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Inching into Network Programmability with Cisco

Network programmability developerAnd that, dear readers, is an explanation of network programmability in about as small and tight a nutshell as I can craft for you. I’d recommend reading the original blog post for more information and details. At least, I’d recommend it highly if you work in or around networking, or plan to do so any time soon.


This kind of stuff is indeed going to become an increasingly important part of how we set up, configure, manage and maintain networks in the workplace going forward.


Cisco’s Network Programmability Certifications


Right now, elements of network programmability are creeping into many elements of the Cisco certification portfolio, from the Associate level all the way up to Expert and Architect levels. There are, however, only two Cisco credentials that include the term in their names, and both of them are specialist certifications:


Cisco Network Programmability Developer Specialist: This one is for programmers focused on the network applications layer, which means they work with and create code for Cisco programmable components in devices both physical and virtual. This effort applies most typically to use cases that involve service providers, campuses, and data centers.


The cert and its supporting course focus on Cisco’s One Platform Kit (onePK), Open Daylight Controller (ODL), and a variety of Application Policy Infrastructure Controllers (APICs). Some knowledge of Python or C, or another similar language, is needed for candidates to do the work involved in earning this certification and putting it to work.


This item from the course description tells those who want to know what it’s really all about: “You will learn how to interpret and produce code to deploy configurations to multiple devices using RESTConf and NETConf and to identify network programmability tools and Cisco virtual platforms.”


No prerequisites, outside of programming background and skills.


Cisco Network Programmability Design and Implementation Specialist: This one is for network engineers involved in setting up and managing environments geared to support network programmability, including automation and orchestration frameworks. It’s a more general and architectural view of network programmability, from the standpoint of understanding what it’s good for, and how it may best be used in enterprise and other heavy-duty networking environments.


The course description says it all in pure, unadulterated technobabble:


“The course will enable candidates to understand SDN controllers including APIC, APIC-EM and OSC, as well as how to use device-level APIs such as Cisco NX-OS, IOS-XE, IOS-XR and ASA OS. They will be introduced to DevOps and Agile software development methodologies, and get started on using automation tools such as Ansible, Chef and Puppet.”


Any CCNP, CCDP, CCIE or CCDE certification is acceptable as a prerequisite to earning this credential, so the company wants candidates already quite familiar with Cisco platforms and technologies to earn this credential.


Is network programmability in your future? If you’re Cisco certified at the CCNP or CCDP level or higher, then the answer is “Yes.” And for those just getting started on Cisco certification at the technician or associate level, the answer is “Yes, sometime soon.” Dig in, and enjoy!



ed-tittel120Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed blogs on certification topics for Tom’s IT Pro, and on Windows desktop OS topics for TechTarget. Check out his website at