After Cisco’s announcement in 2020 that its exam tracks will change for all of its certifications, you may have heard about migrations and the rumours of the Cisco Certified Specialist. What is a Cisco Certified Specialist credential then? How do you get one. Why is it important? Simply put, a Cisco Certified Specialist credential is proof that you have passed what’s known as a Cisco concentration test. Cisco concentration exams are Cisco exams that focus on a narrow topic or technology, but not a core certification.
If you take and pass the Designing Cisco Enterprise Networks exam (300-420 ENSLD) on February 24, 2020, you will be awarded a Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Design credential. You will not have a Cisco Certified Network Professional Enterprise (CCNP) credential. You will need to pass the CCNP ENCOR exam (300-401) in order to obtain the core credential. You will also be awarded a Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Core credential if you pass the core exam. This specialist credential is not equivalent to being CCNP Enterprise certified. You will need the Specialist Enterprise Core credential as well as a Specialist concentration credential to be fully certified on the CCNP Enterprise track. These credentials together will make your core CCNP Enterprise certificate.
As I mentioned in my previous post on the new CCNP Enterprise Track, Cisco Certified Specialist credentials can also be beneficial in that they can be obtained by passing exams on current Cisco exam tracks. This means that you can use the existing exam tracks to work towards core certification on the new tracks, even if the CCNP credential is not completed on your current track. If you pass CCNP TSHOOT (301-305), on the existing track, but not the certification track, you’ll earn the Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Advanced Infrastructure Implementation credential. To add the Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Core credential to your CCNP Enterprise track, you will only need to take the CCNP ENCOR exam after February 24, 2020.
Cisco advises any current CCNP candidate to continue working towards the full CCNP credential. You can earn both the core credential as well as multiple Cisco Certified Specialist credentials by completing your CCNP credential prior to the Feb. 24, 2020 deadline. If you have a CCNP Security credential, you will earn the core credential as well as five Cisco Certified Specialist credentials. If you pass a concentration exam and wait until Feb. 24, 2020 to take the CCNP Security Core exam (300-701 SOR), you will receive the track’s core credential as well as two Cisco Certified Specialist credentials: Cisco Certified Specialist – Security Core and Cisco Certified Specialist credentials for your concentration.
To continue with the CCNP Security example: In order to obtain a CCNP Security certificate after February 24, 2020, you will need pass the core exam (300-701 SOR) and one of six concentration exams covering specific Cisco security technologies.
300-710 Security Networks Using Cisco Firepower (SNCF).
300-715 Configuring and Implementing Cisco Identity Services Engines (SISE).
300-720 Email Security with Cisco Email Security Appliance (SESA).
300-725 Secure the Web with Cisco Web Security Appliances (SWSA).
300-730 Implementing Secure Solutions With Virtual Private Networks (SVPN).
300-735 Automating and Programming Cisco Security Solutions for (SAUTO).
Candidates who pass both the core exam and one or more of the aforementioned exams will be eligible to apply.