On 27 February 2020, I took and passed the Cisco Certified DevNet Professional Core (DEVCOR) exam on my first attempt. For those who like to memorize dates, yes, I did pass DEVASC and DEVCOR on the same day to cut down on trips to the test center. Like DEVASC, this exam was fair and all blueprint topics were appropriately represented. You can read about my DEVASC blog here.
I want to focus on what I did to succeed and less about the exam structure itself. You can learn more about the official certification here. This blog is focused primarily on the DEVCOR exam. Before talking about the exam, just know that you need to pass the core exam plus one concentration exam to earn the Cisco Certified DevNet Professional certification. I also passed the ENAUTO exam, which focuses on enterprise network automation. I’ll write about it in “part 2” later.
Before attempting this certification, you should already have a DevNet Associate certification (not required) or comparable knowledge, plus at least 3 years of software development/automation experience. The DEVCOR exam was no joke. It was harder than the CCIE RS and SP written exams, and about as hard as the CCDE written exam. All of the DevNet resources I mentioned in my DEVASC blog post are still relevant, but as with all Professional-level certifications, there is far less “hand holding”. You’ll need to be creative and build many things on your own, including apps and automation scripts.
At a personal level, you need to be especially good with time management for this certification. As a point of comparison, consider the Cisco-specific products on the blueprint. About 70% of them require DevNet sandbox reservations, and sometimes you can’t get the slot you want. Some products, such as Cisco Intersight, only give you a 90-day trial license (at the time of this writing; this may change), so you better get all your studies done before you lose access. With DEVASC, only Cisco NSO required a reservation, while the other products had “always-on” sandboxes available. This is why I started my studies at 6:00 AM EST everyday, when most east coast Americans were still asleep, making some reservations easier. Even the exam itself was a time crunch; I finished with one minute left on the clock!
Also, I suggest you take the “3 years experience” requirement seriously. I have a Computer Science degree along with about 3 years of full-time network automation experience. I also teach these topics professionally, yet I still found the exam challenging. I don’t say this to discourage you, but to help set expectations. Build a strong foundation first; as I said earlier, the exam is as difficult as a CCIE written.
To complement the Associate-level training course, I’ve created another 3 courses on Pluralsight to address the DEVCOR topics. The courses build on the Associate-level courses by extending the existing application and network related code already written. Now that I’ve passed the exam, I estimate about 85% to 90% of the specific exam questions I received were covered somewhere in my Pluralsight learning path, based on how I scored. I’ve created a comprehensive study plan to help you succeed, too. It has options for “quick start” learners or for those starting at the beginning. You can watch the video for context or go straight to the plan to begin your journey. As always, feel free to ping me on twitter @nickrusso42518. I’m happy to help!