Partners Praise Cisco DevNet Certification Program As DevOps ‘Crashes’ Into Daily IT Tasks

Cisco’s one-year-old DevNet career certification program has been a ‘big validation’ of the work partners have been putting in around DevOps and automation, partners tell CRN.

The networking and software development worlds have been converging in recent years, but 2020 fast-tracked business transformation and put an emphasis on automation and programmability know-how.

Enter Cisco DevNet. Cisco unveiled its dedicated DevNet career certification track in 2019, the first-of-its kind individual career certification track that software developers are now using to demonstrate programmability expertise and software skills, similar to Cisco’s CCIE certifications for technology. This certification track, which was made available in February 2020, includes a DevNet Associate level specialization, a DevNet Specialist level specialization and a DevNet Professional level certification.

A little over a year later, the DevNet certification program has hit a couple of milestones: More than 10 thousand DevNet certifications have been awarded to more than 7,800 individuals, including channel partners and businesses. There are more than 600 Cisco partners today that have DevNet-certified talent, Cisco told CRN.

Sponsored post

[Related: Cisco Plus Offers ‘Turnkey’ As-A-Service Solutions, Not Pieces, Say Execs]

“When the DevNet certifications came out, it was a really catalytic moment for us. It was a big validation of all of the work we had been putting in over the last couple of years,” said Brad Haas, engineering director of DevOps and automation for New York-based solution provider Presidio.

Cisco Master partner Presidio has three to four DevNet Professionals and more than 30 Associates and Specialist-level employees within the organization. In the program’s beginning, Presidio was involved in the development of some of the test questions for the certifications, Haas said.

Software development is “crashing into” the things that partners are doing every day, Haas said. As customers move more into the cloud, DevOps is starting to bleed into the traditional pillars of IT, such as networking and security. The certification program is a way to show customers that the partner is agile has the right expertise to help them with change, he said.

One large university customer using Webex for remote learning wanted to create a data analysis pipeline to collect information from meetings, such as attendance, which Presidio enabled by tapping into its DevNet experience. “A year later, we’re talking about putting in predictive analysis and machine learning now that they have this data,” Haas said.

Cisco’s Oliver Tuszik, senior vice president of the global partner organization, told CRN this month that Cisco’s DevNet community is reaching a “new level.”

“It’s not only about developing on top of our platforms and APIs, but it’s about how to enable a software-centric world. Software skills are becoming even more essential, especially when we’re talking about a cloud-first, application-centric world,” Tuszik said.

Cisco Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins in March called out the “tremendous opportunity” for partners who create unique intellectual property on top of Cisco platforms. “What I’ve been telling [partners] is in the past, you competed based on who can deliver the best services around deploying whatever technology infrastructure we’re talking about. Today, [partners] can build unique intellectual property that is differentiated to them,” he said at CiscoLive! 2021.

Natilik, a London-based solution provider that focuses on cutting-edge technologies, believes that network automation and opportunities around APIs were the next logical step for the company to pursue, said Matyas Prokop, principal architect for Natilik.

“Even though data center is still an important part of our business, the network automation and DevOps are something we’ve been focusing on much more than we used to,” Prokop said. “We’re trying to stay one step ahead of the demand because we know this is the future.”

Cisco DevNet partner Natilik’s 2021 pipeline for network automation services has so far doubled, Prokop said. Because the company had a head start last year with DevOps, Natilik helped its customers complete transformation projects through the early days of the pandemic.

“It was a perfect example of how network automation and our own [intellectual property] helped us. We were able to deploy sites without having someone local,” he said. ”We could start automating remotely, and there was definitely an advantage for us and for the client.”

In addition to the DevNet career certification track, Cisco last May introduced a DevNet specialization designed to help partners build out a strong practice around software development.