On 23 October 2020, I took and passed the Cisco Certified DevNet Professional Core exam (350-901 DEVCOR) on my first attempt. I explain here the resources I used to study and pass this exam.
My background and experience
Before I explain what and how I have studied, you need to understand what I already knew, what was my background and experience with some of the topics of the exam before I started to study for it.
At the end of April 2018, I already passed a Cisco specialist certification on network automation. This was before the Cisco DevNet era. It was the Cisco Network Programmability Design and Implementation Specialist Certification. You can see on this post, the resources I used to study to pass this certification.
As you can see on this post, I had already done a lot of digging on the subject. And since then, I have gained skills in Ansible, Python, Netmiko, Git, Docker and other tools by using them in my daily work.
In addition, since 2018, I also had the chance to participate in training courses on Docker, Ansible and Kubernetes. I also attended a Cisco DevNet Express event in Zürich, in October 2019. With four days of practice labs on Cisco DNA center, ACI and NX-OS. And I did a lot of learning modules on the Cisco DevNet website.
So I started from this point to study and fill the gap in order to pass this exam.
Before I decided to take this exam, I had already seen Nick Russo‘s DevNet exams study plans. If you don’t know this already, I invite you to have a look at the job aid part of his site. Nick has done an excellent job preparing study plans for various Cisco DevNet exams. These plans include links to resources like books, YouTube videos, Pluralsight courses and Cisco DevNet learning modules. And a week by week study schedule for ten weeks of study with an estimated time for each resource. It is really great and useful to stay focus on the exam blueprint, because there is a lot of topics for the DevNet Core exam.
To use this study plan, you need a Pluralsight subscription. Because it contains a number of Nick’s courses on this platform. All other resources are free.
For my part, when I decided to register for the exam, I set myself the challenge of passing this exam in ten weeks. Not to follow Nick’s study plan to the letter, but to work at an intense pace and not too long to not lose motivation and focus. In the middle of the ten weeks, I took advantage of a month of free access to Pluralsight to take Nick’s courses. And the time before and after to study and do DevNet and my own labs.
And once again I want to say that Nick Russo’s courses on Pluralsight are really of excellent quality and were a huge help to me in passing this exam.
Another very important point: if you want to pass this exam, you have to get your hands dirty. This means that you have to write and test as much code and scripts as possible. Make your own Python scripts, Ansible playbooks, Docker and Cisco IOS containers, use git for your code, and so on. Read and understand scripts from others also. I used a lot the DevNet Sandboxes to test my scripts, as well as my own lab under EVE-NG.
The exam itself
Of course I cannot give details on the exam questions. But everything is available on the exam blueprint. However, what I can say is this exam is difficult, very difficult! It’s one of the hardest Cisco exams I’ve ever done, and I’ve done a lot of them, including IE written exams. Every single topic listed in the blueprint is tested in the exam. You have to ensure that you know well all the topics. Do not underestimate topics that you are somehow familiar with, you have to make sure that you understand everything clearly.
Another important point is time. There are many questions and some take several minutes to resolve. It’s not really possible to manage your time during the exam, since you can’t skip questions and go back. But you have to be careful not to waste too much time on a question. For my part, I finished the entire exam with only two minutes left.
One last point, I did the exam remotely, and it was a very good experience. You can find more details about Pearson-Vue remote exams on this post: https://aboutnetworks.net/onvue-experience/
Other Resources & Links
- DevCore exam description
- DevCore exam topics
- Daniels Networking Blog: My Cisco Certified DevNet Professional Journey, Part 1 by Nick Russo
- List of Nick Russo’s courses on Pluralsight
- Cisco DevNet