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Cisco Express-level specialization got a huge makeover. Here’s why.

June 26, 2018

Cisco Express-level specialization got a huge makeover. Here’s why.

All former Cisco Express designations were retired and moved under different tracks

As of Nov. 15, 2017, Cisco ended the following Express-level and Advanced-level specializations:

  • Express Collaboration Specialization
  • Express Service Provider Specialization
  • Express Foundation Specialization
  • Express Video Specialization
  • Express Networking Specialization
  • Small and Midsize Business (SMB) Specialization
  • Express Security Specialization
  • Express Security IPS
  • Express Security Web
  • Express Security Email
  • Express Security NGFW
  • Advanced Unified Computing Technology

It replaced the former program with the Express Specialization program, which comprises the following six tracks:

  1. Network Express
  2. Collaboration Express
  3. Video Express (Note: As of April 28, 2018 Cisco merged this track with Collaboration Express and after Sept. 28, 2019 all approved partners in the Express Specialization—Video track will hold only the Express Specialization—Collaboration track badge.)
  4. Security Express
  5. Data Center Express
  6. Service Provider Express

The former Express designations were migrated to the tracks listed above, and partners who had previously earned one of the now-retired specializations were grandfathered into the new tracks, until Aug. 2, 2018. Starting with their first anniversary date after Aug. 2, all partners must renew the Express Specialization using the published requirements for at least one of the above tracks and 40 continuous learning points.

For example, let’s say a partner earned an Express Security NGFW specialization on June 23, 2017. On Aug. 2, 2017, the partner would be transitioned to the updated corresponding program, which is Security Express. Their anniversary date will be June 23, 2018, but they won’t be required to meet any track renewal requirements until June 23, 2019, because the Aug. 2, 2018, transition period will still be in effect.

Applying for the new Express Specialization

The new Express Specialization uses a flexible application process. Although there’s now only one Express Specialization to achieve, there are now six tracks from which to choose. Only one track is required, but multiple tracks may be achieved at the same time. Only one Express Specialization will be awarded regardless of how many tracks are achieved. Additional tracks may be achieved at any time after the first track is approved and won’t affect the anniversary date of your Express Specialization.

“The program change brings several benefits to Cisco partners,” says Robert Young, Cisco technology consultant, advanced solutions, collaboration & enterprise networking, partner technical enablement, Ingram Micro. “Previously, a partner would earn one specialization, and there was often confusion about which one to pursue next. With the new program, it more closely parallels the education system, where becoming a registered partner is like earning your high school diploma or GED. Obtaining Express levels is like earning your associate degree; it shows a basic understanding of a specific technology discipline. To become an Advanced-level partner, which is comparable to earning a bachelor’s degree, it often takes 100+ hours and several months to achieve. The highest specialization level, Masters, is like earning a master’s degree. Under the previous program, after a person earned their “associate degree,” they often found that the courses didn’t count toward a “bachelor’s degree,” and they had to start from scratch. With the new program, it’s much more unified.”

Partners who want to learn more about Cisco Express Specialization should contact the Cisco MD in their territory: NortheastSouth, Central or West.