There’s a great article over on TechTarget on an interesting change to the CCNA specialist certification program. Net-net, Cisco is eliminating the CCNA prerequisite requirement from CCNA Voice, CCNA Security and CCNA Wireless. Certifications for these specializations will now require two tests instead of three.
My first reaction might be typical of anyone who came up the hard way, and I considered that the loss of a fundamental network touchstone a lousy idea. CCNAs are comrades, and it’s especially meaningful for non-network admins like application specialists wanting to get to know networking for real, or as the first step and encouragement on the road to CCIE. After reflection however, in a time of growing specialization it actually encourages more opportunity for specialists we’ve come to rely on.
First of all, it doesn’t eliminate the CCNA, but instead replaces it with a specialist version. Certification will still require demonstrated routing and switching knowledge, but focused on those aspects which apply. My assumption is they’ll actually see more questions on those particular areas of networking than in the CCNA. You’re not going to have to explain ARP tables to your WiFi tamer.
I’ve never had a specialist directly say they were being held back by the CCNA, but I have known some outstanding home-grown voice and wireless wizards who should have their CCNA Voice or CCNA Wireless, but don’t because they don’t have time to study for them. This is especially good if you’re a VoIP, Security or WLAN admin because you’ll be able to be recognized more quickly for your expertise on those systems. And, haven’t we all needed to be able to find someone to come untangle Call Manager while we worry about the core?