Cisco announced on Tuesday that it has expanded its certification portfolio to include specialists in industrial networking and other fields.
As information technologies (IT) and operational technologies (OT) converge, IP Networking and Ethernet connectivity plays an important role on the industrial plant floor. This leads to a demand for people who specialize not only in traditional control systems, or networking, or IT, but all three of these domains. In order to be efficient, plant technicians and control system engineers will have to be reskilled on networking, Cisco said.
According to the company, a total of 220,000 IT/OT engineers are needed every year, and the new Cisco Industrial Networking Specialist Certification aims at addressing this skills gap challenge.
“Manufacturers looking to establish a connected industrial enterprise require the ability to integrate information across IT and control systems,” said Gary Pearsons, vice president and general manager of Customer Support and Maintenance Business at Rockwell Automation. “Cisco’s announcement aligns with the need for collaboration between both the IT and operations organizations, driving the most effective and efficient enterprise-wide business outcomes. The Industrial Networking Specialist certification further expands the portfolio of products, solutions and services our customers can experience today through our collaboration with Cisco.”
The need for industrial networking specialists is also demonstrated by recent studies which show that many critical infrastructure companies have suffered data breaches over the past period. Research from Unisys and the Ponemon Institute revealed that 70% of such organizations reported at least one incident that led to loss of confidential information or disruption of operations. Furthermore, 64% of respondents anticipated at least one serious attack in the coming year.
In addition to industrial networking specialists, Cisco’s certification program is now also available for network programmability specialists and enterprise IT business specialists. The company has also made some changes to its CCNP Routing and Switching Certification, and announced the Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE) v10.0 Training, which helps learners design, configure and deploy an effective customer collaboration solution with integrated cloud and mobility features and APIs.