The value of a CCNP-Security cert in the job search

Cat5Cat5 Member Posts: 297 ■■■□□□□□□□
I was laid off from my last networking job, and I'm looking for something else now. I have my CCNA and a Security+, which have taken me far but I think I need more. I've been working for a big carrier for the last several years, and during my job hunt I've noticed that about 1/3 of the advertised networking jobs want firewall experience or the job ad has "security" in the job title. Carriers don't configure firewalls - those are for private companies. I worked for less than a year for one, so I at least have some basic understanding of them (with Checkpoint). Nor did my carrier do much with security. Again, that's for private businesses.

The logical thing is to go after something that employers want/need. With the demand for firewalls and security that I see, I thought that getting a CCNP-Security cert might be better than CCNP-R&S, even though it's an additional test. I'm getting older, so I don't have a lot of time to chase higher-level certs (not to mention the money required for them and that I don't have a job right now). But I've also read on these forums that businesses are moving away from Cisco and that a CCNP/S isn't particularly asked for? Unfortunately, I can't get security or firewall experience without a job, so I have to work on the cert-side. I've never seen a job ad asking for, say, a Palo Alto firewall certification, or for that matter a CCNP/S cert. I just see lots of requests for a CCNP/R&S cert and firewall experience. I figured that a CCNP/S would kill two birds with one stone - it would put me at an NP level and would also give me security credibility with the HR people or the hiring manager.

Would it be better to get the NP R/S first, then the NP-S after? Sure - but unfortunately I don't have the time for both. I just don't know if the general, non-firewall knowledge of security that comes with an NP/S would pay off after all the work to get it. And I understand that a CCNA/Security is never asked for by employers. At this point I'm considering either the NP/R&S, NP/S, JNCIA (Juniper cert), or a wireless cert (wireless is also in demand). i see a lot of these specifically asked for, all except the NP/S.


  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Member Posts: 1,539 ■■■■■■□□□□
    CCNP:R&S....hands down.

    1. CCNP:Security, will require you to get CCNA plus the 4 NP exams...a total of are probably looking at a year to a year and a half.
    2. CCNP:Security does not have a lot of material out there, and you would basically have to get the official Cisco courses....about $1,000 per exam if memory serves me correct. CCNP:R&S has alot of material, including official cert guides for all three exams....and VIRL is very inexpensive. You might spend $1,000 on your entire CCNP:R&S.
    3. If you have a solid networking foundation with the CCNP:R&S, you should be able to land a job to at minimum set you in the right direction. Plus you already have some experience so it will make it easier.
    4. Did you see how many job ads want Cisco Wireless certs? I have never heard water cooler talk of that being a high demand, especially when compared to CCNP:R&S.
    5. I don't think a company is going to let you just walk into their datacenter and start handling firewalls without experience.....get in via the networking route.
  • MitMMitM Member Posts: 622 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I agree with TechGuru. As someone who was going for the CCNP Security last year, I decided to put it on hold (maybe permanently). As TG said, there is not a lot of material out there, getting access to the equipment covered in that exam is tough and the material is somewhat outdated. CCNP R&S would be a great choice.

    I'm not sure where you're from but while you may not see a lot of job titles asking for PCNSE (Palo Alto certification), there are plenty of jobs that are looking for Palo Alto experience. I get contacted on LinkedIn all the time due to my PCNSE. It's worth learning and there's good options for pretty cheap training
  • viper75viper75 Member Posts: 726 ■■■■□□□□□□
    It depends where you want to end up. 99% of my job is with ASA NGFWs and a few Checkpoint firewalls. You always need a solid foundation when it comes to R/S. That comes 1st, then you branch out.

    The CCNP Security is much harder simply because there's very limited study material for it. Like others have said, the NP R/S has tons of resources to study from.

    I'm currently working to renew my NP:Sec with the VPN test SIMOS. Then I'm going to tackle the IE Sec. I also want to see if I can squeeze time for the NP R/S too.

    Think where you want to be 5 years from now.
    CCNP Security - DONE!
    CCNP R&S - In Progress...
    CCIE Security - Future...
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