Cisco’s Simulations Suite

Cisco Systems’ IT certifications are some of the industry’s most respected largely because of their reputation for reliability. Part of the program’s status stems from the company’s credentialing exams, which are known for their rigor and thoroughness. “One of the things we like to say is that ‘certifications equal exams,’” said Cindy Hoffman, certification track manager at Cisco. “They’re an integral part of what we do.”


Many of those exams include a performance-based testing component. In particular, Cisco has used technical simulations to assess certification candidates’ comprehension of the company’s products and solutions, said Erik Ullanderson, manager of certification exam development and innovation at Cisco. “They exist in all the tracks,” he said. “There are lots of different products, routers, switches and pieces of security protocol that we have in which a simulation can help garner an individual’s competency.”


The first complex item within a Cisco certification exam outside of the CCIE program was added in 2002, Ullanderson said. Because these simulation items are reusable, Cisco has been able to branch out from that point. “We’ve sort of built upon that concept and continued to expand, so as new product lines are introduced, if we determine that we want to simulate the user interface, we have that as part of our repertoire of things to tie into,” he said. “We plan to enrich the depth of the simulations. As new product lines are moved out, we’ll simulate those and add them to the repertoire, like a toolbox.…


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