Cisco updates DevNet certification to include software developers

Cisco's Susie Wee explains her company's new DevNet Automation Exchange program at Cisco Live. (FierceTelecom)(Mike Robuck/FierceTelecom)

SAN DIEGO, California — Cisco Live — Cisco has updated its DevNet certification program to bring software developers and IT professionals under one roof.

By putting software developers and IT professionals in one community, Cisco is looking to enable new best practices while pioneering new automation processes. At Cisco Live, Cisco is also opening the doors on a new community-based developer center to accelerate adoption and success with network automation.

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With intent-based networking, virtualization and software-defined networking, IT professionals need to move beyond manual, time intensive tasks and into the world where application and cloud developers work together.

On that note, Cisco's new community-based developer center, which is called Cisco DevNet Automation Exchange, hosts shared code repositories of use cases for network automation. And Cisco’s community of developers, networking professionals, partners and customers can actively contribute software to increase the repository for network automation code.

Cisco's Susie Wee, senior vice president, general manager of Cisco DevNet, said during Cisco Live that the company is bringing software practices to automation with the automation exchange and new certifications.

Wee said the exchange's repository has been seeded with more than 50 code use cases from Cisco's engineers, customers and partners. When asked what he was most excited about at the end of Wee's presentation, Verizon's Joe Crawford, executive director, advanced technology group, cited the repositories in the exchange because they can speed up the rate of development for Verizon and its customers.

"Whether that's creating a POC in a lab, or creating a demonstration in a lab, I'm just thinking how much faster we'll be able to do that with the code repository as opposed to doing that on our own," Crawford said.

The exchange guides developer teams through their network automation and intent-based networking journeys with a "walk-run-fly" concept:

• "Walk" includes visibility and insights in the developers' networks. This enables use cases such as gathering telemetry and insights from running networks, and performing auditing to ensure ongoing security of the network.

• "Run" activates policy and intent across different network domains, which enables use cases such as providing self-service network operations that comply with security policies and operational guidelines.

• In the last step, "fly" proactively manages applications, users, and devices with DevOps workflows. The uses cases include deploying applications in continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines while configuring the network in line with new application policies. 

New certification program

Over a 25-year span, about 1.7 million network professionals have obtained Cisco certifications to build up their skill sets to further their careers. Cisco announced on Monday that it's evolving the certification and training program, with a focus on educating network engineers and now software developers on today's networks.

The new Cisco Certifications include:

• DevNet Certifications to validate software professionals with DevNet Associate, DevNet Specialist, and DevNet Professional certifications. (An "expert" level of certification is also in the works, according to Wee.) DevNet certifications are intended for software developers and network engineers that need software proficiency to develop applications and automated workflows for operational networks and infrastructure.

• Streamlined Cisco Certifications to validate engineering professionals with Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Specialist certifications as well as Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) and Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certifications in enterprise, data center, service provider, security, and collaboration.

• Expansion of Cisco Networking Academy to train new network professionals and software developers. The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification is for entering network professionals and the DevNet Associate certification is for entering software developers. Graduates of those programs will be able to earn CCNA and DevNet Associate certifications to prepare them for jobs in the Cisco ecosystem.

"We have not really evolved our certifications in a big way in 26 years until today," Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said during his Monday morning keynote address. "So for all of you who have been wanting to bridge across programmability, software development and infrastructure, the Cisco certifications are here today

Robbins said that Cisco also recently committed to educating more than 10 million students over the next five years through its Cisco Networking Academy.