We believe Cisco's updating of the CCNA Routing and Switching certification (v3.0) is important enough to warrant more than a single blog post! Last week we started to explore the "Essentials of CCNA Routing and Switching" webinar series that Learning@Cisco rolled out in June to great enthusiasm. If you missed that blog post, start by taking a look here. In the post, we shared what our Routing and Switching Product Manager Greg Cote had to say in Part 1 ("CCNA Routing and Switching: A Comprehensive Overview") of the three-part webinar series about the changing IT landscape and how that it is forcing the network to evolve.

In short, last week's post made this point: "The network that was once manual, rigid, and device-centric is giving way to a digital-ready network that is automated, flexible, and extends programmability beyond the data center and into all segments of the network. Hardware is moving more and more to software, and individual endpoint device management is shifting to a policy-based level of automation."

So now the question is, what new skills requirements are surfacing for today’s network administrators as a result of network evolution?

Why You Need to Pay Attention to CCNA R&S v3.0

Here are the skills that Greg indicates will be in increasing demand for those wanting to call themselves network administrators--skills that you can expect CCNA Routing and Switching v3.0 to address:

  • Network programmability: As a network administrator, you will need to understand how to provision controllers—a big shift from traditional CLI configuration and provisioning.
  • Network virtualization: Because virtualization of network functions and the interaction of cloud-based resources on enterprise networks will continue to expand, network administrators can expect to see this key technology shift implemented in the CCNA Routing and Switching program.
  • Policy-based network management: At the heart of this is QoS, says Greg. QoS topics have been added to the CCNA Routing and Switching certification, covering marking, shaping, and policing mechanisms needed to manage congestion within enterprise networks.
  • Network-leveraged analytics: While there is already much in terms of analytics that network administrators can gather today, there will be even more in the future.
  • Enterprise VPN technologies for intelligent WAN: The new CCNA Routing and Switching certification reflects increased emphasis on VPN technologies, including Dynamic Multipoint VPN (DMVPN), site-to-site VPN, and client VPN technologies.
  • IPv6 address family and routing to support IoT scaling: The Internet of Things is bringing massive scale challenges to networks and requires adoption of IPv6.



Here's Why It's Worth It

The good news is that the new version of CCNA Routing and Switching continues to emphasize the core skills you build upon for any number of Cisco certification pathways. Whether you continue along the Routing and Switching trajectory or move from CCNA Routing and Switching to CCDA or other CCNA tracks such as Wireless, Security, or Industrial, the fundamental routing and switching skills you pick up with CCNA R&S will continue to serve you well, states Greg.

Further good news, as Greg reminds us, is that prospects for the network administrator job role continue to look great, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which projects that jobs for network administrators, network engineers, and network architects will grow by more than 31 percent by 2024. “You have growth ahead of you in this industry,” Greg states.

In this first webinar of “The Essentials of CCNA Routing and Switching” series, Routing and Switching Content Engineer Nikita Singh provides further in-depth explanation of new topics addressed in the CCNA Routing and Switching v3.0 curriculum and exams:

  • Network programmability (software-driven network architecture), including Cisco’s use of its Application Policy Infrastructure Controller - Enterprise Module (APIC-EM) to implement SDN in enterprise networks
  • Cloud computing
  • Cisco StackWise technology
  • Cisco Enterprise Network Function Virtualization (NFV)
  • QoS
  • External Border Gateway Protocol (EBGP)


Greg notes that even with these significant changes to the CCNA Routing and Switching curriculum, Learning@Cisco will not be changing to a software-based infrastructure overnight. “There is going to be a long period where companies will actually have coexistence of physical hardware and virtualized network functions,” he states.

Also in the first webinar you'll get great advice from Cisco Learning Network Community Manager Brett Lovins about how to use all the study resources here on the Cisco Learning Network to best advantage in your quest to get up to speed with network evolution.

In the next blog post, I’ll take a closer look at Parts 2 and 3 of the CCNA Routing and Switching webinar series, featuring Cisco Press author and longtime friend of the Cisco Learning Network Wendell Odom.

So, Have You Watched the Webinar Yet?

But now, if you haven't already, I encourage to get more details by visiting our "CCNA Routing and Switching Overview and Preparation" page and listening to at least the first webinar ("CCNA Routing and Switching: A Comprehensive Overview"-- divided into five bite-size chunks) that I have finished highlighting here for you.


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Gary Pfitzer is a content manager at Learning@Cisco, focused on bringing various aspects of today's IT journey to light through business papers, blogging, customer success stories, and other writing.