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Cisco Live: New DevNet Certification, DevNet Automation Exchange Debut

Day one of Cisco Live 2019 saw a brand-new DevNet certification track, as well as a dedicated DevNet Automation Exchange community for the IT teams of the future.

Cisco Systems wants to recognize partners and customers that not only have to work hard to hone their network engineering chops, but those who are also focusing heavily on software development.

Cisco on the first day of Cisco Live 2019 unveiled an evolved certification and training program, complete with a dedicated DevNet certification track. It's a first-of-its kind certification that software developers can use to demonstrate programmability expertise and software skills, especially as infrastructure engineering and software development are coming together, Mike Adams, vice president of Cisco's learning division, told CRN.

"The feedback we've gotten is that there is no one bringing software skills around DevNet with the infrastructure skills to create a single certification program at the size and scale Cisco is doing today," Adams said. 

The new Cisco certification track, integrated with Cisco's existing infrastructure certification program, includes a Cisco DevNet Certification for developing software skills and features a DevNet Associate level specialization, a DevNet Specialist level specialization and a DevNet Professional level specialization.

"This is really a nod to those partners out there who are looking for those integrated skills," he said.  

[Related: Cisco To Scoop Up Sentryo To Boost Industrial IoT Security]

Designed for network professionals and software developers, the new certifications will let the IT teams of the future who are creating applications for the "new network" to have more choice over the technology skills they want to develop, said Mandy Whaley, senior director of developer experience for Cisco's DevNet division.  

The new courses are rolling out this month and exams will available in February 2020, according to San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco.

Cisco also wants to make certification achievement easier for more partners and end customers. The company said that it is "radically decreasing" the amount of time and investment it takes to achieve certain certification levels. In addition, education will be available at all levels and exam prerequisites to advance to the next level with be eliminated so that IT professionals can focus on skill-building instead of test-taking, Cisco said.

"We want to put the learner in the driver's seat in terms of where their choices lie, and we want to be mindful of both our technologists and learners, how they were having to invest, but also for partners and customers, having to send people to training is a pretty big investment on their part," Adams said.  

Cisco said it is streamlining and consolidating several of its certification tracks, including the CCNA entry-level certification, CCNP, Cisco Certified Specialist focused on engineering topics, and Cisco Certified Internetwork Engineer track.

To address network automation, one of the biggest challenges for IT teams today, the tech giant took to Cisco Live to unveil the DevNet Automation Exchange. The Exchange is a new community that can be tapped by developers, end users and channel partners and provides shared code that can solve specific network automation use cases, such as SD-WAN policy automation. The code is developed by the DeVNet community and is curated by Cisco on an ongoing basis, the company said.

"We really think this is the best of both worlds—it's created by the community and curated by Cisco. We think it will bring network automation in a very concrete, tangible way, to more partners and end customers," Whaley said.

The DevNet Automation Exchange will be launched initially with code for 50 use cases, Whaley said.

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