Cisco’s certification pyramid strategy allows you to step your way up the career ladder by upgrading lower-tiered certifications to higher ones as your skills and knowledge increase. At the bottom of that pyramid–at least until Feb. 24, 2020–is the Entry level, represented by the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) credential. A step up from that is the Associate level, or Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). Certification candidates can start their journeys at the Entry level and graduate to the Associate level by first taking the Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices 1 (ICND1) exam and then taking ICND2. Or, candidates can skip the Entry level completely and hop straight to the Associate level by taking the CCNA exam. Therefore, Cisco has no prerequisite for obtaining the Associate-level credential.
Now that you know that Cisco has migration paths that will allow you to continue your existing Cisco certification track and transition to the new one when it drops on Feb. 24, 2020, your blood pressure’s probably back to normal. However, you might be concerned about that bucket of Boson study products you purchased to aid you in the pursuit of your credentials. Maybe you’ve already bought our ExSim-Max for Cisco 200-125 CCNA product to help you study for your Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) exam, but life has happened, and you’re no longer sure you’ll be able to take the exam before the transition on Feb. 24. Have you just wasted your money?
Following Cisco’s announcement that the exam tracks for its entire line of certifications will be changing in 2020, you might have heard talk of migrations and the bandying about of the term Cisco Certified Specialist. So, what is a Cisco Certified Specialist credential? How do you get one? Why do you need one? Simply, a Cisco Certified Specialist credential proves that you have passed what is known as a Cisco concentration exam. Concentration exams are Cisco exams that narrowly focus on a specific Cisco topic or technology that is related to but does not complete a core certification.
By now, you've heard that the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification track in its current form of three exams and a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) prerequisite is retiring. The last day to obtain a CCNP credential by using the current exam track is Feb. 23, 2020. On Feb. 24, 2020, the current track is being replaced with a track that requires passing two exams but has no prerequisite. This new credential is titled CCNP Enterprise.
Along with the retirement of the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) credential in February 2020, Cisco recently announced that the revamped Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) will, as of Feb. 24, 2020, include knowledge from what had previously been separate but related CCNA concentrations. Specifically, the concentrations that are being replaced by CCNA 200-301 include all of the following:
So, you finally decided to obtain your first Cisco certification. Like many candidates, you had your eye on getting a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). You explored your options and decided you wanted to test the waters by plunking down the money for the Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1) exam and obtaining your Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) credential. Then you can use that credential as a stepping stone to your CCNA by taking ICND2 later, presumably after you spent some time studying for it.