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5 Reasons We’re Excited about DevNet

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Published on February 25, 2020

Cisco has done a lot to improve their cert lineup the past year. They pretty much overhauled their certification program to streamline and modernize their traditional certification path for aspiring network engineers.

However, there was still something missing from those offerings: a Cisco cert for developers. With programming skills becoming table stakes for many IT roles these days, there is a clear need to validate them.

That's where Ciso's new DevNet comes into play — we now have a development-focused certification path in addition to the traditional network-centric options. Here, we'll provide you with a crash course on what DevNet is, and then share five reasons we're excited about this certification.

DevNet in a Nutshell

Like with their network certs, Cisco is taking an associate to expert-level approach to DevNet. There will be associate, specialist, and professional-level certs available on launch. The expert-level cert won't be available immediately, but Cisco says there is one coming.

Similar to the new CCNA, the Cisco Certified DevNet Associate will be used as a foundational cert. It will validate general knowledge and foundational skills required in this area. Supported job roles (i.e. roles you could reasonably expect to land) at the associate level include: Junior Developer, Junior Site Reliability Engineer, Automation Engineer, and Junior DevOps Engineer.

From there you'll have options to specialize. Which brings us to the Cisco Certified DevNet Specialist. Here are the specialist offerings:

The Cisco Certified DevNet Professional is the most advanced certification tier offered on launch. This professional level cert will require you to take two exams: A core exam and concentration exam. The core exam requirement covers topics anyone in the industry, regardless of specialization, should know. The concentration hones in on your specialization, and cover the same domains as the specialist exams listed above.

No information is available yet about the expert level, but if we follow the similarity between the other offerings, it will likely resemble the new CCIE.

Five Reasons We're Excited About DevNet

With that crash course in DevNet out of the way, let's discuss why we're excited about this new certification path.

1. DevNet provides developers with a Cisco certification option

There is a large ecosystem of developers, and applications focused on upon Cisco platforms. This means there are plenty of developers working with Cisco solutions. However, prior to DevNet, there wasn't really a cert specifically for developers.

Traditionally, Cisco certification paths have been geared toward aspiring network engineers and sysadmins. While there may be some value in getting a CCNA as a developer, your time was usually better spent elsewhere. There is a lot of value developers can provide working with Cisco gear.

With DevNet, developers have a Cisco option for their certification. This is something people have wanted to see from Cisco for a long time. Not only does DevNet introduce a cert for current developers, it provides a path for aspiring developers as well.

Looking to learn a good starter language to begin your DevNet journey? We recommend Python. Additionally, Cisco calls out"one or more years of experience developing and maintaining applications built on top of Cisco platforms" as recommended experience for DevNet Associate.

2. DevNet emphasizes automation

With the increased productivity and shorter implementation windows that automation brings, it's easy to see the benefits. Infrastructure as code and APIs (application programming interfaces) enable developers to streamline operations and application delivery. Cisco DevNet certs that focus on automation demonstrate how much they're leaning in to these benefits.

Specific automation-centric DevNet certs include:

By automating testing, development, and implementation of services on Cisco Devices, you're reducing a lot of potential down time. More importantly, you're delivering a more refined and quality product to users in less time.

These certs will make it easier for employers to identify out automation specialists. Further, it'll help individuals with these skills better market themselves. With DevOps increasing in popularity, these specialists certs are a very exciting addition.

3. DevNet has a Webex specialization

With the increased usage of online meetings, it makes sense for Cisco to provide a Webex specialization for these offerings. According to TechValidate research, a Webex meeting could add more than 1 hour per week according to 54% of those surveyed — which adds up to a lot of time in the long run.

Yet, 86% of users agree that Webex meetings improved productivity and leads to shorter and more efficient meetings. Not to mention that 93%of people say that video meetings improve interactions and strengthen business relationships.

When you're on a conference call, it can be hard to see who is speaking at any given time or what every one might be thinking. Making it hard to feel out how the meeting is actually going. These are the type of things Webex helps fix.

With online meetings and video calls, you can see exactly who's speaking and make out facial responses to which leads to a more personal relationship and increase in productivity. Cisco offering a specialization in Webex shows that they recognize the importance in this area. Being able to validate skills in implementing these solutions is likely to continue to grow and will make these individuals more desirable in the near future.

4. DevNet offers a DevOps cert from a recognizable name

With DevOps increasing in popularity, it's good to have a DevOps-related cert from one of the heavy hitters in the industry like Cisco. DevOps practices are proven to work — and help developers decrease time to market and improve quality.

In addition to focusing on automation, DevOps practices encourages communication between development and operations teams. While this sounds pretty simple, actually executing is difficult. Being able to organize so many groups together can be a real task.

You'll need to be able to implement solutions that enable these groups to work together. You'll need to build up several skills for DevOps practices. Cisco is now offering a DevOps cert that will help you validate DevOps practices on Cisco platforms. With the surge in popularity, this will prove to be a useful path from the DevNet offerings.

Since DevOps Engineer was the most recruited job on LinkedIn according to this report, the value to cert takers is clear. By demonstrating skills in an in-demand field, DevNet cert holders can stand out from the crowd.

Looking for a crash course on DevOps? Check out Shawn Powers' Intro to DevOps training!

5. DevNet can help you learn more about IoT

In 2017, Gartner predicted a total of over 20 billion IoT devices by 2020 and this number is predicted to continue to increase in the upcoming years. If we take a look at data from Ericsson we'll see similar numbers with a prediction of 29 billion by 2022.

If you're interested in building secure and scalable networks in a nontraditional way, IoT may be for you. Similarly, if you find data visualization and Cisco networks intriguing, you may want to consider DevNet's IoT specialization.

Basically, anywhere a networked sensor can provide useful data, you can expect IoT to be used. Looking forward, as the adoption of WiFi 6 and 5G grow, we can expand use cases for IoT to grow in industrial settings as well.

As the numbers suggest, the importance of IoT is growing. Cisco recognizes this and the IoT specialization provides a way to validate related skills.

The 300-915 DEVIOT is the exam you'll need to pass to earn your DevNet Specialist – IoT certification. Passing DEVIOT (or any other specialist exam) and the core 350-901 DEVCOR exam will earn you your DevNet Professional Certification.

The recommended experience for the DEVIOT exam is 3 to 5 years designing and implementing apps built on Cisco platforms. The exam covers topics including open source IoT software, IoT data visualization, Cisco IOx (an application environment that is a combo of Linux and Cisco IOS), Cisco IoT edge computing, and Cisco EFM (Edge & Fog Processing Module).

With the IoT cert, you'll validate skills related to the growing IoT field. You'll show that you can build solutions that enable the integration of IoT with traditional software and network architectures. Given the broad applications of IoT, these skills can lead to a wide variety of opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Automation and IoT are likely to have a huge impact on the industry over the course of the 2020s. DevNet provides cert seekers a way to prepare for this shift. Opening up the world of Cisco certification to developers is exciting and has tons of potential. For employers, there is the benefit of a workforce capable of programmatically scaling and maintaining your Cisco infrastructure. For cert-holders, you sharpen in-demand development skills and earn a cert from a respected organization.


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