On the 1st of June 2018, Cisco has announced that it will retire the Cybersecurity Specialist certification on the 27st of July. To help with the retirement transition, Cisco has offered learning credits towards CCNA CyberOps certification to those who holds an active Cybersecurity Specialist certification.
For those who are not aware, Specialist-level certification is only valid for 2 years similar to CCIE. This means that candidates who take advantage of the learning credit and obtain CCNA CyberOps, will be downgrading from an Expert-level to an Associate-level certification when their Cybersecurity specialist certificate expires.
There are a couple of reasons that I can think of behind the retirement of the Cybersecurity Specialist certification.
If you compare CyberOps and Cybersecurity Specialist syllabus, you could see many similarities but it is difficult to judge the level of difficulty just by looking at the syllabus. For all we know the difficulty level of both CyberOps and Cybersecurity Specialist syllabus could the same! Giving Cisco another reason to retire the Specialist certificate.
Another possibility, which should not come as a surprise, is that Cisco intend to develop CyberOps into a full-fledged track with CCNP and CCIE level being offered possibly in preparation for their foray into SIEM solutions. That is not in the realm of the impossible considering the fact that Cisco has their finger in every type of security products except for SIEM.
Whatever the reason is, the decision made by Cisco to retire the Cybersecurity specialist certification and offering learning credits towards CyberOps will no doubt cement the legitimacy of CyberOps as a ‘mainstream’ certification track rather than an outlier like CCNA Industrial that goes no where.