IT professionals have lengthy pursued certifications as a tangible technique to show experience in a sure area or area of interest. Within the networking world, particularly, Cisco certifications have arguably been essentially the most recognizable and coveted certs.
In 2020, Cisco revamped its certifications to align them with expertise and ideas which have moved into mainstream networking. The brand new DevNet certification monitor, for instance, highlights community automation, programmability and software program. For the reason that monitor launched in February, greater than 6,000 individuals have achieved DevNet certification, in accordance with Susie Wee, senior vice chairman and basic supervisor of Cisco DevNet and CX ecosystem success.
With such a lot of contributors, community professionals clearly deem DevNet ideas as a worthy endeavor, whilst conventional data of community design and protocols stays essential.
Why get a Cisco DevNet certification?
Charles Greenaway, buyer CTO at BT International, was within the first batch of 500 individuals to go for a Cisco DevNet certification, passing the Affiliate examination in March 2020. For Greenaway, the DevNet certification enabled him and his telecom firm to remain aggressive by utilizing smarter automation processes.
Whereas primary networking rules stay the identical, the tactic of implementation has shifted towards API-driven networks, Greenaway mentioned. By higher understanding easy methods to work together with these APIs, he mentioned he can assess clients’ deployments extra shortly, in search of configuration errors and monitoring state at a deeper stage.
The power to automate configuration duties, use telemetry for richer insights into community environments and handle networks at scale have been widespread advantages amongst different community professionals who sought DevNet certifications.
Ivan Krimmel, community engineer at Selution AG, an info and communications expertise agency primarily based in Switzerland, handed the DevNet Affiliate examination the day the monitor launched in February. He then accomplished the Information Middle Automation, Enterprise Automation and Core exams within the following months. Krimmel has used his new abilities to diversify his networking data and dig deeper into telemetry, utilizing automation to customise community necessities for patrons.
For Craig Cartlidge, community marketing consultant at a UK.-based community companies consultancy, DevNet coated partaking ideas that may create enterprise value and allow him to concentrate on extra essential elements of community engineering, like delivering new companies into the infrastructure. As he grew extra aware of automation, he acknowledged its advantages for steady integration/steady supply (CI/CD) and steady deployment in community validation and testing. Ideally, he mentioned, community infrastructure will evolve and reside in a CI/CD pipeline to create a steady lifecycle, lowering downtime and opening alternatives for community professionals to work on different duties.
The value of automation to unencumber time for innovation was additionally a compelling profit for Jose Bogarín, CIO at Altus Consulting. Bogarín handed 5 DevNet exams in March and May 2020 — Affiliate, Enterprise Automation, Collaboration Automation, Webex and Core — and is at present finding out for 3 extra DevNet specializations by the top of the 12 months. With automation abilities, community engineers have an additional software to simplify their day by day actions, spending extra time on the duties they take pleasure in, he mentioned.
Software program improvement: From impediment to asset
As networking evolves, so too do community roles and interactions with developer groups. Whereas Wee careworn that community architects need not turn into coders, she mentioned they have to be capable to talk with coders in a language that includes developer ideas, resembling Ansible, CI/CD, DevOps and GitHub. As soon as these ideas turn into a part of their vocabulary, community professionals can higher architect and resolve issues for mission-critical conditions, she added.
Greenaway agreed, sustaining that community professionals ought to know easy methods to code primary runbook automation. Whereas high-level languages, like Python or C+, aren’t at all times vital, it is useful for community of us to grasp Ansible, RESTCONF, NETCONF or Terraform, he mentioned.
However this transition requires a purposeful shift in mindset, tradition and even profession objectives. For years, the Cisco Licensed Internetwork Professional (CCIE) certification has been essentially the most prestigious achievement in networking, mentioned Raheel Maqsood, programs engineer of BT Channel Gross sales at Cisco, who handed the DevNet Affiliate examination within the fall and is now making ready for the DevNet Specialization in DevOps. Community professionals may change their priorities as they take into account DevNet certification to bridge the hole between networking and software program improvement, he mentioned.
Krimmel had related sentiments, suggesting that networking newcomers ought to pursue the DevNet Affiliate examination proper after the Cisco Licensed Community Affiliate examination. Whereas a few of the extra superior abilities in CCIE or Cisco Licensed Community Skilled exams may not switch to each networking job, automation is helpful for nearly any community atmosphere, he mentioned.
Cartlidge is one community professional who noticed his anticipated trajectory towards a CCIE certification shift to concentrate on automation and programming. He had gone into networking particularly to keep away from software program engineering however realized he wanted to put money into these abilities as networking advanced. Though his first encounter with Python made him marvel if he’d ever perceive it, he mentioned he determined to embrace the problem somewhat than run away from it. In May 2020, he handed the Affiliate examination.
“The most important excessive level is when all of it clicks, when you may interact with somebody who’s not even from networking — like a software program developer — and speak with him. Earlier than that, data was siloed,” Cartlidge mentioned.
Every community professional emphasised how studying DevNet ideas gave them the power and confidence to work with developer groups. But it surely additionally proved to be one of many greatest challenges to beat. Bogarín acknowledged the transition can appear intimidating as a result of networking individuals sometimes do not love to do software program improvement, and Krimmel mentioned he generally discovered the method of studying software program ideas miserable and mentally taxing.
However each Bogarín and Krimmel mentioned studying software program improvement enabled them to turn into a bridge between networking and developer groups.
“Now, at my clients, I can converse to DevOps of us and server groups as a result of I realized this interface of how they work together with their instruments,” Krimmel mentioned.
Cisco DevNet certification recommendation for finding out
To achieve the DevNet journey, community professionals mentioned assist from the DevNet group, time funding and hands-on expertise have been essential.
Nick Russo, technical chief at Cisco, handed 5 Cisco DevNet exams in 2020, sharing his expertise in his weblog and visitor posts. When writing in regards to the DevNet Skilled Core (DEVCOR) examination, Russo was clear in regards to the significance of getting the correct quantity of expertise.
“The DEVCOR examination was no joke. … I recommend you are taking the ‘three years expertise’ requirement critically. I’ve a Pc Science diploma together with about three years of full-time community automation expertise. I additionally train these subjects professionally, but I nonetheless discovered the examination difficult,” Russo wrote in a visitor put up on Daniels Networking Weblog.
So, how can DevNet hopefuls put together for the exams and develop the mandatory abilities? For Greenaway, Bogarín and Maqsood, making use of the ideas they have been studying to real-world issues that emerged of their day by day jobs was a beneficial studying methodology. The DevNet monitor does a greater job of addressing how expertise can resolve issues, Bogarín mentioned, particularly in contrast with different Cisco exams that check about particular product variations somewhat than the speculation behind them.
Compiling DevNet research materials was the toughest a part of the examination course of among the many community professionals. Whereas quite a few supplies can be found now, discovering legit assets can nonetheless be tedious. In the end, every community professional suggested individuals to make use of the free coaching materials out there from Cisco and the DevNet group. Cisco, for instance, supplies a DevNet sandbox the place customers can work with nearly any Cisco expertise and apply what they’re studying.
“Immerse your self within the ecosystem,” Cartlidge mentioned. “If it is a completely new world, you have to embrace the group. Go onto boards; soar on the Discord teams and Slack channels. Observe all of the content material creators on LinkedIn and YouTube, and immerse your self in it, and reside it.”
As extra individuals resolve to pursue DevNet certifications, Wee has seen how mindsets change when individuals begin making use of the abilities they be taught. Whereas she used to assume the value of DevNet was educating individuals the ability units and letting them use APIs, she mentioned she progressively realized that was solely a bit of it.
“The principle factor is that they then begin innovating and considering in another way,” Wee mentioned. “They begin working collectively and bringing others alongside.”