Cisco, the king of the networking jungle – and the second largest IT certification provider, sandwiched in between Microsoft and Comptia – is looking to address the skills gap with a complete refresh of its Associate-level certification programs and the evolution of the CCNA certification to CCNA Routing and Switching certification. In total, Cisco’s talent pool exceeds two million, with 582,000 in North America. At 1.9 million, routing and switching tops the certification hit list, followed by: design 97,000; security 70,000; collaboration 68,000; wireless 36,000; data center 21,000; and service provider 20,000.
The challenge facings CIOs is to get the right talent at the right place at the right time, said Ramesh Bijor, product marketing manager, Learning@Cisco. “One in three employers experience difficulties in filling vacancies due to lack of available talent.”
However, lack of talent is only one of the challenges. In addition, technology keeps changing, and job roles keep evolving to more of a dedicated role for specific function, like security, wireless, voice and video, he said. So Cisco has been working on the redesign for the last several years.
Cisco said we are entering a new realm: the Internet of Everything (or Internet of Things/IoT), where things will gain context awareness, increased processing power and greater sensing abilities as everything is connected to the network. It has gotten to the point where basic knowledge of networking fundamentals is no longer sufficient, and network professionals have to understand networking systems with integrated security, wireless, voice capabilities, data center, as well as business applications.
The IoT potential is huge, a $14 trillion opportunity, according to Cisco. As many as 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020, creating a $14.4 trillion business opportunity, said Rob Lloyd, president of sales and development at Cisco, speaking at an annual press event.
Regardless of what’s coming next, switching and routing are still key to Cisco, according to GigaOm. While its stranglehold is under increasing pressure, it still owns 54% of the market share in six networking categories (Ethernet switches, voice systems, routers, UC apps, WLAN and Telepresence). Research from Synergy shows that Cisco has the lion’s share of the market in switches and routing, reaching roughly 65% and 70% respectively. In 2012 the six main segments within the enterprise networking market generated $45 billion in revenues for technology vendors, with Ethernet switches now accounting for almost half of all spending.
The company said the redesign enables the Associate-level concentration certifications such as CCNA Routing and Switching, CCNA Voice, CCNA Security, CCNA Wireless, CCNA SP Operations and CCDA to better align with industry job roles of today and the future. For CCENT and CCNA Routing and Switching, Cisco has redesigned the training curriculum for ICND1, ICND2 and CCNAX and has introduced new exams for ICND1, ICND2 and CCNA Composite. The updates include troubleshooting, technologies such as IPV6, and updated software on Cisco routers and switches. Now candidates need pass only two required exams to achieve advanced technology certifications in an accelerated manner, including: CCNA Routing and Switching; CCNA Security; CCNA Voice; CCNA Wireless; and CCNA SP Operations.
The following certifications currently require two exams: CCNA Data Center; CCNA Video; CCNA Service Provider; and CCNA SP Operations. For CCDA certification, a valid CCENT certification will be a prerequisite beginning October 1, 2013.
The new exams and training are available now. Candidates can register for the exams through Pearson VUE, and training courses are offered by Cisco Learning Partners.