Cert News

A Year in Review: Cert Changes

by David Zomaya
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Published on December 10, 2019

It has been an eventful year for IT certifications. Many well-known certs saw their retirements announced and new exciting programs were unveiled. Some of the most popular certs undergoing major changes or discontinuation include the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician and their Certified Networking Associate among others from the networking behemoth. Also, Microsoft is following suit with alterations to their Certified Solutions packages at Associate and Expert levels. For some of these certs, they're not gone, yet, and there's still time to cram.

However, if you're just beginning the process, you may need to know what alternatives or replacements are available. Here, we'll take a look at IT certifications that were retired in 2019 or will be retired soon so you can navigate your cert future.

Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT)

Last date to test: February 23, 2020

The Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician or CCENT certification was a very popular certification that Cisco offered. It was an entry-level cert that demonstrated skills for entry-level networking, operating and support.

If you were looking for a good starting point, this was it. It not only made you more marketable, it started you on a path to a CCNA if you decided to continue. This cert will be retired on February 23, 2020.

Looking to earn CCENT before it goes away? Check out How to Study for the CCENT ICND1 in 10 Weeks to beat the February deadline.

Although CCENT is retiring, that doesn't mean the entry point is gone. Starting under the new cert paths Cisco has put together, the new CCNA now becomes the entry point down this track. Speaking of the CCNA…

Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA)

Changes coming: February 24, 2020

Cisco announced changes to their entire certification program earlier this year. While the changes don't go into effect until February, it could alter your plans significantly. The Cisco Certified Networking Associate, or CCNA, is seeing some major changes. This cert isn't just retiring one path, it's retiring them all.

Here's a list of the associate level certs being retired by February 24, 2020:

  • CCNA Cloud

  • CCNA Collaboration

  • CCNA Data Center

  • CCNA Industrial

  • CCNA Routing and Switching

  • CCNA Security

  • CCNA Service Provider

  • CCNA Wireless

  • CCDA (Cisco Certified Design Associate)

One thing to keep in mind is that these certs will migrate to the new program. If you're working on a CCNA before Feb. 24, 2020, make sure to finish it before then. Alternatively, check out our New CCNA: What to Expect from 200-301 post to see if studying for the new CCNA is right for you.

Under the old program, you could get your CCENT then use that for credit as one of the CCNA exams. Under this new program, you will only be required to take one exam, the 200-301 CCNA exam.

The new program will just be a CCNA, no CCENT options. It will cover the foundation of Cisco-related solutions while preparing you for a CCNP.

Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP)

Changes coming: February 24, 2020

The Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP), is also seeing some changes. They aren't quite as extreme as the CCNA, but the CCNP does have some noticeable changes. For one, they are retiring three of their CCNP cert paths.

  • CCNP Routing and Switching

  • CCNP Wireless

  • CCDP (Cisco Certified Design Professional)

It is true that these three certs are retiring and won't be available after February 24, 2020. That doesn't mean they aren't worth pursuing if you're currently working on any of them. Those who already have this cert today will migrate to the new program CCNP under the CCNP Enterprise certification.

That also means if you complete your CCNP Routing and Switching, CCNP Wireless, or CCDP before the cutoff you'll still migrate to the new CCNP Enterprise.

If you're interested in how the new CCNP program works, read this New CCNP: How to Prepare in 2019 post.

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)

Changes coming: February 24, 2020

Finally, rounding off the changes to Cisco certs is the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). At the expert level, we're losing two certs:

  • CCIE Routing & Switching

  • CCIE Wireless

Just like the other Cisco certs, these changes don't happen until February 24, 2020. That means if you're completing this path now, keep going. The retired certs will migrate to the new program. The CCIE Routing and Switching will migrate to CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure, and the CCIE Wireless will go to CCIE Enterprise Wireless.

If you currently have one of these CCIE or get one before the cutoff, you will migrate to the new program while still displaying the old cert for going through that trouble.

To see what's new with the CCIE, take a look at our New CCIE: A Look at the New Exams, Labs post.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

Microsoft retired many certs in preparation for their new role-based certification program. Some have already retired and others are due to retire later this month. Here is a list of Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certs that have/are expiring:

  • MCSA: Office 365 – April 30, 2019

  • MCSA: Windows 10 – April 30, 2019

  • MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365 – June 30, 2019

  • MCSA: Machine Learning – June 30, 2019

  • MCSA: Data Engineering With Azure – June 30, 2019

  • MCSA: Dynamics 365 for Operations – December 31, 2019

  • MCSA: CRM Dynamics Technical – December 31, 2019

At the time of writing, the only MCSA certs due to retire that you can still go for are the MCSA: Dynamics 365 for Operations and MCSA: CRM Dynamics Technical. However, if you earn the MCSA before the retirement date, you'll still display the cert even after it has been retired.

These certs don't have a direct migration path, so if you're in the middle of studying for one, you should make sure to finish by the retirement date. If you are starting fresh, you might be better off focusing your attention on the role-based certs at this point.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Just like the MCSA, the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) is also seeing several certs retiring. The move away from these older certs will likely continue until they've all been replaced with something already covered by the role-based certifications recently released.

Here's a list of certs that have been, or will be, retired:

  • MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure – December 31, 2018

  • MCSE: Mobility – April 30, 2019

  • MCSE: Business Applications – December 31, 2019

The MCSE: Business Applications certification will be available until December 31, 2019. This means if you're currently going for this cert you still have time. Otherwise, it's best to look at the other offerings going into this.

Final Thoughts

If you're working on a certification, check their vendor website for the latest news. Make sure it doesn't have a retired or pending retirement date. If it does, make sure you can complete your studies and take the exam before it retires. Certification changes may cause headaches at times but are needed to keep your knowledge and skills up to date. They reflect changes to tech and industry demands.

You don't want to go through the trouble just to find out certs are expiring next month. If they are but you can get the cert before expiration, make sure to understand the benefits of doing so. In some cases (Cisco certs come to mind), it's better to just switch to the new program. Stay informed and make the best decision for your situation.


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