What is changing for CCNP? And why?
Some of the problems that existed in the current CCNP were:
- No way of showing progress until you took all 3 exams and became CCNP certified, usually a 1+ year commitment
- Needed to pass CCNA before being able to become CCNP certified
- The certification wasn’t modular and it was a lot of work to update the certification
- Difficult to stay current with new technologies
Effective 24 February 2020, it will be possible to jump in at CCNP level, meaning that you don’t need to be CCNA certified to become a CCNP.
Instead of taking 3 exams, only 2 exams are needed, one Core exam and one concentration exam. You can take them in any order and you can also keep taking concentration exams to show you have skills in newer technologies such as SD-WAN. These concentration exams will show as badges.
Because the certification is now more modular, it will be easier to keep the certification up to date and to update it as technologies evolve and new ones come to the fore.
Another change is that the RS and Wireless track are now merged into CCNP Enterprise where the Core exam is shared and then you get to pick a concentration exam to become CCNP Enterprise certified. Be it SD-WAN, Routing and Switching, wireless, or something else.
The CCDP has been removed as a separate track. There is now a design concentration within the CCNP Enterprise instead. These are the concentrations available for CCNP Enterprise:
- Implementing Cisco Enterprise Advanced Routing and Services (ENARSI)
- Implementing Cisco SD-WAN Solutions (ENSDWI)
- Designing Cisco Enterprise Networks (ENSLD)
- Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks (ENWLSD)
- Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks (ENWLSI)
- Automating and Programming Cisco Enterprise Solutions (ENAUTO)
To find out all of the concentration exams, go to the following link and choose a certification -> https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications/certifications/professional.html
So what is all this about a Core exam? Every CCNP track now has a Core exam which for the Enterprise track will test you on the following topics:
- Dual stack (IPv4 and IPv6) architecture
- Network assurance
The full blueprint is here -> https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/community/certifications/ccnp-enterprise/encor/exam-topics
Note that there is some wireless in here and that automation is now part of the Core exam. What is also new is that passing the Core exam will qualify you to sit the CCIE Enterprise lab in either Infrastructure (RS) or Infrastructure Wireless.
Finally, it is now also possible to recert your CCNP by using the Continuous Education (CE) program. You can get credits from exams, courses, authoring content and so on. To recertify, 80 credits are needed.
Many of you are asking, If I’m CCNP certified, does that mean I can now sit the lab without passing a CCIE written? The short answer is yes but I’m still gathering details on if this applies to all CCNPs or only those that took their final exam within the 3-year life time of that exam. This will be reflected in the FAQ at Cisco’s web site when it gets updated.
What do you think of the changes? Personally I will probably try the SD-WAN concentration even though I’m already certified at a higher level. It’s a nice way of expanding your knowledge.