6 Tips for Maintenance During Your Certification Journey

6 Tips for Maintenance During Your Certification Journey

So you are certified. Very good! But once you have that certification, you need to maintain it. Luckily, you have options to keep it current, level up, or branch out into other technical areas. I like to look at certification as a journey. While you can stop and take in scenes along the way, you must inevitably keep your car running. And we all know that requires regular maintenance—gas, oil, tune ups, and so on. The same is true of certification.

I had a great opportunity to think more about certification while I was at Cisco Live Amsterdam, interacting with our users, customers, and partners, especially in the Cisco U. theater at the Learning & Certifications booth.

During these packed sessions, I heard some great questions. I was happy to hear that most of them were about wanting to be certified and was really encouraged when I noticed that our testing center (or center as we call it in Amsterdam) is almost at capacity. People try and pass! But what happens after that? How do you keep your certified self focused?

#1: Attend Cisco Live technical sessions

Cisco Live offers a great way to stay focused—technical sessions. Each technical session (such as labs, tectorials, and DevNet workshops) is eligible for Continuing Education (CE) credits. Those credits add up toward recertification.

While you may not get all the credits you need from attending Cisco Live alone, you have flexible options regarding Cisco’s recertification policy.

#2: Mix CE credits and testing to recertify

Some people want to re-certify using the tests, as they have always done. It’s still a valid option. In fact, some of the people who tried Cisco Live are already certified. When one of the engineers working in the Network Operations Center for the conference passed his SECCOR, his CCNP Enterprise was recertified.

You do not need to test or earn CE credits. The flexibility of recertification means you have the option to do both if you want. That means, maybe you earned some CE credits from attending a few Cisco Lives but not enough to earn the 80 credits you need to recertify a Professional-level certification. You can increase the credits of the exam. For example, if you earn 40 credits from Cisco Lives, you can take a concentration exam, such as ENARSI or DEVOPS, and recertify all of your Professional-level certifications.

#3: Stay the course by studying

Cisco Live isn’t the only learning opportunity that may come your way in the three years you need to recertify. You may have the opportunity to take courses either with an in-person instructor or online (perhaps through Cisco U.). Many of those courses are also eligible for CE credit.

After Cisco U. becomes generally available this spring, some of the initial learning paths will be eligible for CE credit. You can sign up now for early access and get a sneak preview of how Digital learning is booming at Cisco U.

#4: Try your hand at writing test items

While learning new skills is important to stay sharp—the reason we created the Continuing Education program, some people like to give back in other ways. The exam team is always looking for certified individuals who can write good exam questions. Some of the people taking those tests on Cisco Live commented that they could have written a better question. We will do it! Apply to be an item writerand help us make our exams better while earning CE credit for your own recertification.

#5: Use the CE portal, and stay tuned for updates

In addition to recertification flexibility, we want to make sure the recertification process is as easy to take advantage of as possible. Now, all Continuing Education activities (such as attending Cisco Live, writing items, and taking training) require you to submit for credit to CE portal. We’re working to streamline this process so that in the future, we’ll be able to automatically award credits when you complete certain activities, without you having to submit anything. Stay tuned for more on that as we continue to evolve and improve the program.

#6: Keep your certification active

Finally, and most importantly, don’t lose your certification! One thing you can’t revalidate is an inactive certification. If you let a certification lapse, the only way to reactivate is to take and pass that certification exam again. So be sure to keep your certification active!

Keeping up with your certification requires regular maintenance. So keep learning, and stay certified!

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