Is CCNP Still Worth It in 2017?

JacktivatedJacktivated Member Posts: 39 ■■□□□□□□□□
There's been a lot of announcements, even from Cisco execs, saying that networking as we know it will be completely different in the near future, thanks to SDN and cloud, mainly AWS. That the future network admin/engineer will likely be someone mostly versed in programming and scripting, that also has some networking knowledge. They've also added SDN to the new CCNA v3 curriculum.

While I realize this doesn't change anything now or in the near future, I certainly don't want to finally complete the CCNP only to find out within a couple years that it's becoming irrelevant and I better get an AWS or VCP-NV certification if I want to stay employed. I hound also mention that I'm nearly 44 years old so I don't have the luxury of starting over again and again. While there's certainly no guarantees in this industry, I try to do my research and make the smartest decisions I can about the right path for success and then stay on it the best I can.


So, before I spend the next year of my life studying for and paying $900 for exams alone, I want to know if it's still worth it to pursue the CCNP R/S, I want to ask if you all think it's still worth it and why (or why not)?

Thanks. I'm looking forward to your input.

Comments

  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    Yes. A good grasp of the fundamentals - which is what R+S is - will be useful even for SDN. It'll take a quite a few years before SDN takes over everything. Just look at IPv6, for how fast things are adopted.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • Danielh22185Danielh22185 Member Posts: 1,195 ■■■■□□□□□□
    There's been a lot of announcements, even from Cisco execs, saying that networking as we know it will be completely different in the near future, thanks to SDN. That the future network admin/enhineer will likely be someone mostly versed in programming and scripting, that also has some networking knowledge.

    So, before I spend the next year of my life studying for and paying $900 for exams alone, I want to know if it's still worth it to pursue the CCNP R/S, I want to ask if you all think it's still worth it and why (or why not)?

    Thanks. I'm looking forward to your input.

    It's absolutely worth it! Core networking principles are not going anywhere. Also the term software defined networking has been around a LONG time and it tends to freak people out and is generally a loose term. Will there be things automated in the future to a point of needing less administrative overhead? Sure, but a it's not like we are going to "SKYNET" where networks will become self-ware and start configuring themselves (not yet anyway icon_wink.gif). However in the regards to SDN, will it be worth while also studying on the side or keeping up-to-date on items pumping in from that world? Sure. My company for example uses a TON of SDX virtual networks, however in the end those virtual network STILL rely on the core underlying network for connectivity.

    There will always be a need for network engineers with core fundamental knowledge of networks. Will our job scope change a bit over the years? Absolutely! That is why it is so important to keep up with the technology trends and keep yourself marketable.

    Also it can never hurt to pick up some programming skills. I plan to start delving into python soon myself.
    Currently Studying: IE Stuff...kinda...for now...
    My ultimate career goal: To climb to the top of the computer network industry food chain.
    "Winning means you're willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else." - Vince Lombardi
  • Legacy UserLegacy User Unregistered / Not Logged In Posts: 0 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Yes it is still worth it. Few companies are including some form of automation into their workflow. As time progresses and people feel more comfortable with those tools then yes in 5 years you will definitely see more jobs asking for some sort of SDN skill. With that said you need to know the core knowledge of how things supposed to work. The FUTURE network engineer will need it but in the next few years having a CCNP level knowledge is becoming crucial even at a junior level.
  • hurricane1091hurricane1091 Member Posts: 918 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Some automation is going on but most companies are traditional so far. Core networking knowledge needs to be understood before you can program things. SDN is many years away from mainstream adoption. The gear is not cheap, and there has to be a need for it. Not scared over here.
  • JobeneJobene Member Posts: 63 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Sdn is not the holy grail, as much people think....you still need people and knowledge.... all this is included in a ccnp ;)
  • negru_tudornegru_tudor Senior Member Member Posts: 473 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Analog lines and ISDN is still around. Food for thought :)
    2017-2018 goals:
    [X] CIPTV2 300-075
    [ ] SIP School SSCA
    [X] CCNP Switch 300-115 [X] CCNP Route 300-101 [X] CCNP Tshoot 300-135
    [ ] LPIC1-101 [ ] LPIC1-102 (wishful thinking)
  • JacktivatedJacktivated Member Posts: 39 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the replies so far, everyone. I appreciate the feedback and look forward to hearing even more opinions.
  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    I have learned over time that the best certifications you can go after is what you currently work with, as you don't want to have a CCNP level interview, and get ripped to shreds on the technical questions because they aren't in Cisco exam format.

    If you're not in a role that requires the CCNP I don't think it is worth putting yourself through it, it makes sense for me to do at this point as my company is in dire need of people with knowledge of BGP, DMVPN's, etc.

    And the SDN's (at least that I work on) are just virtualized routers / switches / ASA's that use the same infrastructure as router and switch stacks, just the tools to access their environments is a bit of extra learning, and it's a bit more object oriented like making ACL's with object-group's so you can remove and add IP addresses to that group without messing with the ACL's / NATing.

    SDN so far in my working with IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) or "Cloud delivered applications" on the "Cloud" infrastructure side has been very similar to what is taught in CCNP R/S and CCNP Security topics thus far.

    /rant
  • negru_tudornegru_tudor Senior Member Member Posts: 473 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Well this whole SDN bit is more like an umbrella term encompassing bits from:

    - QoS
    - Traffic shaping / Netflow
    - Control Plane - Data Plane separation
    - Some scripting which allows for some degree of application awareness

    If you're studying for the CCNP, you'll learn about CEF which is pretty much a precursor to this whole SDN thing. You have your control plane (router processor) and data plane (asics on line cards) which in the bigger, MODULAR Cisco switches 65xx or nexus are actually separated. The line cards you slot into the chassis get a low-level forwarding information base table (cooked from the IOS into hardware language) so that traffic passing through these line cards don't always have to interact with the CPU; the ASICs will do the forwarding 90% of the time.

    Now if you could have that route processor sit on a COTS server or VM and turn those line cards into bare-metal switches then you've pretty much started to go "SDN" lol. Now throw in some QoS policies / traffic shaping rules on the controller and have a script monitor traffic statistics (ie. Netflow) and change those QoS policies based on how the traffic looks like and you've made it.

    However, you'll need to know how a network works and how the hardware was thought out. The CCNA just gives you an idea of how things can look like; CCNP starts opening doors & CCIE will make you feel small :). SDN just builds upon what was already there; it's a natural stepping stone but you will have to crawl before you can run ;)

    Hope this helps / gives you some direction.
    2017-2018 goals:
    [X] CIPTV2 300-075
    [ ] SIP School SSCA
    [X] CCNP Switch 300-115 [X] CCNP Route 300-101 [X] CCNP Tshoot 300-135
    [ ] LPIC1-101 [ ] LPIC1-102 (wishful thinking)
  • router_switchrouter_switch Member Posts: 47 ■■□□□□□□□□
    That was a brilliant write up.
    I just got my CCNA and had doubts about going after CCNP and I saw this post. What books and material do you suggest for CCNP R/S?
  • negru_tudornegru_tudor Senior Member Member Posts: 473 ■■■□□□□□□□
    That was a brilliant write up.
    I just got my CCNA and had doubts about going after CCNP and I saw this post. What books and material do you suggest for CCNP R/S?

    umm..

    Was this for me? If yes, then please check my 300-115 thread in this forum's section. I've my SWITCH journey logged there.
    2017-2018 goals:
    [X] CIPTV2 300-075
    [ ] SIP School SSCA
    [X] CCNP Switch 300-115 [X] CCNP Route 300-101 [X] CCNP Tshoot 300-135
    [ ] LPIC1-101 [ ] LPIC1-102 (wishful thinking)
  • router_switchrouter_switch Member Posts: 47 ■■□□□□□□□□
    umm..

    Was this for me? If yes, then please check my 300-115 thread in this forum's section. I've my SWITCH journey logged there.

    Yeah, that was for you, forgot to quote you. Will check that thread now.
    Thanks
  • negru_tudornegru_tudor Senior Member Member Posts: 473 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yeah, that was for you, forgot to quote you. Will check that thread now.
    Thanks

    :)

    Thank you.

    Best of luck with your studies. I started with SWITCH (hated switching in CCNA) and, when said & done, I loved the material / knowledge in this one. Really really good stuff. The exam throws some curve balls at you but that's like every Cisco exam ever.

    On a different note, what are your feelings on the SSCA? Did it take you a long time to go through the course? Do they use some sort of Asterisk engine? etc. Just curious - will definitely have to look into sharpening my SIP skills in no time.
    2017-2018 goals:
    [X] CIPTV2 300-075
    [ ] SIP School SSCA
    [X] CCNP Switch 300-115 [X] CCNP Route 300-101 [X] CCNP Tshoot 300-135
    [ ] LPIC1-101 [ ] LPIC1-102 (wishful thinking)
  • router_switchrouter_switch Member Posts: 47 ■■□□□□□□□□
    :)

    Thank you.

    Best of luck with your studies. I started with SWITCH (hated switching in CCNA) and, when said & done, I loved the material / knowledge in this one. Really really good stuff. The exam throws some curve balls at you but that's like every Cisco exam ever.

    On a different note, what are your feelings on the SSCA? Did it take you a long time to go through the course? Do they use some sort of Asterisk engine? etc. Just curious - will definitely have to look into sharpening my SIP skills in no time.




    I have the same feeling about the switching, I am not really good in that area. I need to dig deep into STP concepts.

    SSCA wasn't that tough, I mean the video training is good but the exam wasn't up to the mark. The exam should be tougher and test the real world scenarios like Cisco does but every company has their own architecture.
  • itdaddyitdaddy Senior Member Member Posts: 2,089 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I feel the skills will always be needed because even though the software is doing things to be honest has anything really worked perfect under automatic everytning NOPE.
    so you need all the skills of an engineer plus software development. I am kind of excited being a Computer Science major, I would love Network engineering + software skills kind of cool. I say go for CCNP and then CCIE bro and then hammmer python and other programming and for sure LINUX+ skills..i am old too and i see hope andmore need for those who understand the foundations.

    not to scare you. CCNP Made me a better CCNA but CCIE is where you want to be bro. ! CCIE or bust!
  • dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 579 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The network is relied on now more than ever. Whatever the method of controlling the network someone needs to understand the underlying protocols and be willing to break it down at the packet level. Most of the Devs have no interest in dealing with packets/frames or dealing with protocols that don't directly impact them as most live with the abstraction that the network "Just works".

    Network Engineers and the CCNP will be valid for many years to come. People get all excited about buzzwords in the industry but as a whole it seems to move as fast as a glacier and is very resistant to change (see: IPv6, STP). Build up your fundamental knowledge base and don't be too distracted by upcoming technologies. That's not to say ignore them, you need to be aware and informed but don't obsess about knowing them over learning your core skills.
  • itdaddyitdaddy Senior Member Member Posts: 2,089 ■■■■□□□□□□
    dontstop:

    well said. bro perfect.
  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    negru_tudor you just blew my mind with that brief and accurate write up +1 props thingy for you!
  • ccie14023ccie14023 Member Posts: 183
    I would agree with many of the comments here. Please see my post on the value of a CCIE on my blog:

    The value of a CCIE - SubnetZero

    Many of the same questions apply to the CCNP. I work on SDN solutions and programmability at Cisco, so I think the perspective is useful. In addition, the certifications team is very committed to ensuring new concepts get rolled into the exams.
  • mbarrettmbarrett Member Posts: 397 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • SpetsRepairSpetsRepair Cisco/Fortinet/Meraki/Comptia Member Posts: 210 ■■■□□□□□□□
    With a CCNP/CCIE you can get a job anywhere. We had an engineer leave the company after getting certified, dude went somewhere else just with certs/experience alone..
  • chmodchmod Member Posts: 360 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Off course it is still worth it.
  • Legacy UserLegacy User Unregistered / Not Logged In Posts: 0 ■□□□□□□□□□
    With a CCNP/CCIE you can get a job anywhere. We had an engineer leave the company after getting certified, dude went somewhere else just with certs/experience alone..

    Just certs/experience, what else do you need to get a job? ;P lol
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