CertificationKits FAQ for the new Cisco Certification Changes in 2020


We have been getting bombarded with questions about the changes Cisco will be making to their certification paths in 2020.  Don’t freak out!  This is WAY less scary than it sounds and offers a lot of exciting benefits!  So, we decided to put together a comprehensive FAQ to try and help everyone out with everything that has been happening.  We hope this helps answer a lot of the questions everyone has and we hope this pushes you to want to become Cisco certified more than ever before!


Wait, what the heck is exactly going on here!?!


Cisco is rolling out what they are calling, “Streamlined and updated certification paths”.  These will become effective February 24th, 2020.

Here is a breakdown of what Cisco says we can expect:

Cisco is consolidating and updating the CCNA exam.  They said that it is good to think of this as an all new approach to the CCNA.  This means there will be one exam that covers all paths that are under the current CCNA portfolio.  So, you will still have the core of CCNA, but it will also dive into security topics, wireless topics, etc.  The core routing and switching material will still be the bulk of the exam under the term “foundations”, then there will be light security, wireless, voice, etc. added to the topics.  This is fairly similar to the older version of the CCNP exam layout, but in a much lighter capacity.  The newest topic that has been added to the curriculum is network automation and programmability.  This will cover about 10% of the exam questions.


  • The new DevNet certifications at all levels have been added. These are exciting options on the software development side of things.


Just like some other certifications, such as CompTia, Cisco will now allow continuing education credits to renew your certifications every three years!  This is very exciting!  These credits can be earned by taking a higher level exam and it renewing the exams under it, attending Cisco Live, seminars, etc.  This is some of the best news we have heard in a long time!  The hardest part of some of this was getting your cert, finding a great job, then having to find time to study and renew that cert while working.  This really helps with that!

  • To recertify as CCNA, you’ll need to complete 30 continuing education credits.
  • To recertify as Cisco Certified Specialist, you’ll need to complete 40 continuing education credits.
  • To recertify as CCNP, you’ll need to complete 80 continuing education credits.
  • To recertify as CCIE, you’ll need to complete 120 continuing education credits.


  • Cisco has begun a new digital badging program to recognize your skills and completing training courses. This should also provide some encouragement because you will get something for hard work and something to add to your resume, even when it doesn’t grant you a full certification.  You will have a real way of say, “Hey, I really am part of the way through CCNP and on schedule to completing it”.


  • CCNA will no longer be a prerequisite for CCNP, etc. So, you can literally skip right to getting your CCNP if you have the drive!  Now you can gear your goals to your aspirations and skill level.


What is changing on the CCNA exam?


As we already mentioned, CCENT will no longer be an option come the cutoff date.  There will only be “One CCNA to rule them all”.  (We had to sneak a little Tolkien in there).

The CCNA exam will have a lot of overlap.  Actually, Cisco says that the exam will be about 75% overlap from the current exam.  That means that even if you are currently studying, you will still be in an excellent position to bridge to the new material.  This also means that the current hardware recommendations will still be very valid and crossover to the new exam very cleanly.

The new topics will include 15% security topics.  This is excellent.  Showing that you have a background in some security knowledge will really add a lot of value to the CCNA certification.   A candidate with a strong understanding of networking along with security skills will make a good impact on potential employers.

The last part of the CCNA exam is automation and programmability.  This will make up the last 10% of the exam.


What do you have to do to get a certification and/or training badge?


This will, of course, change depending on the path you choose. For associate level exams (CCNA, DevNet Associate) , you will take a single exam.  For professional level exams (CCNP, DevNet Professional), you will take a core technology exam and you get to pick a concentration exam in the same technology track. At the expert level (CCIE), you will take a core exam and the corresponding lab exam. Specialist certifications will be awarded for passing any written, proctored exam, with the exception of associate level exams.


Completed: What you will receive:
Training Courses Training Badge
Pass the CCNA Exam CCNA Certification
Pass any written / proctored exam except CCNA Cisco Certified Specialist
Pass one CCNP Core exam and CCNP concentration exam in the same technology CCNP Certification
Pass one CCIE Core exam and the cooresponding lab exam in the same technology CCIE Certification
Pass one DevNet core exam and one DevNet concentration exam Cisco Certified DevNet Professional
Pass any DevNet written/proctored exam except DevNet Associate Cisco Certified Devnet Specialist
Pass the Cisco Certified DevNet Associate Exam Cisco Certified DevNet Associate


I am currently a CCENT or working on CCENT, what should I do?  I am working on my CCNA, what do I do?  I am part of the way through CCNP or just starting CCNP, what do I do?


This is your time to take advantage of the extended lead time Cisco has given you to finish your CCNA.  If you are just starting out, already half way there, or were thinking about getting your CCNA or CCNP, this is the time to dial in and finish that cert!  Cisco will grant you the new 2020 CCNA if you complete the current exam before the cutoff.  Cisco will grant you the CCNP Enterprise cert if you can get your Route/Switch/TShoot done.  You will also be eligible for the continuing education program.  We can’t stress enough how beneficial this is for current CCNA and even CCNP candidates.  You have 8 months from the time this article was written!  That is more than enough time to get to work and get it done!  If you can get it done, you will be among the first to hold the new certs and that will be more impressive than ever in the job market!  Mark our words now, Cisco certification will be hotter than ever come next year and with the realignment of the program, human resources representatives will be looking for Cisco certified techs more than ever.


What about building a lab?


This is where CertificationKits comes in more than ever before!  The best and fastest way to get your certification is to use live equipment!  Yes, there are virtualization options out there, but those will never give you the same understanding and capability as working with real equipment.  This has been proven time and time again in the industry.  Time is of the essence here and you need something that is going to work right the first time and will really get you ahead of the game in knowing the full spectrum!  Companies are still looking for techs that have worked on live equipment and one of their favorite interview questions is, “So…  what does your home lab look like?”  With the new paths being released, being a “paper-tiger” who has only used sims and never worked on real equipment just isn’t going to cut it.


My current certification is being removed from the new paths?  Does that no longer make it valid?


This is the exact response to this question from Cisco: “We’ve consolidated the CCNA program into one, comprehensive exam that covers entry level networking skills across technologies, such as basic IP fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, and basics of automation and network programmability, and security fundamental skills, because a breadth of skills is needed when first entering networking. We’ve refocused our CCNP and CCIE program to align with the five principal technologies, including Enterprise, Security, Service Provider, Collaboration and Data Center. Retired programs have been consolidated into these technology tracks.

For example, we’ve consolidated Wireless into the Enterprise track, as wireless skills are critical in any enterprise deployment. Where subject matter fit into more than one potential track, as was the case with Automation and Programming, the subject matter became a concentration exam in multiple CCNP technology tracks. Where this is the case, the same content will be leveraged across tracks. Your current certification is still valid and will be active until it’s expiration date.”


Now there is something additionally important to be said here.  Your current CCNA Security for example is still very useful.  Human resources representatives are still looking for that certification.  That certification still demonstrates that you know your stuff and have excellent skills!  Resume processing software is still combing through the stacks looking for these certifications and we guarantee that will be the case even beyond 2020.   We are also hearing that you will get a badge for this accomplishment and similar accomplishments.


I currently have a certification, what happens to it after the cutoff date?


  • CCNA, Specialist and CCNP: Your current certification is still valid and will be active until its expiration date. When the new program goes into effect February 24, 2020, your current certification will be transitioned to an equivalent in the new program.
  • For CCIE: If you are an active CCIE, your suspended year will be converted to an active year. For example, if your active CCIE would have been suspended beginning April 21, 2020, you will sustain active status until April 21, 2021.


CCNP, CCIE, and DevNet professional have a core exam and a concentration exam.  What are these?


The core exam covers the fundamental knowledge for a given technology to be proficient in it.  Upon completing your core exam, you will receive a specialist badge that will be active for 3 years.  You have until this expires to pass your concentration exam to receive the full certification.  The concentration exam takes this a step further by really getting deep into the technology that you selected your focus.

There are five streamlined options for CCNP and CCIE, then one option for DevNet:

  • CCNP Enterprise – This will be the equivalent of the current Route. Switch, TShoot Path
  • CCNP Security
  • CCNP Service Provider
  • CCNP Collaboration
  • CCNP Data Center
  • Cisco Certified DevNet Professional


What is changing about the format of the CCIE exams?


CCIE will still come out to a rigorous 8 hours of exam time.  The format is similar, but Cisco has made changes to perform an end-to-end, “assessment of candidates’ skills through the entire adoption lifecycle of designing, deploying, operating and optimizing complex network scenarios”.  Network automation and programmability will play a significant part in the new design.


The new breakdown is:

  • Module 1: Design (3 hours)
  • Module 2: Deploy, Operate and Optimize (5 hours)