Questions for the Cisco Certification Folks at Cisco Live

A Request for Your Questions

Cisco Live 2010, aka Networkers, starts the week of June 28th in Vegas. As usual, whenever I go to this or any other trade show event, there's usually a short list of questions that I've been pondering. So, when walking around the show floor, I seek out those who might have an answer to a question. Long story short, knowing that a lot of ya'll may not be going to the show, I thought I'd turn the question about questions to you folks: if you could go to Networkers next week, and ask the Cisco certifications folks a question, what would you want to know?

So, why this thread today? Well, My family and I just drove 2700 miles around the Southeast on vacation over the last 2 weeks. It was a great time away, but that much time in the car does give you a lot of time to think, and I like to ponder things. So, in between dodging all the NASCAR fans doing 90 and doing a little drafting and bumping, the pondering occasionally drifted to thinking about the world of Cisco certifications. (I really did try and not go there, but 2700 miles is a lot of miles to drive.) So, the pondering made me think of questions about Cisco certs - questions that I can't answer because I don't work for Cisco. So, I've already worked up the questions I'll ask if I meet the right folks from the certification group, and I'll of course ask if there's a publicly-shareable answer I could put in the blog.

Taking that a step further, I would imagine that a lot of you won't be at the show, but you may also have questions about Cisco certs that just aren't answerable from, books, etc. So, if you were going to be at the show, are there any Cisco certification questions that you'd want to ask? I'll add them to my list.

I do have some basic ground rules for the questions: ask things that you think aren't posted already by Cisco, and there's at least some chance Cisco might be willing to publicly tell us more. For example, it's probably not worth the time to ask questions like "is this specific command covered on exam X", because Cisco just doesn't reveal that level of detail about an exam. Or, questions like "when will exam Y be revised next" may be a poor choice because Cisco wouldn't want me pre-announcing an exam change before they post something official about it at You can suggest any questions you have here, and I'll try and get the questions answered by our friends at Cisco.

In case you're interested in some of my questions, so here's a sampling:

1)    Do you expect the shrink the scope of all CCxP certs over time, similar to the changes made to CCNP this year? In other words, was this a philosophical shift, or tactical change just for CCNP?

2)    The new SP Operations track differs significantly compared to other certs in the focus on process, procedures, and all things related to operations. However, larger enterprises function on a similar model for managing IT operations, and the CCNP changes this year seem to be geared also for larger Enterprises. Is the SP operations approach likely to be seen in other certs down the road?

3)    The worldwide economy has obviously been suffering. Has there been any noticeable change in run rates for Cisco certs, and is there any indication that it's related to the economy?

4)    Network World has cited several references over the last few years that suggest that employers want IT professionals to have a broader skill set, both in technical areas and in business process skills. Cisco certs tend to focus more on technology, while typically focusing on one technology area (e.g., route/switch, voice, security). My question would be whether Cisco sees a need to add to or change their certification offerings to match this (supposed) trend?

5)    What really happens when someone takes a Cisco exam and leaves a written comment about a question that they think is incorrect? (I think it'd be instructive to the general populace, since it's not a 2-way feedback mechanism.)

6)    What have been the most significant gains with the prevention and punishment for those cheating on Cisco exams, particularly over the previous year?

7)    Would you consider making some IOS images freely downloadable for usage with Dynamips for certification self-study? 

A lot of these have to do with futures, so some may be non-starters already, because Cisco reasonably likes to make their own announcements about certification changes. Some may have easy answers, like "yes, and we're announcing it Tuesday". If that's the case, I'll try to at least give you some links in a blog post next week. (Cisco does tend to announce cert changes at Networkers - not always, but frequently - so we may see something there.)

I'm also curious as to what you folks might come up with, so post away. And if you've got a technical non-cert question you want to offer, feel free, because there are lots of chances for random techie conversations at the show.

PS: If you recognize me at the show from my picture here at the blog, and have a minute, stop me to say hi.

PPS: I'll be at the bookstore at the show for a book signing, time TBD, but it looks like 3PM-ish Tuesday next week, if you want to stop by to say hi there as well.

PPS: Entries for the book giveaway from the last posting are closed. I'll post winners there before the week's done. Thanks to all who participated!

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