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Up, Up, and Away to the Clouds: Cisco Multicloud Specialist Certifications

#Clouds #Cisco #Multicloud #Specialist #Certifications

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s the latest certifications from Cisco Learning and Certifications! That’s right, I’m happy to share some details on the three newest Cisco Specialist certifications with you all. And all three relate to that topic that continues to be on the minds of every engineer, IT leader, and company—the CLOUD!

Every hero deserves an origin story…

Cloud is clearly an important topic for us all in the IT world today, and we knew that cloud-related certifications belonged in the Learning and Certifications portfolio of tech career certifications.  But we wanted to do them right.

Join me on a short little trip back in time, if you will.

It was June 2022, and I was in Las Vegas for Cisco Live.  It was an excellent event, of course, but it was also the first time in a long time that we’d been able to get together as a Learning and Certifications team in person.  One evening as a team dinner was finishing up, I found myself sitting with Par Merat, VP of Learning and Certifications, and Joe Clarke, Distinguished Engineer extraordinaire for Learning and Certification.

We started talking about what should come next for certifications from Cisco (a topic that we talk about a lot.. certs don’t stand still), and Cloud, of course, came up.  After brainstorming some ideas, a theme started to form.  We wanted to make sure any new cloud certification targeted aspects of the cloud that Cisco and Cisco Certified engineers had significant roles to play. We also realized that a single all-encompassing “Cisco Cloud Certification” wasn’t practical.  Cloud is too big and broad a topic. The idea of use case targeted concentrations came up, a certification that directly aligned to the types of projects that our community was being asked to do every day.

As an example, I brought up something I’d heard so many network engineers talk about working on for their companies.  They were being asked to connect their corporate network WANs to the public cloud networks in a way that offered consistency in design, engineering, and operations.  They needed to integrate the cloud networks into the corporate networks and didn’t just want to “bolt it on.” So I floated an idea for a “Secure Cloud Connectivity” certification that focused on this problem and the Cisco technology and solutions that could help solve this problem today.

The idea resonated, and it eventually became “Designing and Implementing Cloud Connectivity,” the first of the three Multi-Cloud Certifications that came out of this concept.

Bring out the certs!!!!

This brings us back to today, and I’m so happy with the approach we took for these certifications and the three new Professional-level specializations that we’ve released.

ENCC Exam Topics

The first one announced was the already introduced “Designing and Implementing Cloud Connectivity” certification.  This certification is part of the Enterprise Professional track and covers the architecture, technology, and operation of the secure network interconnections between public and private clouds using Cisco technologies.  What is really exciting to me about this certification is that it recognizes that there are several possible ways to build network bridges between clouds and that network engineers must balance the business and technical requirements of their enterprise when evaluating and selecting what is right for a project.

If you are an enterprise network professional managing the connections to the public cloud, this is a certification you should definitely check out.  The first date to test is September 20th, 2023 – which is almost here!  As a concentration exam in the Enterprise track, it can be combined with a pass on the “Implementing Cisco Enterprise Network Core Technologies” (ENCOR) exam to earn your CCNP Enterprise certification.

The second new cloud certification is “Designing and Implementing Secure Cloud Access for Users and Endpoints” which lives in the Security Professional track and has what might be the coolest sounding acronym of all of our certifications, “SCATZ”. With SCATZ, we wanted to target the change in how enterprises are providing users access to applications and data.

SCATZ Exam Topics

When I first started at Cisco about 13 years ago, nearly every application, internal website, wiki, data share, or tool I needed to do my job required that I establish a VPN into Cisco’s network.  This was to ensure that only authorized users accessed the important systems within Cisco’s corporate network.  Today that is not the case.  There are very few times that I have to open up AnyConnect and connect to Cisco’s VPN network anymore.  That doesn’t mean that Cisco isn’t worried about security, quite the opposite, Cisco is hyper-aware of security.  But we are also very focused on user experience and making systems easily and consistently available.  With updates in our security portfolio from Duo, Umbrella, Firepower, and Secure Analytics, we can now provide consistent and effective security to Cisco’s global and very hybrid workforce without forcing each of us to be tethered to a VPN connection at all times.

The SCATZ concentration exam evaluates security professionals’ ability to design and implement these types of solutions for their own enterprises.  It’s a fantastic addition to the security concentration options for candidates looking to earn their CCNP Security after passing the “Implementing and Operating Cisco Security Core Technologies” (SCOR) exam.  The first date to sit for SCATZ is November 20, 2023.

The last of the three cloud certifications is “Designing and Implementing Cisco Service Provider Cloud Network Infrastructure” because as cool as it is to consume cloud services, someone still has to build it.  After all, the best definition of “the cloud” is “someone else’s computer”.  While this certification is in the Service Provider Professional track, I think it is worth a look by any enterprise or data center professional building private cloud as well.  It explores all the virtualization, automation, and building infrastructure at scale topics that are key to offering robust, on-demand cloud services to meet the ever-increasing user expectations.  It is also full of some very cool network technologies that make me want to fire up Cisco Modeling Labs and start labing to prepare to take the exam.  And I’ve still got time to prepare, the first date to test for this certification isn’t until January 20, 2024.

SPCNI Exam Topics

What about training?

What would a Cisco certification be without training classes and materials to help candidates get prepared?  Well, it probably wouldn’t be a Cisco certification at all.  🙂

Our training content development team has been hard at work building new Cisco U Learning Paths and Instructor Lead training courses to help candidates learn all the ins and outs of these exciting cloud use cases and get ready to take and pass these new exams.  These training classes will include the same high-quality hands-on lab experience that you’ve come to expect from official Cisco Learning content. Just get a look at this topology that will be part of the “Designing and Implementing Cloud Connectivity” course.

ENCC Course Topology

The classes are in development now, so stay tuned for details on when they’ll be available to Cisco U subscribers to dive into.  And definitely ask your favorite Cisco Learning Partner when they plan to begin offering the new classes.  Even with the availability of so much on-demand technical training content, I still love the opportunity to work with an expert instructor and learn how something works.  The non-scripted parts of the learning and being able to ask questions and dive down some technical threads in class are so valuable.

Well, that’s about it for now.  I hope you are as excited about these new cloud certifications as we are.  Which one are you thinking about taking first?  Are you already studying and want to be one of the first to earn the new specialization?  Let me know in the comments!

Resources

Exam topic blueprints

Designing and Implementing Cloud Connectivity v1.0 (ENCC 300-440)

Designing and Implementing Secure Cloud Access for Users and Endpoints v1.0 (SCAZT 300-740)

Designing and Implementing Cisco Service Provider Cloud Network Infrastructure (SPCNI 300-540)

Community spaces

Enterprise Networking Certifications Community

Security Certifications Community

Suggested learning materials that support the exam topics

Secure Cloud Analytics

Secure Network Analytics

Cisco U. training resources

Understanding Cisco Hybrid Cloud Fundamentals (CLDHCF 1.0)

Foundations of Cloud Services and Cloud Computing

 

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