By now I'm sure you've heard of the sweeping changes Cisco is making to their certification tracks, which was announced at Cisco Live on Monday June 10, 2019. I covered the CCNA exam changes in a previous post, so here I'll specifically address updates to the CCNP track.
First, if you've already started working toward any current CCNP certification - keep going! You have until February 24, 2020 to complete your certification, and in the new program, you'll receive credit for work you've already completed.
Let's begin by looking at the current list of CCNP certifications, set to expire next February:
Now, here are the new CCNP certifications that will be rolling out:
You may notice the absence of CCNP Routing and Switching, CCNP Wireless, and CCDP. These will all be retired, and will instead offer multiple paths to achieving the new CCNP Enterprise certification, along with new Specialist Certifications based on which of the three tracks you choose to go down. To further clarify this, Cisco has provided a migration tool for their professional exam tracks, which you can access here: CCNP Migration Tool.
The important thing to make clear is that if you pass the full exam path for any CCNP track before the February deadline, you will be granted the equivalent certification under the new program. For example, if you pass the current CCNP SWITCH, CCNP ROUTE, and CCNP TSHOOT before February 24, you will receive the new CCNP Enterprise certification, plus the appropriate Specialist certifications (see the migration tool for more info on those) as outlined by Cisco.
Now, if you are starting fresh under the new CCNP program, each CCNP certification requires only two exams: one core exam and one concentration exam of your choice. To see what this looks like for your particular concentration, visit Cisco's Professional Level certification page here: Cisco Professional Certification Updates.
One last interesting thing of note is that the core exams in each technology track also serve as qualifying exams for CCIE lab exams. This means there will be no more written CCIE exams necessary before the lab attempt. So for example, let's say you have a current CCNP in Routing and Switching. After the February deadline, you will be granted the CCNP Enterprise certification, along with the CCNP Certified Specialist - Enterprise Core certification. The CCNP Certified Specialist - Enterprise Core (300-401) is a prerequisite for the new CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure, in place of a written lab exam. For more about the expert level certification updates, check here: Cisco Expert Certification Updates.
It's a lot to get your head around, but all of these changes look like a step in the right direction. Cisco's goal was to streamline the certification process and make things more accessible with less tests necessary for completing specific concentrations, and it certainly seems like they've done that. Stay tuned for more about this big announcement.