Cisco Announces CCSP Recertification Changes

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Cisco Systems has announced an enhancement to its recertification policy for the Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCSP) certification. The Cisco SAFE Implementation (CSI) exam, which is required for new CCSP certification candidates, will now recertify professionals who hold that credential.


This new procedure joins two existing methods of recertification for the CCSP program, said Don Field, senior manager of certifications at Cisco. “At the professional level of our program, we have more than one way that people can recertify,” he said. “One is to earn a CCIE certification, the top level in our program. Also, we added a new policy last fall that allows an individual who passes the CCIE written exam, which is the first step in a two-step process towards earning a CCIE, to recertify professional-level certifications they hold.


“For each of our professional-level certifications, we have an exam that someone can take to recertify their knowledge in that particular subject,” Field added. “We have those in place for most of our professional-level certifications, but we didn’t have that in place for CCSP. We didn’t add a new exam to do it. We determined that one of the exams that people have to pass in order to earn CCSP in the first place is really a capstone exam that encompasses a broad enough array of topics in security. We could allow people to pass the current version of that exam to recertify their CCSP. That exam is the CSI, or the Cisco Safe Implementation exam.”


Like all professional-level certification holders, CCSPs will have to recertify once every three years. Because Cisco frequently alters its exams to keep up with current technologies and techniques, recertification candidates will always take a different exam than the one they passed to get the CCSP in the first place, Field said.


“By the time someone gets close to needing to recertify, its content will have changed. It’s the exact same exam that a new entrant to that program would have to pass,” he said. “From a content perspective, they are updated as needed. On an annual basis, we run technology survey, through which we ask our certified individuals about the technologies that they use on the job. That survey helps to trigger some of the changes that we make. Also, our team maintains very good contacts with the appropriate technology teams in our business units that are creating new products and solutions.”


This new option will provide an alternative path to recertification for professionals who are not seeking to move up Cisco’s hierarchy of credentials. “There are some people who want to go after a CCIE, and there are some people who want to stay at the professional level,” Field explained. “That’s perfectly understandable. It’s a much bigger hurdle to go from one level to the next. There are some people who are happy to stay at the professional level because it meets their needs in their job role.”


Recertification is an integral component of Cisco’s credentialing program, because it demonstrates the company’s commitment to keeping its programs up-to-date, Field said. “One of the reasons people are so interested in Cisco certifications is that they know we work hard to protect the integrity of our certifications. We’re in a business where technology is changing on a continual basis. We have concluded that in order to ensure that people have current technology skills, it’s important to ask people to recertify their Cisco certifications on a periodic basis.”


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