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Cisco this week revamped its flagship CCNP certification requirements and
added a new certification option aimed specifically at network service provider
operations.

The changes reflect Cisco’s desire to map certification and training skills
more directly to proving capability in a given individual’s job role rather
than simply exercising technical acumen in specific products, according to
Cisco.

“We did rigorous, externally focused job-task analysis in coming up with the
new guidelines and exams,” said Christine Yoshida, manager of learning and
development for Learning at Cisco. “We met with partners in detail to
understand their roles as network engineers.”

The result? The deep dive into job roles has enabled Cisco to devise a new certification
testing methodology that validates expertise on specific job tasks and
scenarios its partners face every day.

“We’ve evolved from simply a multiple choice test,” Yoshida said.

The revised CCNP certification track is designed for network engineers with at
least one year of professional experience who are looking to elevate their
skills to more complex networking solutions. The new coursework features
hands-on labs, e-learning lessons— meant, Yoshida said, to ease the travel
burden and out-of-office cost associated with classroom coursework—and a series
of self-paced demos. There are three new courses being introduced that relate
to network engineers implementing and maintaining routing and switching
networks.

Passing three 120-minute exams, which will be held in April and May, is
required to achieve the new CCNP certification.

Meanwhile, Cisco has introduced a new certification track for network service
providers specific to managing and maintaining a network operating center—either
on-premises or in a managed services environment, Yoshida said.

“Our older programs were not focused on network operations engineers, but on
those people that set up the network initially,” she added. “This new track is
really called out for the network operations folks.”

Yoshida said that final details of this track, including coursework
requirements and exams, are not yet in place, but that partners can qualify
individually or as an organization for this certification when it’s live.