Today, Cisco announced some changes regarding their CCNA certification program. One of the changes resulted in some shuffling of items back and forth between ICND1 and ICND2. Other blueprint related changes resulted in the omission of previously test topics like RIPv2 and Wireless. There have been some additions to the blueprint as well. The most notable addition from my perspective is the inclusion of first hop redundancy protocols in ICND2. So why so much shuffling of information? I actually think I understand why.
If you’re looking at the certifications and back out a level, you should see all of Cisco’s Associate level certifications. By drilling into them individually you’ll see a new trend. Where most of the certifications had a CCNA prerequisite, this has been removed and replaced with CCENT. With only a few exceptions, the more specialized certifications use to require a CCNA certification. For example to become a CCNA Security, he candidate first had to become a CCNA. Additionally what was once the CCNA certification, is now clearly called “CCNA Routing and Switching”. The CCENT is an agnostic certification that fulfills the the prerequisite requirement for CCNA Security, CCNA Service Provider Ops, CCNA Voice, and CCNA Wireless.
So the probable logic is that items that need to be known before proceeding into any of those more focused areas, should be included in the CCENT (ICND1 Exam). This repositions CCNA Routing and Switching as a parallel discipline to the other associate level certifications.
This brings me back around to one more point that I think demonstrates their horizontal alignment of the certifications. That point is the new name of the associate level R&S program. Today Cisco is pretty clearly calling this certification the CCNA Routing and Switching. In the past, I have seen it called that in various contexts. However, I believe that is the official name now. This allows CCNA Routing and Switching to sit on top of a CCENT prerequisite in a relationship similar to the other certifications.
It is worth noting that the Composite exam still exists and allows candidates to become a CCNA in one exam. In that case, CCNA fills the prerequisite for any of the other areas as well.
I guess I’ve always been the kind of person that believes it makes sense to climb the R&S ladder prior to focusing on a specialty. However, I know there are many who more quickly jump into their area of preference. I sort of broke my own rule by obtaining my CCIE in Security prior to attempting an R&S lab. In any case, I think this is an interesting move that facilitates clearer understanding of the certifications themselves. I’m curious to what candidates and others think about the changes to these programs.