As of Tuesday, October 19, Cisco has reworked its voice (VoIP) and security certifications at the professional level. There’s a new CCNP Voice to replace the former CCVP, and a new CCNP Security to replace the former CCSP. In speaking with Cisco Learning staff on Monday 10/18, I learned that the primary impetus for these changes — which you can find described in more detail in the company’s 10/19 press release entitled “Cisco Redesigns Voice and Security Certifications to Align with Evolving Job Roles and Business requirements” — was to move coverage and focus on these topics up the evolutionary curve, in the sense that most businesses have now deployed VoIP and formulated security policy, and are ready to employ best practices and procedures to put related tools, technologies, and platforms to work.
On the Voice side, this means that the focus is now on integrating Cisco Unified Communications products and platforms into existing network architectures, and to validate what the company calls “…a robust set of skills” when it comes to implementing, operating, configuring, and troubleshooting an IP network where voice and data services mix and mingle. Candidates will also have to understand and master Cisco’s Collaboration 8.0 solutions, especially as they related to integrating and troubleshooting voicemail and messaging applications that include Cisco Unity Connection and Cisco Unified Presence. There are also new exams in the mix: 642-467 on the Cisco Unified Communications Applications (CAPPS), and the 640-461 Cisco Voice and Unified Communications Administration (ICOMM) will freshen up the CCNA Voice certification as well.
On the Security side, there’s a new four-exam curriculum that seeks to support specific job roles and responsibilities for network security engineers who must test, deploy, configure and troubleshoot core technologies and devices involved in network security. IOS coverage for Cisco routers and switches, zone-based firewalls, high-availability VPNs, and IPS/IDS elements in the Cisco arsenal all come in for content and coverage. Candidates should also expect to see focus on and coverage of security and risks management skills and knowledge in the revised CCNP Voice credential as well.
Cisco will keep its CCVP and CCSP cert exams alive until 2/28/2011 and 4/8/2011 respectively, to give those candidates in process on the old regime a chance to finish up before these credentials are retired. But when current or immanent CCVP or CCSP holders wish to renew their credentials (which they must do every three years) they will have to shift over to the CCNP Voice and CCNP Security certs instead.