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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Certification Roadmaps: A Holistic View to Plan Your Certification Journey


When you’re planning a trip, preparation is the key. The same goes for your Cisco certification journey; you want information that can help you plan—a certification roadmap. You want to know what to study and when you’ll be taking the exam. You also want to know what updates the exam will have and whether those updates are aligned with the latest technology.

It would be great to have a recurring timetable that offers you a holistic view of every certification, the updates for those certifications, and an update and exam schedule that’s based on a regular cadence, right? Now, Cisco Certification Roadmaps offer you that helpful planning tool.

Cisco Certification Roadmaps offer a holistic framework that gives you the updated blueprint and exam information across all Cisco certifications. The certification roadmaps are a great way for you to plan your certification journey—and for Cisco to ensure our updated material is relevant and aligns with technology shifts and industry movements.

By referring to the certification roadmaps, you’ll experience greater clarity and transparency. You’ll receive timely information to help you align your study plan with a timeline that reflects regular exam schedules and updates. And you’ll still receive all the information and content you need to pass. You’ll have access to training, learning, and materials (such as release notes and learning matrices for minor and major revisions) to help you prep for your certification exams.

Annual update schedule

Each technology vertical (for instance, Enterprise, Security, Data Center, Collaboration, Service Provider, CCDE, and DevNet) and all related exams will undergo a yearly review at the same time each year. Then every technology track will be updated on a yearly basis at the same time of year.

Here’s how the annual update schedule works:

  1. Cisco reviews each technology on the same quarterly schedule each year to make sure exams align with the latest Cisco technologies.
  2. We announce blueprint changes 3-6 months in advance along with revised exam topics and release notes.
  3. We publish the updated exam 3-6 months after the exam blueprint publication.

And we do this on a regular cadence so you know when updates will happen with each technology.

Color-coded cadence

Notice the color coding for the words, review, announce, and publish in the previous list. Then compare those with the colors for each technology in the following graphic to get an idea of how these colors correspond to the cycle in the upcoming schedule.

You’ll notice that the Aug–Oct 2022 timeframe (which of course has passed) shows Data Center and Collaboration as orange, which corresponds with the review action in number 1. This means we have already reviewed Data Center and Collaboration. When you see the words Data Center and Collaboration again in the Nov–Jan 2023 timeframe (below the line), they are blue, which means we’ll announce blueprint changes for Data Center and Collaboration sometime between November and January 2023, and publish (green) the updated exam between February and April 2023 (above the line). The cadence follows this iteration yearly. So you can keep track of updates and plan your certification accordingly.

Cisco Certification roadmaps example timeline

Advanced notice of blueprint revisions

The beauty of a cadence-based review and update process is that you can stay ahead of the game and know when and what to study.

We’ll give you a 3-month advanced notice for minor revisions and a 6-month advanced notice for major revisions on Associate, Professional and Specialist certifications from the time we publish the revised blueprint on the Cisco Learning Network and Cisco website. As for Expert-level certifications, you’ll get a 6-month advanced notice for minor and major revisions.

The only difference in this schedule is for CCIE lab exams. All Expert-level certifications will align with the associated technology track cycle, but changes to Expert-level certifications might not occur annually, due to their complexity and longer time period requirements (such as upgrades for hardware and software).

Minor vs. major revisions

Certification Roadmaps make the process easy to follow by clearly distinguishing between minor and major revisions. We’ve labeled certification blueprints with version number X.Y, where X represents the major revision, and Y represents the minor revision. Minor revisions are called “dot releases.” For example, 2.1 or 2.2 (dot release) refers to a minor blueprint revision with less than 20% changed, whereas 3.0 refers to a major blueprint revision with more than 20% changed.

You’ll not only know what has changed, but how much. We plan to review each certification exam blueprint at the scheduled cadence and make smaller incremental changes (less than 20%), such as minor blueprint revisions, if we need to. In cases in which a blueprint has no needed changes, our annual review cycle will determine whether the exam requires changes.

What do you think about the new certification roadmaps? Join the discussion on the Cisco Learning Network Community form.

Stay up to date on Cisco Certification exam revisions.

 


 

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