Cisco Announces Changes to CCNP Voice

Unity Connection and Presence Join the Club; QoS Exam Gone

In addition to the CCNP Security and CCNA Voice announcements Cisco made at Interop New York today, Cisco also announced changes to the CCNP Voice certification. Cisco appears to be changing the names of all the professional-level certs to CCNP "something" (CCNP Voice is the new official name of this cert). The biggest changes? Updates to Collaboration software V8.0, Unity Connection and Presence enter this cert in the new CAPPS exam, and the QoS exam leaves the cert.  

This post will focus on the CCNP Voice cert, with links for other posts listed at the bottom of this posting. In this post, I'll give an overview of the changes, list some links, and open it up for some gut reaction. I'll dig into the specifics in the individual exams over the next few weeks.

Quick Links:

Main CCNP Voice page at Cisco.com

Main CCNP Voice page at the Cisco Learning Network

CCNP Voice Announcement at the Cisco Learning Network

Exam Changes:

CCNP Voice retains the 5-exam model. Updated versions of CVOICE, CIPT1, CIPT2, and TUC (renamed TVOICE) all remain, but with some topics shifting. The QoS exam goes away from CCNP Voice, but some QoS content moves over to the new CVOICE. (The new CVOICE tacks "and QoS" to the end of the old official name.) Cisco replaces the QoS exam slot in CCNP Voice with the new Integrating Cisco Unified Communications Applications (CAPPS) exam.

I had the chance to chat with Fred Weiller, Director of Marketing for Learning@Cisco, and Tejas Vashi, Senior Manager Responsible for Product Management for Learning@Cisco, about the upcoming changes. Fred told me that the biggest change across the exams (and related courses) is the additions/changes related to V8.0 of all the Cisco Voice products (Cisco Unified Communications and Collaboration 8.0). So while the topics may have gotten moved around a bit from exam to exam (comparing the old and new exams, respectively), the biggest changes appear to be the updates for the product versions, and the addition of the new CAPPS exam. It also looks like some of the CIPT1 admin tasks have moved over to the new CCNA to the new ICOMMM course, which is a new exam for CCNA Voice. 

To help us sift through the specifics about changes to the exams, I've asked my good friend and occasional guest blogger in this space, Dave Schulz, to do a guest blog post here.(Dave teaches Voice classes for Skyline ATS, and wrote the new Cisco Press CIPT2 Quick Reference product.) Before the week's up, I'll post his thoughts examining the details of the changes in CIPT1/CIPT2. He'll probably also give us some additional detail of the other new CCNP Voice exams in another post as well.

The new exam for CCNP Voice, CAPPS, focuses on voice applications, specifically Cisco Unified Messaging (Unity) and Cisco Unified Presence. Cisco already had courses on these topics, but not in the former CCVP track.

Finally, Cisco did not migrate the QoS exam from the old CCVP to the new CCNP Voice. Cisco removed QoS as a major topic from CCNP (Route/Switch) in their January 2010 update. (Click here to see earlier blog posts on this year's CCNP changes.) Cisco shrinks the QoS content in CCVP/CCNP Voice, but the new CVOICE 8.0 exam does cover several QoS topics: DiffServ, classification and marking, link efficiency, and LLQ. The QoS exam stick around for the CCIP track. Wow!

Transition Plan:

As usual, Cisco will have a transition period in which the old exams still exist, and the new exams also exist. The posted last date to test with the old exams in Feb 28, 2011, but re-check the web site if you're basing your study plan on this date! (Look to the main page for the new CCNP Voice and search from there.) You can always pass all the old exams before they go away, or wait and pass all the new exams. The interesting cases happen when you want to use some old and some new exams.

Cisco gave us a nice easy transition plan to the new CCNP Voice. Essentially, you pass either the old or the new exam in the four obvious cases, and they even let the old QoS count (if passed on time) instead of the new CAPPS exam. 

Cisco Press Publication Plan

The good news is that, as before, Cisco Press plans to publish new editions of their existing Self Study Guides (SSG) and Quick Reference products for CVOICE, CIPT1, and CIPT2, along with Quick Reference products for TVOICE and CAPPS. The bad news is that it appears that neither TVOICE nor CAPPS will have a Self-Study Guide (SSG) or Official Certification Guide (OCG) for CAPPS.

It may be useful to consider some background on the style of products. The Quick Refs, a downloaded PDF, summarize reference info for each exam, about 100 pages (+-50%). The Self Study Guides (SSG) focus on foundational learning and are typically based on the material, examples, and diagrams from the Cisco authorized curriculum by the same name. Finally, Cisco Press makes an electronic version of these SSGs available early, for those who don't want to wait for the printed book, in a format called Rough Cuts. It's a download of the book, but before some of the final editing is done. So, it's rough... but you get it early.

So, here are the currently planned date ranges (varies slightly from product to product):

SSG Rough Cut dates (planned): December 2010

SSG Print dates (planned): April/May 2011

Quick Ref dates (planned): Jan 2011

Click here to see a list of the Self Study Guide and Quick Reference products. Note that the links may not be available immediately on announcement day, so I've linked to a page on my web site. I'll update those links in one place as they become available. Finally, on the full disclosure front: while I haven't written any of these CCNP Voice books, I do have an indirect interest in seeing Cisco Press succeed.

Quick Opinions

What do you think? Hoorah, ho hum, oh no?

I was really hoping Cisco would shrink this cert from 5 exams to 4 - I still think CCNP Voice is too big.

Sorry, I'm sad about the disappearance of the QoS exam. It appears to be important, just not an entire exam worth of important. What about you folks?

Cisco's October Certification Announcements:

Cisco Announces Changes to CCNP Voice

Cisco Adds Another Exam to CCNA Voice

Cisco Announces Changes to CCNP Security

Related:

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