Cisco Systems today announced new training capabilities for IT professionals to address the data analytics and data center skills gap. According to the Cisco Global Cloud Analysis report, data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) will reach 600 zettabytes a year by 2020, and the data stored in data centers will grow five times its current volume globally by the same year. 

This massive increase in data is transforming business, as the evolution of updated infrastructure and new applications results in the channel focusing on delivering business outcomes rather than simple products or software solutions to their customers. For Cisco, the focus is shifting from connecting devices to leveraging data generated from the IoT, Antonella Corno, Senior Manager with Learning@Cisco told The VAR Guy

"The industry shift we are facing today is really the transition towards what is called digital business. You do everything digitally. You purchase stuff digitally. You order your services digitally," said Corno. And industries such as retail are beginning to move toward digitally-empowered sales and business models, where data informs what choices stores present to individual customers. "That's the digitization of business, and we are there at Cisco to support the technologies that are needed and, through Learning@Cisco, to train people on the skills that are needed to achieve those goals." 

To address this shift, Cisco is announced a two-part update to its training capabilities. The new certifications focus on job roles instead of specific Cisco products, said Corno.

First, Cisco announced a brand new Data and Analytics training track designed to certify individuals in big data management skills as we move into the age of IoT, when vast amounts of data will be collected from connected sensors and devices. According to Cisco, the new portfolio includes three major focuses:

  • The new data and analytics training offerings teaches learners an agile data integration method that simplifies access to information. This streamlined approach lets businesses pull greater value from growing volumes of data more quickly, without the need for additional resources.
  • The Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data and Analytics course trains an individual to design scalable, reliable and intelligent data center solutions using Cisco UCS® integrated infrastructure for big data and analytics.
  • The Data Virtualization training provides practical, hands-on skills with the Cisco® Data Virtualization Platform, including the Cisco Information Server and Business Directory.

Second, the company also updated its Data Center track, first established in 2012, to address emerging technology and changing best practices in that sector. Updates to the track include:

  • The CCNA, CCNP and CCIE Data Center certification exams and curricula have been completely revised to keep IT practitioners at the forefront of the latest key skills, technologies and industry best practices for data center infrastructure. This includes data center network management, streamlined operations through automation and the capability to implement unified computing and advanced virtualization. The programs provide the skills to establish policy-driven infrastructure across data center physical and virtual resources and the ability to secure the necessary data center resources. 
  • Certified IT practitioners will have validated skills for key roles needed to enable business transformation initiatives. Skills will help streamline data center operations, implement and manage solutions and technologies, and work closely with cloud and application services teams.
  • Continuing in the tradition of providing job-role-based certification programs, the updated portfolio establishes practical knowledge through an increased focus on hands-on curriculum.