Cisco overhauls CCNP, announces other new certs

Once upon a time the internet was mostly a corridor to send data between computers and networks, with phones, tablets and other personal electronic devices entering the loop over time. With the internet increasingly playing a role, however, in connecting people to things and things to other things — televisions, vehicles, medical paraphernalia, heating and cooling systems — both businesses and IT professionals are racing to keep up.

The accelerating pace and accumulating challenges of connectivity are largely behind a major announcement from Cisco Learning Network, which earlier today unveiled an overhaul of its industry-leading Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) credential. Not only that, but CLN, the certification and training arm of global networking giant Cisco, is introducing an additional six new certifications that will help train and deploy workers with the skills to meet emerging business demands.

"This is the proverbial IT squeeze as we call it," said senior product marketing manager Andy Gremett in a phone conference previewing the announcement. When technology changes, business needs change, Gremett said: "Suddenly business partners are saying, 'I need X from IT,' whatever that is." The expectation, of course, is that IT pros will then figure out how to make X happen.

The overhaul of CCNP, now designated CCNP Routing and Switching (bringing it into line with earlier revisions to Cisco's CCNA and CCIE credentials), includes updated exam topics and expanded training options. CCNP candidates will be prepped for roles as network engineers, systems engineers and support engineers, while gaining increased exposure to subjects like IPv6 migration, virtual switch services (VSS) and Cisco StackWise. There will also be more robust options for study and learning.

"We have a new lab-based platform," said product marketing manager Ramesh Bijor. "We have more emphasis on exercises, quizzes and hands-on experience."

Along with the changes to CCNP, Cisco Learning Network is introducing several specialist certifications. The new Cisco Industrial Networking Specialist credental will train candidates to hold networking jobs in sectors like agriculture, mining and manufacturing. Also new is the Cisco Enterprise IT Business Specialist cert, which will prepare candidates to consult and assist in maximizing financial benefit from corporate IT investments.

Additionally, four new Network Programmability Specialist Certifications are now available. These four certs are specifically tailored to prepare candidatates for specific network programmability roles, including the following: Business Application Engineer, Network Accplication Developer, Network Programmability Design Specialist and Network Programmability Engineer.

Cisco Learning Network is also making changes to the content of its Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE) training material. UCCE helps facilitate communication between customers and support staff. Senior product marketing manager Errol Hayward said that the new materials will help technical support staff make better decisions and respond more efficiently to customer concerns.

Additional information about the newly announced changes is available at Cisco Learning Network.

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