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New Cisco collaboration certification plan rolls voice, video CCNA into one

Cisco is replacing its CCNA Voice, CCNA Video and CCNP Voice certifications with the CCNA Collaboration and CCNP Collaboration certifications.

Cisco today introduced two industry role-based certifications for collaboration that address the convergence of voice, video, data and mobile applications.

The new Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Collaboration and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Collaboration certifications aim to teach the skills required to help customers meet the growing need for collaboration in a workplace that is geographically diverse with a workforce that is increasingly mobile, according to Cisco.

Noting that collaboration is a catalyst for the transformation in the workplace, Tejas Vashi, director for product strategy and marketing with Cisco Services, said that the new Cisco collaboration certifications address a skills gap and that IT professionals need to be retrained to have a broader picture of collaboration as it's evolving.

The new Cisco collaboration certification strategy targets engineers who implement, configure, deploy and troubleshoot collaboration and communication infrastructures.

Cisco is encouraging partners to pursue the new collaboration certifications but Cisco's partner organization has not announced any timeline or requirements for partners to get the new certifications. The existing CCNA Voice and CCNA Video certifications, as well as the CCNP Voice certification, remain valid. However, partners should stay tuned for such announcements in the coming months.

Cisco plans to merge CCNA Voice and CCNA Video tracks into the new CCNA Collaboration certification, which requires two exams but has no prerequisites, according to Antonella Corno, manager for product strategy with Learning@Cisco.

"Those two exams cover all of the skills for integrating voice, video, the collaboration platform, integrated with the concept of on premise and cloud-based services," Corno said.

The CCNP Voice certification, meanwhile, consisted of five exams. To map to the new CCNP Collaboration certification, the content has been reorganized into four exams, one of which is new.

The migration plan for the new collaboration certifications is a chapter that the company started last year, according to Corno, with the rollout of the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Collaboration certification, expert-level track. "Now were offering the CCNP and CCNA Collaboration certifications, completing a certification path," she said.

All of the CCNA Collaboration exams and courseware is currently available. The CCNP Collaboration exams and courseware will follow by the end of April. Cisco will retire the older CCNA Voice and Video certifications and CCNP Voice certification about six months after the new materials are available. So, the CCNA certifications will retire in August and the CCNP certification will retire in the fall.

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Cisco Press will have Official Cert Guides for the two CCNA Colloboration exams and Foundation Learning Guides for all four CCNP Collaboration exams in 2015. 
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This is probably overdue, although I do worry about a potential lack of focus on just voice services, and/or CallManger-focused topics, in the new curriculum.
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