Cisco Career Certifications Associate and Entry Tracks 2020: Meet the NEW CCNA Program
On June 10 2019 at #CiscoLive2019 San Diego, Cisco announced one of the most sweeping changes (if not THE MOST) to Cisco Career Certifications portfolio since the inception of the program going all the way back to 90s. Cisco flipped upside down, just about everything, that you know about CCNA, CCNP and CCIE written and Lab exams today.
If you have not caught up on the overall the details, I’d strongly suggest you to start with our Cisco Career Certifications CCNA, CCNP, CCIE 2020 Major Update – Everything You Need to Know post first. For specific details on CCIE exam changes, check out Cisco CCNP Core Technologies Track: Meet The New CCIE Written and Lab Exams. For CCNP exam changes, hop over to Cisco Career Certifications Professional Track 2020: Meet the NEW CCNP Program.
In this article, I want to focus on the new Associate and Entry track i.e. CCNA, and CCT exams.
Top Reasons for Associate Exam Changes
Simplification of both Entry and Associate tracks, each of the tracks now only have one exam each.
Better alignment with evolving job market.
Level up Associate track with an Entry track, which as per Cisco is to serve as a starting point for individuals interested in starting a career as a networking professional.
When Do the New Exams Go Live
New CCNP Professional exams go live on February 24, 2020. Cisco has done a reasonably good job of clarifying the changes including the migration options for those who are half way to their next level.
What Did Not Change In The New Update
With the exception of CCNA and Associate and Entry tracks branding, most everything is changing.
The Scope of the Changes to Associate Track and Exams
Less Number of Specializations, and RIP (CCNA R&S, CCDA, CCNA Wireless, Cyber Ops, CCNA Industrial, and CCNA Cloud)
CCNA is now only about one exam with no specializations whatsoever, i.e. 200-301 V2.0 exam. In the new format, Cisco will retire CCDA, CCNA R&S, Wireless, CyberOps, Industrial and Cloud specializations. There are ten Associate level varieties today, whereas in the newer format they are reduced to two, CCNA and DevNet Associate.
CCNA = One Consolidated 200-301 V2.0 Exam
As far as exam topics go, new CCNA 200-301 V2.0 exam is similar to its predecessors CCNA 200-125 and ICND 1 and 2 exams.
Old Versus CCNA and CCT Exam Formats and Topics
In the new exam, Cisco seems to have cut down on some of the L2 and L3 bread and butter stuff, for example EIGRP and RIP no longer included. Cisco also has added automation and programmability which now accounts for 10% weight on the exam while 90% of the exam is more or less is still about network Infrastructure.
Cisco Certified Technician (CCT) exam comes in two flavors like it did before, R&S and DC. Exam topics are identical in both older and newer format. Again, please note that there will be no CCENT exam come February 24 2020.
CCNA and CCT Exam Durations and Fees
Both exams continue to be 90 minutes long. Likewise, exam fees for like to like exams are either $165 or $300 USD each.
CCNA and Entry Recertification Cycle
Today, you only need to recertify your CCNA every two years. However, in the newer format, you only need to recertify every three years and that also applies to CCNP and CCIE exams.
- One singular exam for CCNA to keep Associate level consolidated makes sense. CCNP which is tightly aligned with CCIE, is a much better place to kick off specializations otherwise it simply dilutes the overall Professional track with 8 different types of Associate exams.
- With CCDA exam retiring, I would have liked to see design or architecture topics folded into the new single CCNA exam.
- Moving from two-year to three-year recertification cycle makes perfect sense since that gives ample time to leveling up to attempt and pass the CCIE exam.
Last but not least, Cisco also published a detailed FAQ to cover the most common questions as well as a migration tool to help learners figure out a path who may have half way to their next level certification. If you prefer listening over reading, you can head over to Cisco Learning Network podcast.
Finally, I’d like to hear from you, what do you think about the Cisco CCNA Certification 2020 update? Is that a step in the right direction, or is that a mix bag? Leave your comments below.