Cisco targets digital business transformation with new certifications

Cisco has rolled out new certifications and training for networking professionals looking to bolster their digital networking skillsets.

“The workforce is changing and needs to evolve to handle a more software-centric, automated digital ecosystem,” Tejas Vashi, senior director, product strategy and marketing for Learning@Cisco.

Vashi said the digital network requires new skills and network engineers need to adapt to rapidly evolving technologies in analytics, software-defined networking, mobility, security and virtualization and cloud services. Traditional hardware-centric, manually configured networking models will be unable to scale and keep pace of digital businesses.

With that view as a backdrop Cisco announced two new certifications and one training program aimed squarely at the digital arena. The new programs include:

Network Engineers

The Cisco NPDESI Specialist Certification is for those who hold an active CCNP or CCDP certification and want to learn crucial network programmability skills.It provides network engineers with a comprehensive soup-to-nuts curriculum to develop and validate automation and programming skills and directly addresses the evolving role of network engineers towards more programmability, automation and orchestration. Training for the exam is offered both as an instructor-led training workshop via Cisco Learning Partners, and as self-paced interactive training replete with videos, integrated labs and assessments.

Cisco said it was also starting Programming for Network Engineers (PRNE), a new self-paced training designed to be of immediate value to network engineers looking to use network programming to simplify or automate tasks. PRNE is a recommended pre-requisite for the Cisco NPDESI Certification. It covers the fundamentals of Python programming, within the context of performing functions relevant to network engineers.

Application Developers

Cisco said it is revising its NPDEV Specialist certification to provide application developers with comprehensive curriculum to develop infrastructure programming skills. It includes instruction on data handling and formats, fundamentals of networking and network programmability, APIs and automation protocols, data models, operations, and controller platforms and protocols. When you pass the NPDEV or NPDESI exam, you recertify any existing CCNA or CCNP certifications.

Training for the NPDEV certification is being offered both as an instructor-led training workshop via Cisco Learning Partners, and as a self-paced interactive training that includes videos, integrated labs and assessments.

Cisco DNA

The new DNA Implementation Essentials (DNAIE) course supports networking professionals who are implementing Cisco Digital Network Architecture now. DNA offers integrated networking software—virtualization, automation, analytics, cloud service management and security under a single suite.

Cisco said professionals taking the five-day DNAIE training – available as an instructor-led training workshop via Cisco Learning Partners and as a self-paced interactive training that includes videos, integrated labs and assessments – will learn general concepts including the role of orchestration and automation enabled by controllers in DNA, integration with other technologies and security implementation.

Cisco dovetailed its recent DNA announcement with the release of a study that looked at the issues surrounding digital-ready networks. Conducted by IDC and commissioned by Cisco, the research surveyed 2,054 global organizations across 10 countries to determine the digital readiness of their networks. A couple findings from the study included:

  • Organizations clearly recognize the need to evolve their networks: Over the next two years, 45% of organizations expect to achieve digital-ready network capabilities. That represents three times the current adoption rates.
  • Modern networks are delivering real, tangible benefits: Companies that have invested in modern network capabilities are experiencing two to three times the rate of growth in revenue, customer retention and profit. They have also deployed twice as many digital transformation initiatives compared to companies with legacy networks.

“Outdated infrastructure characteristics such as manual configuration and management processes, overlay security geared mainly toward external threats, and siloed network domains hinder the network’s ability to further the goals of digital business. A network that is truly digital ready is a network that can dynamically align with the ever-changing needs of the enterprise. That means a network that allows more agility and faster time to innovation, better security, and greater operational efficiency and simplicity,” IDC wrote.