• Ronald Quiliche

New CCNP/CCIE Exam Updates

As I continue to think about what to write for my first blog post, I believe covering the upcoming changes for the Cisco exams would be an appropriate start for this site.

During the Cisco Live 2019 event which took place in San Diego on June 2019, Cisco announced the new exams which are scheduled to be released in February 2020 for their CCNA, CCNP,CCIE, and DevNet exam programs. Usually for Cisco, it's not too uncommon for them to announce one of their certifications to be revamped at their live press conferences, but to announce all of their certification programs will be updated at the same time is quite remarkable. With February 2020 inching closer, what do we need to know about these new exam changes? Well for starters, please know that each of these exams mentioned above, has a migration path into the new ones which is a relief to hear.

Now before I continue, this blog will be covering only CCNP and CCIE material. I figured I would cover the Routing and Switching portion on those two exams, since I am currently working on acquiring those certificates. I do have my CCNP Switch exam completed and currently preparing myself to take the remaining two parts of the CCNP exam. (Route and TSHOOT) I'll keep everyone posted on how I did on those two exams in the near furture.

Lets begin on the new changes for the CCNP Routing and Switching exam which after reviewing the exam topics are quite intriguing. For the new exam, CCNP will no longer require CCNA to be a prerequisite to take the exam, which means you can dive straight into taking the CCNP exam without any requirements at all. Additionally, each CCNP path you wish to specialize in, will only require two exams which are the core exam(ENCOR) and the concentration exam that you wish to specialize in. What I also found interesting is that the core exam is the same exam for the CCIE written portion but we will touch on that further down on this post. For the CCNP paths, here is the complete exam list:

Passing any of the exams above will grant you the Cisco Certified Specialist Title but for the current CCNP Routing and Switching certificate which will be named as CCNP Enterprise, you will earn both the Cisco Certified Specialist - Enterprise Core and the Cisco Certified Specialist - Enterprise Advanced Infrastructure Implementation certifications. You can check on how your CCNP exams migrate to the new exams with the Cisco migration tool linked here. Below is what the new Cisco path will look like for all of the exams:

New Cisco Exam Path

Moving on to the CCIE portion, Cisco have made changes to all of their existing exam paths which is a first for Cisco. To start, the Routing and Switching portion of the CCIE exams will be renamed to the CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure certification. Remember what I mentioned above about how the CCNP core exam (ENCOR 300-401) is the same as the written portion of the CCIE. Well its true which is a good thing for our wallets and we only need to take the 8 hour lab portion for the CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure v1.0 exam. The exam topics for this lab are here.

The 8 hour lab exam is further explained here which in summary is broken down into two modules. First module is a 3 hour long exam that presents you scenarios which focuses more on design topics similar to the CCDE exams but we shall wait until Feb 2020 arrives to find out more details about this. The second module is a 5 hour exam which is a mix of web based questions and hands on device interaction. This part of the exam will consist of deploying a network according to the exam's specifications and "operate and optimize network technology and solutions."

Moving on to the last topic, the CCIE Routing and Switching exam does not have a migration tool similar to the CCNP one. Instead, Cisco lists the following on their website in regards to anyone who currently holds a CCIE certificate:

  • On February 24, 2020, the new CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure v1.0 certification will replace the current CCIE Routing and Switching v5.0 certification.

  • If you have started working toward the current CCIE Routing and Switching certification, keep going. In the new program, you’ll receive credit for work you’ve completed in the current program.

  • If you pass the current CCIE Routing and Switching Written v5.0 exam before February 24, you’ll  be eligible to take the new CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure v1.0 lab exam after February 24.

  • After February 24, the CCIE Routing and Switching Written v5.0 exam will be replaced with ENCOR 350-401. After you pass ENCOR 350-401, you will earn the Cisco Certified Specialist - Enterprise Core certification.

  • If you complete the entire CCIE Routing and Switching certification before February 24, then on February 24, you’ll automatically receive the new CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure v1.0 certification, which can be maintained as per new recertification guidelines, and you will also receive the Cisco Certified Specialist - Enterprise Core certification.

If you ever need the complete list for the CCIE exams, I have them listed below:

To sum up the changes made by Cisco, they are bringing great incentives for anyone who currently holds a CCNP certificate to pursue further into the CCIE path by combining the CCIE written portion to the CCNP ENCOR exam. As we reach closer to release date for the new exams, more information will be available about these exams so stay tuned for that.

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