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Cisco DevNet Certs Will 'Validate' Partners' Software Development Expertise

"Outside of an AWS or Microsoft certification, there's not much of a certification program out there for DevOps," according to one Cisco partner.

Cisco has launched a dedicated DevNet certification track, a first-of-its kind certification aimed at the developer community, and Cisco partners say it’s a win for any solution provider looking to hone and highlight software development skills for building applications, automation, cloud and Internet of Things systems.

"The opportunity is massive" for partners interested in pursuing the new DevNet certification track, said Mike Trojecki, vice president of IoT and Analytics for Logicalis, a Cisco Gold partner. “It's all about creating applications for new use cases."

 Internally, Logicalis, a global MSP based in New York City, has been evaluating the types of skill sets people will need for next-generation technology applications, including IoT, analytics and AI. Logicalis plans on putting some of its employees through the latest DevNet certification training.

 "The fact that Cisco has been putting so much time into DevNet over the last couple of years and the fact that they are putting some certifications and rails around it, I think is critical," Trojecki said. "Outside of an AWS or Microsoft certification, there's not much of a certification program out there for DevOps."

 [Related: Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins To Partners: The Importance Of DevNet And How IoT 'Is Coming Into Its Own']

 The software development landscape has so many tools that standardizing a certification program or competencies can be very difficult. By making investments around DevOps, Cisco is continuing to demonstrate that software is its focus, solution providers said.

 The latest Cisco certification track offers a Cisco DevNet Certification that includes a DevNet Associate-level specialization for those with one or more years' experience in building or maintaining applications. The DevNet Specialist-level specialization is for developers with three-to-five years of experience in application development and these professionals can earn specific certifications in areas such as enterprise, collaboration, and data center automation, as well as security, DevOps and IoT. Lastly, the DevNet Professional-level specialization is for those with three-to-five years' experience in designing and implementing applications.  

There are many Cisco partners who have already built application development practices or have even acquired small companies that do application development, so it's clearly a big area of interest for Cisco's partner community, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins told CRN during Cisco Live last week in San Diego, California. 

"There's this whole notion of our Cisco-certified experts or architects that wanted to take their knowledge, couple it with a coding capability, and be able to build nodules and be recognized for their knowledge," he said. "I think this is a very natural transition for us, and partners are excited to see it because they and our customers in the marketplace puts a lot of credence in a lot of the certifications already and I think they will do that with the [DevNet certification] as well.” 

The DevNet certifications are a result of a "tremendous" amount of feedback from partners who are honing both networking engineering and software development skillsets, said Nirav Sheth, vice president of worldwide sales and systems engineering for Cisco's partner organization.  

"They've asked to be able to get a little bit more strategic and more guidance from us on marrying these two worlds together," he said. "This is a great signal to our partners that we're first to move." 

Cisco will be rewarding partners investing in the latest certification in the same way that it has done with its existing infrastructure-focused certifications, Sheth added.  

Computex Technology Solutions, a Cisco Gold partner, has about 70 employees that have at least one Cisco certification, such as a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification, under their belt. The company plans on identifying a group of employees that can immediately undergo training to earn the new Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Devnet and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) DevNet certifications, said Faisal Bhutto, executive vice president of networking, cloud and cybersecurity for the solution provider.  

"We've been talking about the skills that the new engineer needs to have -- scripting and programing -- in addition to networking. Finally coming up with certifications, I think, is big news because it allows me to put my engineers on a path," Bhutto said. "This announcement is making us think about our internal career development." 

Bhutto said the new certification track will help Computex validate its own internal talent and bring more credibility to customer meetings. "Right now, anyone can claim that they know the software world, but in that world, there isn't really a way to validate that knowledge, so I think this is a huge move for Cisco."

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