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Cisco announces CCNA update for routing and switching

Cisco announces a CCNA update for routing and switching designed to embrace virtualization and SDN in training and testing.

Cisco is tweaking its flagship Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing and Switching certification, placing...

more emphasis on software-defined networking, network-based analytics and network functions virtualization.

The CCNA update reflects the evolution of networking and the changing role of the network administrator, said Tejas Vashi, senior director of product strategy and marketing at Cisco.

"Our CCNA route and switch is undergoing a major update and refresh to stay aligned with a workforce evolution in terms of a job role," he said.

Administrators are moving away from device-centric networks to ones driven by software and automation, he said. To that end, the CCNA update focuses on six primary areas: programmable network architectures, virtualized network functions (NFV), policy-based network management and Quality of Service, network-leveraged analytics, enterprise VPN technology for intelligent WAN, IPv6 and routing for the Internet of Things.

New administrators will need new skills

With Cisco projecting that the industry will add 96,000 networking jobs in the next four years, ensuring that future administrators understand a new landscape grounded by programmable networks and cloud-based computing is crucial.

"[We've] added a lot of content into the assessment and into the training, focused on virtualization ... the cloud model needs to be seamless in the deployment," said Antonella Corno, Cisco's senior manager of marketing. "These [changes] aren't just bolted on; these are topics that are integrated into actual learning and into how the exam has been updated."

Cisco said the new Routing and Switching test is effective immediately, but that it won't be mandatory until August, allowing existing students to complete the current certification. The CCNA update is available through a number of sources, including the Cisco Networking Academy.

Cisco streamlined the CCNA three years ago, reducing the amount of core routing and switching expertise an administrator needed to obtain a CCNA Voice, CCNA Security and CCNA Wireless accreditation.

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