CCNP Worth Pursuing with Little Cisco/ NOC Experience?

Fulcrum45Fulcrum45 Member Posts: 615 ■■■■■□□□□□
CCNP Worth Pursuing with Little Cisco/ NOC Experience?


I'm trying to consider just how far I want to wade into the Cisco waters here. I love networking but frankly I don't do much of it day to day. I could make the argument that I've done CCNA level stuff around work but nothing really in depth. Since I rarely touch a Cisco device is it worth it for me to start working for my CCNP or should I look to get my hands on more experience first?

Comments

  • shortstop20shortstop20 Member Posts: 161 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Get more hands on experience, I would not at all recommend a CCNP for someone who isn't touching Cisco stuff everyday.
    CCNA Security - 6/11/2018
    CCNP TShoot - 3/7/2018
    CCNP Route - 1/31/2018
    CCNP Switch - 12/10/2015
    CCNA R/S - 1/14/2015
  • NOC-NinjaNOC-Ninja Member Posts: 1,403
    Do what you want to do.
    If you dont have experience then build a lab. Buy those switches and routers to get exposed to it. Install gns3 in your laptop.

    Personally, I would concentrate on things that I am being exposed everyday. Lets say you are systems, get MS, redhat, or VM certs... Same if you are going for networks.
  • tunerXtunerX Member Posts: 447 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Technical skills are perishable. If you don't work with it you will end up wasting the time you spent studying.

    Unless you are planning to work at an organization that uses Cisco after completing your cert and study efforts, I don't think you should do it.
  • Fulcrum45Fulcrum45 Member Posts: 615 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I appreciate the insight, gang. I had a feeling this might be the case. I'm immensely interested in going further but I'm thinking all the time, money and effort to get this cert just to ultimately become a paper CCNP isn't worth it.
  • hurricane1091hurricane1091 Member Posts: 918 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Most CCNP level stuff doesn't make sense until you're in the field honestly.
  • PCTechLincPCTechLinc Senior Member King City, CAMember Posts: 646 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I am definitely going for CCNP after I finish my CCDA (hopefully this year). Problem is that I don't currently have employment on the networking side. My position is responsible for the server side. My study focus has been networking, but my actual experience is more servers. There's my catch-22. I don't want to be a paper CCNP either, but I figure I need to do something to prove myself if I want to get the networking job without starting at the bottom. Financially, I just can't afford to take a lower-paying job than what I already have.

    NOTE: Not trying to hijack this thread.
    Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management - Western Governors University
    Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance - Western Governors University
    Bachelor of Science in Network Administration - Western Governors University
    Associate of Applied Science x4 - Heald College
  • hurricane1091hurricane1091 Member Posts: 918 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The biggest problem without having experience and getting the CCNP, is that you might not comprehend why certain things are done. If we just use a simple thing like redistribution of routing protocols, you may be left wondering why would you ever use different routing protocols to begin with, and when this may come into play. An easy example I could give is having a primary and backup circuit at a branch office. One uses BGP, the other OSPF. BGP is administratively preferred and thus always used, and it's a classic case of how two routing protocols may come into use. The LAN uses EIGRP too, so both routing protocols need to be redistributed into it.
  • Fulcrum45Fulcrum45 Member Posts: 615 ■■■■■□□□□□
    PCTechLinc wrote: »
    I am definitely going for CCNP after I finish my CCDA (hopefully this year). Problem is that I don't currently have employment on the networking side. My position is responsible for the server side. My study focus has been networking, but my actual experience is more servers. There's my catch-22. I don't want to be a paper CCNP either, but I figure I need to do something to prove myself if I want to get the networking job without starting at the bottom. Financially, I just can't afford to take a lower-paying job than what I already have.

    NOTE: Not trying to hijack this thread.
    I'm in the same boat as you. Regardless of what my job title says (currently it's 'Network Administrator') I'm still just a Sys Admin/ Service Desk Admin with network responsibilities as projects (or problems) arise. I find servers boring and would love a career in networking but an entry level job wont keep the family fed. The best I can think to do is try to finish my MCSA and look towards a CCNA: Security cert later on.
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Member Posts: 879
    CCNP:RS is, arguably, an entry level certification, and it is part of the Cisco Net Academy program (well, technically the classes use the CCNP books - you don't take the actual CCNP exams). I don't see why you would need very specific real life experience to understand the material.
  • tunerXtunerX Member Posts: 447 ■■■□□□□□□□
    fredrikjj wrote: »
    CCNP:RS is, arguably, an entry level certification, and it is part of the Cisco Net Academy program (well, technically the classes use the CCNP books - you don't take the actual CCNP exams). I don't see why you would need very specific real life experience to understand the material.

    The P stands for professional. CCENT/CCNA are entry level.

    At the CCNP level you should be able to build fairly complex R&S networks with full optimizations and little guidance.

    A paper CCNP without full time, real world experience is why certifications get flak.
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Member Posts: 879
    tunerX wrote: »
    The P stands for professional. CCENT/CCNA are entry level.

    At the CCNP level you should be able to build fairly complex R&S networks with full optimizations and little guidance.

    A paper CCNP without full time, real world experience is why certifications get flak.

    The P might stand for professional, but what matters is the content. CCNP has basic STP, vlans, OSPF, EIGRP, a little bit of BGP, etc. You don't need to be a "professional" to understand those things. It's also an implementation focused exam, not a design exam. It will teach you how some protocols work, but not how to use them in an optimal way.

    PS.
    Whether it makes sense from a career stand point is not what I'm talking about btw. I'm just saying that the material is not harder than college classes that young adults study and pass all the time.
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Member Posts: 879
    I mean, it's totally normal everywhere else to study things beyond what your current capabilties are. For example, when you are getting a software degree or something along those lines, you might, for training purposes, implement compilers and filesystems and all kinds of stuff that you would not be tasked with as a fresh graduate. However, implementing those things probably makes you a better developer. It seems universal to me that students are given tasks in school that are harder than the entry level tasks that they are expected to work on when they get their first job. Why wouldn't the same logic apply to networking?
  • tunerXtunerX Member Posts: 447 ■■■□□□□□□□
    fredrikjj wrote: »
    The P might stand for professional, but what matters is the content. CCNP has basic STP, vlans, OSPF, EIGRP, a little bit of BGP, etc. You don't need to be a "professional" to understand those things. It's also an implementation focused exam, not a design exam. It will teach you how some protocols work, but not how to use them in an optimal way.

    PS.
    Whether it makes sense from a career stand point is not what I'm talking about btw. I'm just saying that the material is not harder than college classes that young adults study and pass all the time.

    The content isn't entry level content.

    It's nice that you think that Cisco's professional level certs are basic entry level. We can chalk that up to braggadocio.
  • shortstop20shortstop20 Member Posts: 161 ■■■□□□□□□□
    fredrikjj wrote: »
    The P might stand for professional, but what matters is the content. CCNP has basic STP, vlans, OSPF, EIGRP, a little bit of BGP, etc. You don't need to be a "professional" to understand those things. It's also an implementation focused exam, not a design exam. It will teach you how some protocols work, but not how to use them in an optimal way.

    PS.
    Whether it makes sense from a career stand point is not what I'm talking about btw. I'm just saying that the material is not harder than college classes that young adults study and pass all the time.

    The content on STP, OSPF and EIGRP within CCNP is certainly not "basic".
    CCNA Security - 6/11/2018
    CCNP TShoot - 3/7/2018
    CCNP Route - 1/31/2018
    CCNP Switch - 12/10/2015
    CCNA R/S - 1/14/2015
  • volfkhatvolfkhat Member Posts: 947 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Fulcrum45 wrote: »
    I'm in the same boat as you. Regardless of what my job title says (currently it's 'Network Administrator') I'm still just a Sys Admin/ Service Desk Admin with network responsibilities as projects (or problems) arise. I find servers boring and would love a career in networking but an entry level job wont keep the family fed. The best I can think to do is try to finish my MCSA and look towards a CCNA: Security cert later on.

    Best way to learn... is to be surrounded by people who are More Knowledgeable than yourself :]

    How much are you making right now?
    Maybe you can land at a NOC somewhere?

    Or, move to a company large enough to move-around later?


    I walked away from my sysadmin job last year too.
    Took the summer off.
    Was lucky enough to land a level-1 Noc gig.

    Took a paycut;
    now i'm working with Juniper most of the day; but also get a chance to touch Palo ALto, IOS routers, Layer 3 switches, and learning about BGP, VRFs, and VPNs, etc.
    (i havent even gotten to Wireshark, NX-OS f5 LTM yet!)

    The lesser-pay sucks;
    the grunt-work sucks;
    but boy am i learning real stuff.

    With a little luck, I will be getting my intro f5 cert; and also the Palo Alto ACE.
    Next year, i will start my ccnp journey.


    If you want to make a Change.... you gotta be the change.
    (yes, easier said than done)
  • Fulcrum45Fulcrum45 Member Posts: 615 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Appreciate the insight, gang. I'm not making a crazy salary so it's not impossible to think I could take a minor pay cut to get the ball rolling. OR I could do another gig overseas where they can care less if you have experience and just want the certs. I know that's not ideal but it would be a way out of server purgatory :)
  • dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 579 ■■■■□□□□□□
    My only worry about NOC work would be making sure the org. you work for is at the right size/scale that they're willing to grow their NOC staff. Places I've worked see them as a commodity and don't believe they deserve to take on more responsibility.
  • drewbert87drewbert87 Member Posts: 16 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Just to throw a little curveball into this, I work in a NOC currently and while I do log into Cisco devices here and there, mostly we are doing Sysadmin type stuff and monitoring. I'm currently taking on every extra networking related project I can get my hands on and I've been fortunate to be involved in a few. Would you guys still advise against CCNP in my case? I really love Cisco networking and want to work towards more networking responsibilities within my company. Thoughts?
  • dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 579 ■■■■□□□□□□
    drewbert87 wrote: »
    I really love Cisco networking and want to work towards more networking responsibilities within my company. Thoughts?

    I don't see why not to be honest. I'm not sure why people are making out that the CCNP is sacred knowledge. It's not like you're brain dumping and you'll still need to recert every 3 years anyway.

    When I was at University we had to learn much more complex and vague topics which seemed to have no applicability. As long as you lab the heck out of the topics and get comfortable with them and don't try just learn the material to pass the exam. I don't see why you wouldn't deserve to be called a CCNP.
  • shortstop20shortstop20 Member Posts: 161 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Because there are lots of troubleshooting scenarios that an engineer with experience will encounter that a paper CCNP has never seen.
    CCNA Security - 6/11/2018
    CCNP TShoot - 3/7/2018
    CCNP Route - 1/31/2018
    CCNP Switch - 12/10/2015
    CCNA R/S - 1/14/2015
  • volfkhatvolfkhat Member Posts: 947 ■■■■■■■□□□
    drewbert87 wrote: »
    Would you guys still advise against CCNP in my case?

    my 2 cents:
    As long as you are getting some kind of networking hands-on in your current role... go for it.
    More Knowledge is rarely a Bad thing.

    Even If you were just a SysAdmin, Or programmer, DBA, Web Developer, whatever.....
    you could STILL get it.
    But you will probably never get any Return on Investment from it.

    R.O.I., that's all you need to consider.

    Consider this:
    If you got your ccnp sooner (than later); maybe you can switch to a dedicated Network ROle at your current employer? That way, you can get really good ExP!

    But if your employer blocked you from moving... you could just Quit, and find some other ccna-level position.
    Get your EXP elsewhere.... then Slap CCNP onto your Resume :]
  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    I didn't read every comment to see if this has been said, but I would broaden your base skill sets like A+ / MCSA / CCENT / CCNA while getting work experience, work experience is more important than certifications when moving up the food chain.

    Also, you will forget most of what you learned by the time you get a job that requires CCNP level skills, then you will be THAT guy with CCNP in his email signature, without a clue how to fix a complex network configuration (not that it is easy even with the skills but still).
  • adrianm68adrianm68 Member Posts: 65 ■■□□□□□□□□
    This is a great thread, not very motivating, but great none the less. I am in the same situation as the OP, and presently studying switch on the NP path. But without a job that is remotely technical, the skills seem very 'perishable'. Perhaps I am wasting my time. I am prepared to drop salary for a NOC job, but I never hear back from recruiters. Getting into middle age, with management jobs behind me, perhaps its too late in the game to go back to technical (was MCSE and Netapp architect 10 years ago), and I might be better off in management. Problem is, I am really enjoying the Cisco cert path, and the technology....
    2017 Goals: Cisco: [x]Switch [ ]Route [ ]Tshoot

    Cisco engineer's command to teach his dog to sit: "no stand"
  • Fulcrum45Fulcrum45 Member Posts: 615 ■■■■■□□□□□
    ande0255 wrote: »
    I didn't read every comment to see if this has been said, but I would broaden your base skill sets like A+ / MCSA / CCENT / CCNA while getting work experience, work experience is more important than certifications when moving up the food chain.

    Also, you will forget most of what you learned by the time you get a job that requires CCNP level skills, then you will be THAT guy with CCNP in his email signature, without a clue how to fix a complex network configuration (not that it is easy even with the skills but still).
    I'm currently working on my MCSA because I actually do have decent amount of sys admin experience plus it's an attempt to make my certs a bit more well rounded. I'm thinking a decent compromise would be that I hover around the CCNA sector until I can make the excuse to work on a more advanced cert. I've always found wireless pretty interesting icon_wink.gif
  • volfkhatvolfkhat Member Posts: 947 ■■■■■■■□□□
    adrianm68 wrote: »
    I am prepared to drop salary for a NOC job, but I never hear back from recruiters. Getting into middle age, with management jobs behind me, perhaps its too late in the game....

    Hmmm... so how does your resume read?
    Does it read something like "Former Manager with 10+ years of EXP Now looking for entry network positions?".

    I dont know anything about your situation (obviously), but if you are trying to land an entry-level network gig... your resume needs to play the part.
    Keep it around 2-pages;
    don't include All your jobs;
    don't include unrelated skills;
    don't include the year that you got your degree, etc

    You want your resume to Sound like someone in their mid 20's.
    (maybe slap the CCNA logo at top of the first page)

    Creating a narrowed resume should at least get you some phonecalls...
  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    Yes. I have customers that have their own AS transfer running BGP as an MPLS, pharmacies that are nationwide using RIPv2 to share routes. Others I see very heavy distribution, even if I for some reason don't get certified the experience is invaluable.
  • adrianm68adrianm68 Member Posts: 65 ■■□□□□□□□□
    volfkhat wrote: »
    Hmmm... so how does your resume read?
    Does it read something like "Former Manager with 10+ years of EXP Now looking for entry network positions?".

    I dont know anything about your situation (obviously), but if you are trying to land an entry-level network gig... your resume needs to play the part.
    Keep it around 2-pages;
    don't include All your jobs;
    don't include unrelated skills;
    don't include the year that you got your degree, etc

    You want your resume to Sound like someone in their mid 20's.
    (maybe slap the CCNA logo at top of the first page)

    Creating a narrowed resume should at least get you some phonecalls...

    Volfkhat,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I might try that. It will certainly define whether my previous roles are holding me back.

    Adrian
    2017 Goals: Cisco: [x]Switch [ ]Route [ ]Tshoot

    Cisco engineer's command to teach his dog to sit: "no stand"
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