Cisco CCNA Refresh: From ‘Information’ to ‘Digital-Ready’ Era

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Cisco is changing its networking engineer certification to match a host of industry-wide technological advancements.

Cisco's Tejas VashiThe company’s Learning Network has updated the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification for routing and switching for the first time since 2013.

Version 3.0 of the certification addresses changes in networking that have resulted from the growing trends of analytics, automation, virtualization, programmability and cloud-service management.

“The industry’s evolving,” said Tejas Vashi, senior director of product strategy and marketing at Learning@Cisco. “New skills are required, and therefore our certification must remain aligned with the actual jobs skills from this industry job role.”

Executives behind the certification refresh told Channel Partners that the changes mark a change in times: from the manual, device-focused “information era” network to the analytics-driven, ever-adapting “digital-ready” network.{ad}

Cisco's Antonella Corno“Digitization is driving the need for evolution. Evolution requires new technology infrastructure, which requires new skill sets,” Vashi said. “For channel partners to be very successful, they need to understand what these kinds of shifts are, because that’s the biggest concern of their customers today.”

Cisco has put forth a long list of topics that have been added or removed from the related exams.

“What this is all about is adding a layer that enables automation directly from the application down into the virtualization layer and the infrastructure,” said Antonella Corno, senior product manager of Learning@Cisco.

Vashi said one of the trends leading up to the refresh is the Internet of Things (IoT) and the ensuing increase of endpoints.

“Every time you add new endpoints, you add security vulnerabilities. So you need to secure not just the network infrastructure but the actual end-to-end of the network,” he said.

Vashi touted the importance of network infrastructure jobs, which he said are expected to increase by 96,600 new positions – a 31 percent hike – between now and 2024.

“This role becomes very critical as the network evolves, because not only are they administering the network – meaning the traditional definition of a router and switch-based infrastructure – but now it’s got to take into account software-based, analytics-driven, dynamic evolution of different traffic flows,” he said.

Vashi said the latest update helps partners keep up with the demands of their industry and improve their relationships with end users by taking more of an advisory role.

“They can continue to understand and align with their customers’ needs, and not just push boxes or push solutions, but really be able to be consultants in their business,” he said.

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