Professional development

Are retired Cisco certs still valuable?

Daniel Brecht
September 1, 2020 by
Daniel Brecht

Introduction: Why get Cisco-certified?

Vendor-specific certifications that cover platforms, tools and technologies can make job seekers more marketable to employers looking for specific competencies. A company utilizing equipment from the networking giant Cisco Systems, in fact, could add a Cisco certification to the list of requirements when looking for new talents. TechCrunch writes: “Cisco has formed the digital backbone of many major companies, which makes getting Cisco-certified a natural move for those looking to demonstrate their value to potential employers.”

A Cisco certification can also help boost salary. According to the Global Knowledge 2020 IT Skills and Salary Survey, the CCNP Routing and Switching certification (a soon-to-be replaced professional-level credential designed for network engineers and administrators) is in the list of 15 top-paying IT certifications.

FREE role-guided training plans

FREE role-guided training plans

Get 12 cybersecurity training plans — one for each of the most common roles requested by employers.

Cisco is about to retire some of their certification exams. Now what?

With technology and roles evolving so fast, Cisco Systems regularly upgrades its certification tracks in order to better validate a professional’s skills, cover the newest technologies and be in line with current job roles and today’s IT practitioners’ interests or aspirations. 

Cisco has made significant changes to most its programs, revising to new versions, retiring some options and adding more contemporary opportunities. Various tracks have been merged into one exam to better showcase specific proficiencies for those who had their eye on getting certified as a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT), Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP) or Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE).

Exam candidates are encouraged to check the list of Cisco’s Retired Certification Exams (or those soon-to-retire) to choose another Cisco certification to pursue, according to where they are in their career path and to enroll in meaningful training.

On May 29, 2020, Cisco replaced the two current exams (210-250 SECFND and 210-255 SECOPS) for the CCNA Cyber Ops certification, which has been retired, with the Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate that “prepares candidates to begin a career working with associate-level cybersecurity analysts within security operations centers.”

Is your cert still valid/valuable?

As Cisco technologies change and their products are made obsolete, certifications and exams are retired. Although no new certifications will be issued and no recertification will be possible, the actual credential is still legitimate and will be active until its expiration date (typically three years after passing the exam). Certification holders, then, might ask themselves whether or not their credentials are still valuable.

There are many reasons why a retired or soon-to-be-retired certification can still be valuable. First of all, it still proves expertise in the use of a system or in the handling of specific technology. If the certification has simply been made part of a new option or has been just updated, it does not devalue the knowledge the professional has demonstrated to gain the credential. Furthermore, even if the certification has not been substituted or pertains to outdated technology, it still proves the general ability of the professional to master related concepts that are at the base of any other updated system or technology.

IT practitioners can also explore the options offered by Cisco to transfer to a newer credential. Sometimes, a transition will be offered if the older certification is still in its validity period to the closest option in the new path.

Should I list retired certifications on my resume?

Definitely include your Cisco certification in your resume! Do just that even if the exam has been retired. Certified professionals — be it entry, intermediate or expert-level — will grab the attention of employers, especially at companies supporting Cisco products and services. Therefore, Cisco certifications (retired or not) will help add depth to a resume, plus make it searchable for recruiters and employers.

Having a certification proves expertise in the use of a particular product, in-depth knowledge of the technology covered and ensures that the candidate has the basic knowhow needed to master the management of the newer technologies. It also shows that the candidate has the will and drive to keep up-to-date in the field and is a measure of the amount of work that he or she has placed into increasing knowledge. Also, in many cases, the exam was retired not because the knowledge tested is blatantly outdated but simply because new topics might have been added or the offer was streamlined by the vendor. Adding retired certifications to a resume cannot hurt, especially if accompanied by other certifications still current.


With Cisco set to retire some of its certifications and exams at some point this year, is there some value for the credential holder to still certify and list these credentials on a resume? The answer obviously depends on many different factors. 

It would make sense in many cases to quickly shift preparation towards covering the domains of the new test in order to acquire a more up-to-date certification. However, if the student is ready to go and has prepared for the retiring test and the certification covers subjects that match the professional’s current or wished position, then a retiring certification can still be the right choice. Passing the test and acquiring a credential is still a testament of the professional’s knowledge and skills, and the certification will still be valid. In addition, in many cases, it will allow the credential holder an accelerated path towards getting the newer version too.

Completing a soon-to-be-retiring certification also makes sense when the professional has already passed one of a number of required tests needed to certify. For example, a professional who had already passed 210-250 SECFND should have tried to complete 210-255 SECOPS before May 28th to acquire CCNA Cyber Ops Associate certification and badge before retirement so as not to waste the time, money and energy spent in preparation. The credential is expired but still valid and valuable.

Cisco certifications are highly valued throughout the tech industry and are among the most prestigious credentials for developers and networking professionals. These qualifications can give careers a boost, even if they get retired and become obsolete — especially for work in companies that use Cisco technology in their IT infrastructure. A retired but still valid certification can still fulfill training requirements and prove employers (current and potential) that the employee masters basic concepts required to perform the job.

Maintaining certification status is becoming increasingly important. To realize their full potential, self-commitment to the profession, and to be more marketable in the field, professionals need to continue moving on by pursuing recertification or certifying in the newer technologies as they come available. Preparing to face the newest credentialing paths as they come available is important to boost the value of expired/retired certifications through Cisco certification courses and learning material but also through qualified third-party training companies.

FREE role-guided training plans

FREE role-guided training plans

Get 12 cybersecurity training plans — one for each of the most common roles requested by employers.



  1. Cisco certifications, Cisco, Inc.
  2. Why Get Cisco Certified?, Cisco Networking Academy
  3. IT Resume Tips for Cisco Professionals, Pluralsight LLC.
  4. Training Catalog, Cisco, Inc.
  5. Retired Certifications, Cisco, Inc.
  6. Retired Certification Exams, Cisco, Inc.
  7. Career certification exams, Cisco, Inc.
  8. Cisco Salaries in the United States,
  9. Cisco certifications and related career paths, ITCareerFinder
  10. Cisco Certification Guide: Overview and Career Paths, Business News Daily
  11. Why getting Cisco-certified is core to a networking career, TechCrunch
Daniel Brecht
Daniel Brecht

Daniel Brecht has been writing for the Web since 2007. His interests include computers, mobile devices and cyber security standards. He has enjoyed writing on a variety of topics ranging from cloud computing to application development, web development and e-commerce. Brecht has several years of experience as an Information Technician in the military and as an education counselor. He holds a graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and a Master of Science in Information Technology.