Cisco Aligns Certifications with Real World Needs
Cisco Learning Network is introducing new certification and training programs to prepare IT professionals for shifts in the technology landscape. The multinational corporation was worried that the continuing skills shortage in the tech field would cause the adoption of new and emerging technologies to stall and is introducing new certifications to combat that. The new exams focus on the Internet of Things, network programmability and IT business skills, which are all areas the company expects to grow in the coming years.
The new programs aim to move IT into a position where it can deliver real-world business outcomes by taking advantage of the IoT and other emerging technologies to a marketplace that still isn’t convinced with their usefulness. The new certifications also address the need to provide IT solutions that are concerned less with tech specifics and more with delivering benefits to businesses.
“Over the past several years, our customers have seen constant pressure to use IT as a strategic lever to produce new outcomes for their businesses,” said Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager of Learning@Cisco. “They are looking for outcomes of increased productivity, faster growth and innovation as they globalize, and to mobilize their operations while better serving the digital consumer. The certification and training updates, along with the new specialist certifications are designed to enable IT personnel to both add value to their skill sets and drive business value for their employers, helping eliminate the skills gap while preparing today’s workforce for tomorrow’s job roles.”
Aligning Exams with Real World Needs
One set of new credentials is the Network Programmability Specialist certifications which focus on new roles that are increasingly being taken on by traditional network engineers in changing IT environments. The NPS certifications are a valuable addition to Cisco’s portfolio because there is very little training available that covers SDN at the moment, but the technology is becoming increasingly important.
Two other specialist certifications the company will be offering are the Cisco Enterprise IT Business Specialist and the Cisco Industrial Networking Specialist certifications. The CEIBS is meant for network and security architects who hope to align IT skills with business goals more successfully. The certification focuses on doing business analysis of a tech solution, project management, the basics of finance and strategies for the implementation and adoption of technology. The CINS certification is focused on IoT, outdoor sensors, manufacturing, growing non-traditional networks and handling the data that comes from them. Both the CEIBS and CINS have two accompanying exams and related training courses.
“Cisco’s approach to technology innovation in the areas of automation, analytics and software-defined networking, or network programmability, results in systems that will be easier for organizations to deploy, operate, use and evolve,” said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst, ZK Research. “Following this innovation with comprehensive staff education, across both technical and business disciplines, will ensure IT organizations are getting the most from every IT staff member, as well as the technical systems and business processes they direct.”|
Upgrading Existing Certifications: CCNP
Along with adding new certifications to its training programs, Cisco also updated some existing credentials to make them more relevant to the current IT landscape. With these changes, the Cisco Certified Network Professional credential now focuses more on routing and switching technologies than it did in the past. Topics that were not core to route and switch, like VoIP, wireless and video, have been eliminated from the exam and the certification has been renamed CCNP Routing and Switching to more accurately reflect the skills it covers. The upgraded CCNP certification also addresses dynamic multi-point virtual private network and requires candidates to learn StackWise and virtual switching service technologies.
There are three new CCNP exams, each of which has a specific focus like data centers, security and voice. With the upgrades, the routing and switching exam is now more in line with the other certifications in its class. A variety of training courses exist for the various CCNP exams, all of which are offered in an e-learning option, as Cisco realized it can be difficult for working professionals to attend in-person classes.
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