCNP Enterprise.
  • You will be immediately qualified for that new job or promotion you want.
  • You can move on to the next certification and keep moving up the career ladder NOW.

 

Waiting for the new exam is a cop out and just procrastinating. Don't waste time with your career, get ahead now. You can take it easy once you've got the qualifications done and have your dream job.

CCENT Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician

The CCENT certification is being retired from February 24th 2020. The qualification is not well known to employers, and job adverts for network positions typically require at least the CCNA.

 

If you have already passed the CCENT with the ICND1 100-105 exam, I highly recommend you upgrade to the CCNA by taking the ICND2 200-105 exam before the changeover. If you don't do so you will need to take the new 200-301 exam to get your CCNA.

CCNP Cisco Certified Network Professional

Current CCNP Tracks before February 24th:

  • CCNP Routing and Switching
  • CCNP Cloud
  • CCNP Collaboration
  • CCNP Data Center
  • CCNP Security
  • CCNP Service Provider
  • CCNP Wireless
  • CCDP Design

(No Cyber Ops or Industrial tracks unlike the CCNA)

New CCNP Tracks from February 24th:

  • CCNP Enterprise (covers Wired and Wireless)
  • CCNP Data Center
  • CCNP Security
  • CCNP Service Provider
  • CCNP Collaboration
  • Cisco Certified DevNet Professional (new)

Required Exams for CCNP:

Before February 24th, you need to pass 3 or 4 (depending on the track) exams to attain each CCNP.

From February 24th, you need to pass 2 exams for each track:

  • A technology core exam – covers foundational and common concepts
  • A concentration exam – a deeper dive into the technology

Under the current rules you usually have to have at least the CCENT to get a CCNP certification. After the changeover there are no prerequisite exams.

CCNP Transition:

If you pass any CCNP level exams before February 24, you’ll receive badging for corresponding new exams and credit toward the new CCNP certification.

UPDATE: You can check what credit you will receive in the new program for passing CCNP level exams before February 24th with the CCNP Migration Tools here:
https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications/certifications/professional/ccnp-migration-tools.html

As with the CCNA, if you achieve a certification before February 24th, you will automatically receive the equivalent new certification after the cutover date. You will need to recertify 3 years after the date you attained the certification.

CCIE Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert

Current CCIE Tracks before February 24th:

  • CCNP Routing and Switching
  • CCNP Collaboration
  • CCNP Data Center
  • CCNP Security
  • CCNP Service Provider
  • CCNP Wireless
  • CCDP Design

(No Cloud track unlike the CCNP)

New CCIE Tracks from February 24th:

  • CCNP Enterprise Infrastructure (focuses on wired networks)
  • CCNP Enterprise Wireless
  • CCIE Data Center
  • CCIE Security
  • CCIE Service Provider
  • CCIE Collaboration

Cisco Certified DevNet Expert is planned but the date it will be available has not been released yet.

Required Exams for CCIE:

Before February 24th, you need to do a written and a lab exam for each track.

From February 24th, you need to pass 2 exams for each track:

  • A technology core exam – same as for CCNP
  • A lab exam with 2 modules:
    • Design (3 hours)
    • Deploy, Operate and Optimize (5 hours)

Automation and Network Programmability are being added in the new exams.

As before there are no prerequisite exams you need to take before the CCIE. After the changeover you need to recertify every 3 years, unlike the current rule which is every 2 years.

CCIE Emeritus

Currently you can apply for CCIE Emeritus status after holding an active CCIE certification for 10 years. With Emeritus status you don't need to take a recertification exam, you just need to submit a short report confirming you are still engaged with Cisco technologies and pay an annual fee which works out at the same price as recertifying by taking the CCIE Written exam every two years. You don't keep all the benefits of an active CCIE when you have Emeritus status but it saves you having to recertify every two years - and after you've been a CCIE for 10 years there's a good chance you no longer love taking IT exams 😉

 

After the changeover you can apply for lifetime CCIE Emeritus for free... after you have been an active CCIE or CCIE Emeritus for 20 years.

Specialist Certifications

Specialist Certifications will continue similarly to how they are now after the cutover. You will receive a Specialist certification for passing individual CCNP level exams or exams outside the main certification programs, for example FlexPod Design Specialist.

More Information

Certification Changes - At a Glance PDF
Certification Changes Main Page
Frequently Asked Questions PDF

 

Want to gets hands-on practice for the CCNA? Download my complete 350-page Cisco CCNA Lab Guide for free.