New CCNA, CCNP, CCIE and Cisco DevNet Certifications!

The New Exam topics are up and posted by Cisco!

CCNA-200-301:  View the new exam topics here.

CCNP: View the exam topics here.

We are super excited for the awesome changes Cisco is bringing to the Cisco Certification paths!  We think that these are extremely positive revisions that are going to bring even more strength, demand and value to the already prominent classification of being Cisco Certified!  These new changes really bring the current tracks into the future, further prepare engineers for the field and make them even more desirable to an even broader range of employers.

Let’s go through some of the main points together.  We will also provide some basic understanding and background information to clear up some of the confusion around the Cisco certification ladder. Then you can make a more educated move into the world of networking and Cisco certifications.

Most candidates start with the CCNA exam.  This is the associate level exam that builds the foundational knowledge to branch out into the more advanced and focused exams. This is a highly respected certification in the industry. It is well known that if you hold a Cisco certification, that you have to know your stuff.


Cisco just released a blog post announcing the return of weight being placed back onto lab questions. These will be implemented with the new lab-based performance questions.  These configuration style questions won’t allow a theory based squeeze by on the exam and will really test your knowledge that you studied your labs and Cisco IOS.  These show that you have a strong understanding and can produce the skills necessary in a HANDS ON environment. The only way to prepare for these is to practice, practice and practice your lab even more.

Cisco is also making a massive push to get candidates away from studying using any sort of simulator.  This goes for ALL Cisco exams, including CCNA and CCNP. We have been preaching this for decades, which is why we have been the number one lab kit source for so long. In Cisco’s own words:

“Just as someone must get behind the wheel of a car and navigate through traffic to demonstrate driving skills for their driving test, Cisco candidates should use real routers, actual Cisco gear, and products to demonstrate their skills and abilities to perform specific tasks. Like in real-life situations, when candidates work with devices, they are often free to use their preferred configuration options, as long as they produce the expected outcome. For example, candidates can enter the prompts they prefer if the device is configured correctly at the end. This goes far beyond their respective “running configuration” since, in the workplace, the focus is on achieving the desired result that aligns with the given requirements.”

You can read their full blog entry here: New Performance-Based Lab Exam Items Build Opportunities

Our professionals are here to help you build your home lab, the right way and without the headache. We know this can sometimes be a little confusing, so please never hesitate to reach and we’ll be more than happy to provide all the guidance you might need.  You can view our lab kits on our shop page.


If pass your CCNA exam, your cert will be good for 3 years from your certificate date!  Even if you come into this journey with no IT experience, with some dedication, anyone can do this.  There couldn’t be a better time to buckle down and hammer out this cert!  The newest Cisco CCNA is a hotter ticket than ever and the buzz of the tech world! Our sincere advice is to take advantage of this and crank out that cert!  The paths and doors it can open are vast.

The old CCENT is now long gone.  The exam is now only available as a single test, but don’t let this scare you!  There may be more material this time, but some of the advanced level pieces moved to CCNP.  So, does this mean the CCNA will be easier?  We can’t be sure of that, but we can say that it will still cover a lot of material, but primarily the core concepts of them.  We always like to say that the CCNA is like 10 football fields long and an inch deep.  Where-as a more focused certification, like CCNP ENCOR, ENARSI or Security, is one football field long and 6 inches deep

The current Associate Level Certification options with no pre-requisite are:

CCNA 200-301 Routing and Switching (the primary exam most everyone goes for to start)

CCNA Security (Now Network Security 1.0)

CBROPS Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate

DEVASC Cisco Certificed DevNet Associate

CCT Cisco Certified Technician (Usually for Cisco TAC representatives)

The new CCNA consolidates many of the previous tracks such as wireless, security, etc. into a single exam, then adds some automation and programmability to the mix.

Yes, this does mean that all of the previous specialization or focus exam that were offered by Cisco will are longer be available.  The CCNA exam will now be a blanket or consolidated style exam and you will break into the focuses at the CCNP level.  Which, if you think about it, really makes a lot of sense.

You’ve got this!  Dedicate yourself and be one of the glowing people out there with the shiny new cert that is the biggest excitement to hit this certification path since its beginning 28 years ago!  Everyone will be looking at you and network engineers are in higher demand than ever!


Just like CCNA, your certification will be good for three years after you passed the exam. This is Cisco professional level certification and recommended for candidates that have passed their CCNA or have a strong experience level and are very confident in their networking skills. In an interesting change, CCNA is no longer a pre-requisite for CCNP Enterprise or Wireless. So, if you are ready for the challenge, you can go right for CCNP!

The Current CCNP Options Are:

CCNP Enterprise ENCOR 350-401 & ENARSI 300-410 (The primary exam everyone goes for: Route, Switch, TShoot)

CCNP Service Provider

CCNP Data Center

CCNP Security

CCNP Collaboration (voice, etc)

Cisco Certified DevNet Professional

Cisco Certified CyberOps Professional

The new way these tests will work:

  1. You first pass a technology core exam – foundational and common concepts are covered here.
  2. Then you pass a focus/concentration exam – This is a focused exam on a specific technology
  3. For example, CCNP Enterprise would consist of the core exam (ENCOR) and then you would take the focus exam (ENARSI).

Once again, the new change to the certification ladder is that CCNA is no longer a prerequisite. If you know your stuff or have solid networking experience, you can skip right into CCNP Enterprise!



CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure (wired) -CCNP ENCOR is the Pre-Requisite

CCIE Enterprise wireless -CCNP ENCOR is the Pre-Requisite

CCIE Data Center

CCIE Security

CCIE Service Provider

CCIE Collaboration

Cisco Certified DevNet Expert

Once again there are two exams for each certification.  The bonus here is that the CCNP ENCOR exam is actually the pre-requisite for CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure and CCIE Wireless.  So, if you passed your CCNP, you already have a big chunk of our CCIE ready to go.

These break down into:

-Technology Core exam (Just like CCNP)

-Then a Lab Exam which is broken down into two modules.

  1. Design – 3 hours
  2. Deploy, operate and Optimize -5 hours

-Overall, still a hardcore 8 hour exam

You will see more Automation and Network Programmability here as well.

For a full chart that breaks down everything, you can refer to the official path from Cisco here.

Fresh and New:

 Something completely new to the certification options here is the addition of Cisco Certified Devnet at the associate and professional level (and apparently the CCIE level, but no promises on release dates here).  These are an interesting and pretty cool addition, especially because they will still require fundamental knowledge of networking.  These are very software based and will have a split of something like 80%/20% with networking.  The concept here was so that programmers and networking guys can actually communicate instead of always speaking two different languages!  We will definitely be looking at what we can put together to get anyone interested in the networking side of this all setup to add to their programming skills!  Exciting stuff and may solve a long time problem in the IT world.  Communication is key.

Finally, our favorite update!  You can now take a higher exam to recertify everything underneath it OR use continuing education credits to keep your certification!  These will be very similar to the continuing education credit program offered by Comptia where you can take additional courses, attend seminars (such as Cisco Live), etc.  This is something we have all been waiting for!  We couldn’t be more excited about this!  Here is more info from Cisco about recertification options at this link.

In review, we really think these changes are going to keep Cisco certs at the top of the mountain.  These seem like major changes, but they will assure that being Cisco certified will remain one of the most powerful certs in the IT community, will open door, create job opportunities and lead to exciting careers where the sky is the limit!  Don’t wait, get started right away and dive right in!  As Cisco progresses their certification program through the future, always please check back. We always work to provide the latest details and updates.  Also, remember that if you purchase a lab from us, CertificationKits is the only company that covers you with our trade-up program.  So, you get that extra level of future-proofing that no one else offers to make sure you are covered, even if we see hardware changes 6 years from now.  We have your back and you will always be ready to go!