On 19 January 2021, I took and passed the Implementing DevOps Solutions and Practices (DEVOPS) exam on my first attempt. This is the sixth DevNet exam I’ve passed … and probably the last! Much like my experience with enterprise and service provider automation, I have years of real-life experience solving a diverse set of business problems using DevOps skills. I’ve spoken about the topic on various podcasts and professional training courses many times. Even given that experience, the exam blueprint introduced me to new technologies such as Cisco AppDynamics and Prometheus, to name a few.

I found DEVOPS to be more difficult than the product-specific concentration exams like ENAUTO, SPAUTO, and SAUTO. Because the exam has very little Cisco-specific content (AppDynamics is about the extent of it), you’ll need extensive hands-on, detail-oriented experience with many third-party products. To name a few: Ansible, Terraform, Docker, Kubernetes, Prometheus, ELK, git/GitHub, Travis CI, Jenkins, and Drone. Like most Cisco specialties, it isn’t enough just to watch video training to learn the details of these technologies; labbing and self-learning are both essential to pass this challenging exam.

Unlike DEVASC, DEVCOR, ENAUTO, and SAUTO, I did not create a comprehensive study plan for DEVOPS. I’ve linked each of those training plans in the previous sentence, and I’d suggest DEVASC at a minimum if you are new to DevOps technologies. The good news is that many DEVOPS topics overlap with my DEVCOR training plan, such as building interactive chatbots in Webex Teams, streaming telemetry with the ELK stack, infrastructure as code with Ansible/Python scripts, microservice architectures, Travis CI pipelines with automated application deployment to Kubernetes, and several more.

My friend and fellow Pluralsight author Kyler Middleton developed a 2.5 hour course on CI/CD pipelines specifically tailored to the Cisco DEVOPS blueprint. I’d strongly recommend watching it; note that this topic comprises 20% of the DEVOPS blueprint. In addition to the aforementioned training courses, here are some useful and free resources I think will be especially helpful for DEVOPS.

Cisco DevNet Learning Labs

Containers Track

All Day DevOps Track

App-first Security Track

Introduction to Kubernetes

Kubernetes Objects

Introduction to Jenkins

AppDynamics Visibility

Postman Collections

AppDynamics

Prometheus

Grafana

Kibana

Miscellaneous Technologies

Evolving Technologies Book In addition to these resources, you should invest a fair amount of personal time (probably 200-300 total hours) writing code as it relates to the various blueprint topics. The Cisco DEVOPS course does a good job of covering these technologies at a basic/introductory level. I’d recommend starting there if these technologies are new to you. As always, feel free to ping me on twitter @nickrusso42518. I’m happy to help!

My Journey Towards the Cisco Certified DevNet Specialist – DevOps – By Nick Russo
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