Everything changes, and so too must IT certifications. In a static technological world, you could expect certifications to be valid for life. But that’s not the case. Certs change because vendors update their products, job roles change, and companies need assurances IT pros are capable with new technologies.
In 2018, we saw a lot of certification shuffling. In some cases, entire certification paths changed. In others, it was the predictable and expected exam retirement.
With all this in mind, let’s look at five noteworthy cert retirements that occurred this year.
1. Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions − 70-535 — Retiring December 31, 2018
As cloud computing becomes a mainstay of corporate IT, related technical and management job roles have changed. Microsoft is moving to role-based certifications for Azure, including the expert level Azure Solution Architect.
As a result, they are retiring the exam Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions – 70-535 and replacing it with two role-based exams (AZ-300 and AZ-301). If you’ve already passed the 70-535 exam, Microsoft provides you with a path to the new Azure Architect certification — via the AZ-302 transition exam.
2. Cisco Cybersecurity Specialist − 600-199 SCYBER — Retired July 27, 2018
The Cisco certification tiers are so well-known that they’re used as shorthand — Associate (CCNA), Professional (CCNP), and Expert (CCIE). Outside of this framework, though, they also have one-off specialist certifications.
One of these specialized certs was the Cybersecurity Specialist – 600-199 SCYBER. Cisco retired that cert in July, replacing it with the CCNA Cyber Ops certification. At the time of this writing, there are no CCNP- and CCIE-level Cyber Ops certs. But it’s probably only a matter of time before they arrive. That’s good news for those who want to build an upward path, something the terminal Cybersecurity Specialist cert can’t promise.
If you passed the 600-199 SCYBER exam and are a certified Cisco Cybersecurity Specialist, then you will retain that until your cert’s unique expiration date. During that time, Cisco is encouraging you to earn the CCNA Cyber Ops and says that you will be given (not yet unspecified) credit toward that end.
3. CompTIA Security+ − SY0-401 — Retired July 31, 2018
Vendor-neutral CompTIA has made changes to several of its certifications, the first being CompTIA Security+. Reflecting the ever-changing nature of cybersecurity, the SY0-401 exam was retired and replaced by the new SY0-501. Our recent blog post, CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 is Coming, talks about this exam and options for people who were already on the SY0-401 track.
If you were CompTIA Security+ certified prior to December 31, 2010, then you’re certified for life. If you certified after that, then you’ll have been on a continuing education (CE) track to maintain your certification. Your current Security+ cert will be valid for three years from the day you passed the SY0-401 exam. After this, you’ll be required to recertify with SY0-501 (or maybe even its successor).
4. CompTIA Network+ − N10-006 — Retired August 31, 2018
CompTIA also revised their Network+ certification to reflect changing industry dynamics, including cybersecurity, cloud computing, and network resilience. In March 2018, the new Network+ N10-007 exam was introduced to replace the earlier N10-006 iteration.
We discussed the implications of the Network+ change, as well as the changes to CompTIA A+ and Security+, in our blog post, Your CompTIA Cert Retired: Now What?
As with Security+, you are lifetime-certified if you received your Network+ badge on or before December 31, 2010. After that, you’ll have three years before you need to recertify with the new exam.
5. CCA for Citrix XenServer 6.0 Administration − 1Y0-A26 — Retired November 12, 2018
Like several other vendors, Citrix is changing its certification programs to become more “solution focused.” Who doesn’t like more real-world application? They recently retired their Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA) cert for Citrix XenServer 6.0 and discontinued the associated 1Y0-A26 exam.
It’s not clear whether Citrix has a successor certification planned, yet. Their website mentions Citrix XenServer Certified as their recommended new certification. But outside of that, they haven’t released any other details about this certification.
Don’t be worried if you already earned CCA certification for XenServer 6.0. It will remain valid until Citrix sets an expiration date.
If you already have a cert or are on your way to getting certified, it’s always possible that something will change. If it does, your first stop should be the certification vendor’s website to find out what’s what.
Will your certification still be valid and for how long? Can you continue to study for the current exam? Is a new certification exam available? Does it make sense to switch your study track to that one? And of course, once all this is answered, you’ll need to find the training for the certs you need.