In recent times, Cisco has undergone a significant transformation in its certification structure, particularly at the associate level. This overhaul has resulted in a more streamlined and efficient certification process. In this article, we will delve into the changes Cisco has made to its associate-level certifications, focusing on the CCNA, Cyber Ops Associate, and DevNet Associate certifications.

CCNA: The Redesigned Associate Certification

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification has undergone a notable redesign, shedding non-essential topics and honing in on the essentials for associate-level networking expertise. This revamp aims to make the certification more relevant and reflective of the industry's evolving demands.

Cyber Ops Associate: Fortifying Cybersecurity Skills

Cisco has also introduced the Cyber Ops Associate certification, catering to the ever-growing need for cybersecurity expertise. This certification stands as a vital pillar in Cisco's cybersecurity certification track. Excitingly, Cisco has plans to release a Cyber Ops Professional certification, providing an avenue for professionals to deepen their expertise in cybersecurity operations.

DevNet Associate: The Bridge to Network Programmability

One of the most intriguing additions to Cisco's associate-level certifications is the DevNet Associate. This certification delves into the world of network programmability, network automation, and virtualization. Often described as the "DevOps of Networking," it bridges the gap between traditional networking and modern software-driven practices.

Exam Topics and Key Areas of Focus

Let's take a closer look at the key exam topics for the DevNet Associate certification:

Software Development and Design (15%): This section covers data formats such as XML, JSON, and YAML, demonstrating how to relate them to Python data structures. It also explores development methodologies like Agile and Lean, code organization, and design patterns.

Understanding and Using APIs (20%): Here, candidates must understand REST APIs, HTTP response codes, and the basics of HTTP functioning. Knowledge of API authentication mechanisms, remote procedure calls, and constructing Python scripts for REST API calls using the requests library is crucial.

Cisco Platforms and Development (15%): This section focuses on Cisco's own Python SDKs, allowing communication with various Cisco devices and platforms, including network management, collaboration, security, and device-level APIs for routers and switches.

Model-Driven Programmability (10%): Candidates should grasp concepts like YANG, RESTCONF, and NETCONF, which are essential for programmability in a Cisco environment.

Application Deployment and Security (20%): This area covers a wide spectrum of topics, including edge computing, cloud computing, virtualization, Docker, encryption, security tools, and threat mitigation.

By mastering these areas, candidates can acquire a solid foundation in network programmability and automation, making them highly valuable in today's networking landscape.

Cisco's commitment to providing comprehensive resources through platforms like DevNet further reinforces the value of these certifications. The availability of free resources, sandbox environments, code exchange, and learning labs on DevNet empowers candidates to excel in their certification journey.

In conclusion, Cisco's recent changes in its associate-level certifications reflect the ever-evolving technology landscape. The revamped CCNA, introduction of the Cyber Ops Associate and DevNet Associate certifications, along with their comprehensive exam topics, ensure that certified professionals are well-prepared to meet the demands of modern networking and cybersecurity challenges.

Continuing our exploration of Cisco's revamped associate-level certifications, we now turn our attention to the final sections of the DevNet Associate certification exam topics. These sections, Infrastructure and Automation, as well as Network Fundamentals, play a crucial role in shaping a well-rounded networking professional.

Infrastructure and Automation: Embracing Efficiency

In this segment of the DevNet Associate certification, the focus shifts towards automation and tools that enhance network efficiency. Here are some notable areas of study:

Network Simulation Tools: Candidates will delve into tools like VIRL (Virtual Internet Routing Lab) and pyATS, which aid in simulating and testing network configurations without the need for physical hardware.

Automation Tools: The certification also covers automation tools like Ansible, Puppet, Chef, and Cisco NSO (Network Services Orchestrator). These tools empower network professionals to automate repetitive tasks and streamline network management.

Python Scripting with Cisco APIs: Understanding how to automate network workflows using Python scripts and Cisco APIs is a crucial skill. This includes working with Cisco platforms like ACI, Meraki, DNA Center, and RESTCONF.

Interpreting Unified Diff: This section teaches candidates how to interpret a unified diff, a file format used for representing changes to a text file. Understanding this format is essential when reviewing code changes in the collaborative development process.

Network Fundamentals: Building the Foundation

The final section of the DevNet Associate certification is dedicated to Network Fundamentals. While it represents only 15% of the certification exam, it lays the foundation for understanding networking concepts. Here are the key topics covered:

Basic Networking Components: Candidates must comprehend VLANs, MAC addresses, IP addresses, routing, subnet masks, and common networking components like switches and routers.

Management and Control Plane: Understanding the distinction between the management and control planes on a Cisco device is essential for efficient network management.

IP Services: Knowledge of basic IP services such as DHCP, NAT, and DNS is fundamental for network configuration and operation.

Protocol Port Values: Familiarity with common protocol port values, including SSH, Telnet, HTTP, and HTTPS, ensures effective communication and secure access to network devices.

Connectivity Issues: Candidates must troubleshoot connectivity issues that may arise when remotely managing or automating networks. This includes addressing challenges like network address translation, port blocking, proxies, and VPNs.

Network Constraints: Understanding the impact of network constraints on applications is crucial for ensuring smooth communication between devices and applications across the network.

In conclusion, Cisco's DevNet Associate certification provides a comprehensive and up-to-date curriculum that equips professionals with the skills needed to excel in the ever-evolving world of network programmability and automation. The certification covers a wide range of topics, from software development and API usage to infrastructure automation and network fundamentals. It serves as a testament to Cisco's commitment to fostering expertise in network automation and programmability, preparing individuals to meet the demands of the modern networking landscape.


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