Cisco's New DevNet Cert Track Set for February Debut
Somebody must have told Cisco, "Go big or go home," with the result that they decided to go big. In addition to the pending demolition of the current CCNA hierarchy, which will be replaced with a single credential, Cisco is now preparing to launch an entirely new certification track. The company will release three levels of DevNet certification on Feb. 24:
3) Cisco Certified DevNet Specialist (Nine distinct areas of specialization)
It's not yet clear whether these credentials will get their own unique acronyms (there's no sign of that yet at the Cisco certification site). That said, I wouldn't be surprised to see CCDNA and CCDNP enter the already-sizable collection of Cisco certification initialisms by early next year.
More About the Cisco Certified DevNet Associate
Make no mistake: the "Dev" in DevNet definitely stands for "Developer," as in "Software Developer." Thus, this credential seeks to validate software development skills as practice by professional developers, but also "DevOps engineers, automation specialists, and other software professionals."
By that, Cisco surely means QA and testing professionals, software architects and designers, and so forth. The focus of this new credential is pretty technical and hard-edged, with a concentration on the following (bullet items are quoted verbatim from the DevNet Associate landing page):
- Understanding and using APIs
- Cisco platforms and development
- Application development and security
- Infrastructure and automation
As an entry-level cert, this Associate level credential imposes no prerequisites, though Cisco rightly (and tritely) observes that candidates "should have a good understanding of the exam topics before taking the exam." They also recommend one year or more of hands-on software development experience, including Python programming.
The exam for this credential is labeled 200-901 DEVASC, with the title "Developing Applications and Automating Workflows using Cisco Core Platforms."
More about the Cisco Certified DevNet Professional
Interestingly, this credential does NOT officially take the Cisco Certified DevNet Associate as a prerequisite. Closer inspection of the program's requirements, however, shows that the same exam that qualifies individuals for the Associate cert — namely 200-901 DEVASC — constitutes the "core requirement" for this credential as well.
Likewise, Cisco offers the same advice to candidates for this cert as for its Associate level counterpart (see preceding invocation about a "good understanding of exam topics"). They also recommend that IT pros tackling this credential come to it with between three and five years of software development experience that include Python programming.
Otherwise, the language describing this cert is more or less the same as that for the Associate level credential — except that it targets "professional-level software developers, DevOps engineers, automation specialists, and other software professionals." Interestingly, there's also this statement about the Professional cert as well:
"... every exam in the DevNet Professional program earns an individual Specialist certification, so you get recognized for your accomplishments along the way." Note: All nine specialist exams will be listed in the next section of this piece.
To earn this professional-level credential candidates must pass two exams: one core exam, and a software developer concentration exam of the candidate's choosing. That single core exam is the selfsame exam that confers the DevNet Associate credential (200-901 DEVASC). I'll cover the specialist exams in the next section, but any one of those will do, when combined with the afore-mentioned Core exam, to earn this Professional level certification.
Seemingly it's a somewhat lower bar than other Cisco Professional certs, which means one of two things (and perhaps both): first, that Cisco is really seeking to attract a sizable certified population of DevNet professionals quickly; and second, that perhaps these DevNet Specialist certifications are more demanding and time-consuming than Cisco Specialist exams in other Cisco certification tracks.
List of Cisco Certified DevNet Specialist Exams
The nine specialist exams more or less speak for themselves in exposing Cisco's current collection of areas of focus for DevNet learning. They are as follows (lifted verbatim from the DevNet Specialist landing page):
This collection pretty much defines the areas in which Cisco offers more focused training and certification for DevNet professionals. It wouldn't surprise me to see truly interested and motivated professionals rack up multiple specialists credentials, thereby earning the Professional and Specialist credentials several (or many) times over.
Note: All DevNet certs are valid for three years, after which candidates must recertify to maintain these credentials.
What's Next? What's Missing?
This is just the first salvo in many information blasts that Cisco will no doubt release between now and the end of February. As more information becomes available, I'll do my best to parse it and pass it along. For the time being, the various exam pages can speak to as much detail about concepts, content, and coverage, as is currently available. Stay tuned!