DevNet Certifications – How to get ready for the DevOps Exam

As you may have seen, here at DevNet we were super excited to launch our new certifications track at Cisco LIVE! in San Diego. You can read all about the launch in Susie Wee’s blog.

With blueprints for the DEVNET associate, professional, and specialist exams available, this series of blog posts aims to shed more light on each exam and to highlight useful resources for study.

I’ll also be hosting a live webinar on August 8, 2019 to give you an in-depth look at the Cisco DevOps Certification track, and a chance to get your questions answered. Register now!

Implementing DevOps Solutions and Practices using Cisco Platforms (DEVOPS 300-910)

There are different approaches you can take with this exam:

  • take it solo to provide a “DEVNET Certified Specialist” certification
  • take it as the second exam (plus DEVNET CORE) to provide your “DEVNET Certified Professional” certification
  • take it as a concentration exam plus the technology core exam to provide your “Cisco Certified CCNP” certification.

More information about DevNet Certifications is available on the DevNet website.

DevOps

DevOps, a term commonly used to represent the practice of traditional developer and operations roles working together as a single team, being responsible for the entire lifecycle of an application through creation, deployment, updates and ongoing maintenance, together.

DevOps logo

This concept is as much about a shift in culture and shared responsibility as it is about the technology, which understandably is not something you can easily certify, however as you’ll see later in this blog, exam topics such as “3.1-Describe how to integrate DevOps practices into an existing organization” expect a strategic understanding of these challenges.

For a great read on this culture transformation, I’d strongly suggest reading “The Phoenix Project” by Gene Kim, (ISBN 0988262576)

For now, let’s focus on the technology

Traditionally, the term DevOps focused on the application lifecycle. However, the automation typically required to enable a successful DevOps-style practice blurs the lines between DevOps, Infrastructure-as-code (infrastructure automation), and security automation.

Today we see the term DevOps commonly referring to a process, powered by automation, where everything needed for the successful deployment and operation of an application (from the ground up – through infrastructure, operating systems, application dependencies, testing, security configuration, and day 2+ operations), being represented in a single automation pipeline. Thus, allowing each team to contribute their expertise area into the successful, change controlled automation of the product, app, or service.

We also see proof of these changes with new terms appearing, such as NetDevOps, or DevSecOps.

DEVOPS 300-910 covers this “Generation Two” of DevOps, testing an understanding of infrastructure, security and application-level lifecycle to enable your IT and Development teams to scale and improve through automation.

The full list of technology knowledge expected for the exam can be found on the certification page at Cisco Learning. And visit the Cisco Learning Network DEVOPS Exam page to learn more.

And did I mention that I’ll be hosting a live webinar on August 8, 2019 to give you an in-depth look at the Cisco DevOps Certification track? I did. OK, well Register now if you’d like to attend.

Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the exam sections

1.0 – CI/CD Pipeline
Any DevOps practitioner will be familiar with a CI/CD pipeline, usually based on a “CI Tool” to allow a change of code or infrastructure configuration in source control to trigger a number of arbitrary steps, testing, building and packaging the application or making changes to infrastructure API’s.

A great introduction to CI/CD is the DEVNET CI/CD Sandbox, where you can find a fully configured CI/CD pipeline, sample code repository, and explore how everything is tied together.

2.0 – Packaging and Delivery of Applications
Knowing your application is packaged in a reproducible, portable way is key to enabling an automated workflow for testing and deployments, containers are a great solution to this problem, however, come with their own design and deployment considerations this section tests your knowledge of designing and implementing containerized applications and their dependencies.

Our DEVNET learning labs have an “introduction to microservices” module, including containers 101, docker 101 and docker 201 series, which would serve as a perfect introductory learning resource for the topics listed in this section.

3.0 – Automating Infrastructure
Abstracting infrastructure is the talk of the automation community, however it’s a fact of life if you’re running one or more of your own edge, service provider, hybrid or office scenarios.

Whether you’re consuming cloud compute API’s, managing your own dedicated compute, or a mixture of both; part of your pipeline is going to involve automating infrastructure.

Our learning labs and sandboxes have a wealth of API knowledge around UCS, the hassle-free, api-driven way to uniform on-premise infrastructure.

4.0 – Cloud and Multicloud
Cloud services, like all technology choices come with their own learning curve, costing decisions and caveats. Choice of cloud provider aside (and we’re not biased), one common theme is the adoption of Kubernetes, the little container orchestration engine that could.

Kubernetes has become one of the most contributed-too open source projects in history, and it currently dominates the container landscape, for orchestrating containers and their associated baggage in production.

It would be remiss of us to not focus on “K8S” for a little while, so while this module will also test multi-site and multi deployment strategies for application failover and resiliency, it would be worth watching our Kubernetes 101 session here: [Kuber-what, DEVNET-1999 recorded session from CLEUR19 or CLUS19]

What Next?

Register now to join my August 8th webinar for a live in-depth look at the DevOps Certification track.

Watch for more in this series where you can get our take on the new certifications and our top picks for learning material! Or alternatively, reach out to us on Twitter @ciscodevnet