Is the CCNP practical for me?

/usr/usr Member Posts: 1,768
I recently obtained my CCNA and have been considering going ahead and studying for my CCNP, even if it's a more long term goal, in between a couple other certifications, etc.

However, I have a few questions that I'd like to be answered before committing to it.

I realize the CCNP is obviously a vendor specific certification, like the CCNA, so configuration is going to be for Cisco gear. However, as I was studying for my CCNA I was happy the majority of the material was networking theory and application of that theory, but simply applying it to Cisco hardware. Meaning that after obtaining my CCNA, I feel more comfortable in the fact that I have the knowledge and feel confident in my ability to configure other vendors hardware to work the same way, even if it takes me longer to learn how to do it.

I was just curious if the CCNP exams follow the same path, or if they delve deeper into the Cisco specific stuff.

I don't use much Cisco hardware at work and I'm not sure that I will anytime in the near future, except when I run into it on rare occasion at a customer site.

My end goal is to become a better network engineer, with the ability to suggest, implement and support any vendors solution in any environment. I want to move more towards network convergence, implementing voice, video and data all over the same IP network.

For those of you who have completed part or all of the CCNP requirements, what is your opinion? Do you think it would be worth the time?

Comments

  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    The CCNP is along the same line as the CCNA in that it does have a lot of information that could be applied to any vendors gear. After all most of the protocols are standard protocols. You get Cisco's version of them and only the applicable Cisco commands, but the underlying theory is great to have regardless.

    If you don't work on Cisco gear, what kind of gear do you work with? I don't know if the CCNP will be the biggest help in finding employment if you don't have any Cisco exprience, but I guess it couldn't hurt either.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • kryollakryolla Member Posts: 785
    Cisco follows the RFC but also adds their own proprietary spin on the way they implement that specific technology, as do other vendors.
    Studying for CCIE and drinking Home Brew
  • /usr/usr Member Posts: 1,768
    If I decide to pursue the CCNP, it won't specifically be to help me find employment, as I already have a job where I imagine I'll be for quite some time to come. I primarily just want to learn more. However, if I'm going to take the time to learn new material, I find that doing so when pursuing a certification tends to work better as it gives you a set of requirements and adds some structure to the learning. Plus, having the certification will never hurt and gives me something to show for the time I put into learning new stuff rather than just being able to say "yeah, I know that".

    Although I have limited experience with Cisco hardware (aside from lab work at home), I do work with the equivalent level gear from other vendors. We primarily use 3Com for new deployments. I work with the occasional PIX or ASA, the occasional Sonicwall, etc. And who knows, I may run into a new site that has all Cisco hardware installed, or I may get a new job offer at any time where I will be exposed to Cisco hardware.

    I guess my overall question is, will the CCNP benefit me in the long run as far as becoming a better network engineer, or should I focus my effort elsewhere, on other certifications, etc?
  • itdaddyitdaddy Senior Member Member Posts: 2,089 ■■■■□□□□□□
    /USR

    a resounding YES. OMG..CCNP level is awesome. It teaches you the convergence of data voice and video..and I have seen other systems and yeah it is like computer programming. I program currently in Java, Javascript, perl, and SQL, and it is easy way easy to pick other topics up. I just ask how do you do this in so and so language..network engineer = programming; they are similar..you learn the protocols and commands and concepts and then translate them...I have heard juniper systems are great..but I am partial to Cisco..Cisco is the leader and well..
    100 percent yes on what you asked....icon_cheers.gif
  • mikej412mikej412 Member Posts: 10,086 ■■■■■■■■■■
    /usr wrote: »
    will the CCNP benefit me in the long run as far as becoming a better network engineer
    Yes!!!icon_thumright.gif

    Just remember the clock starts ticking when you take the first exam. An exam is "good" for 3 years, so you'll have 3 years from passing the first exam to complete all the requirements for the CCNP (or you'd need to redo any "expired" exam outside of a current 3 year period).

    While you will learn the "Cisco Way" of doing things on Cisco Equipment, you'll also learn lots of the industry standard stuff (the theory) to make it worth while (if you can survive EIGRP :D).
    itdaddy wrote: »
    you learn the protocols and commands and concepts and then translate them...I have heard juniper systems are great..
    Um, I think I agree with itdaddy. icon_eek.gif The more you know, the easier it is to learn even more. While you may have a steep learning curve when you learn something for the first time, when you shift to another vendor (or programming language) you already know the theory and really just need to learn the way the vendor does it (or the syntax of the new programming language or command interface).
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • /usr/usr Member Posts: 1,768
    So each subsequent CCNP exam counts as a CCNA renewal, but you must complete the entire CCNP certification within 3 years after passing the first exam?

    And yeah...I'm not too fond of learning ANY proprietary protocol or piece of software in that much depth unless it's something I work with on a regular basis, but I suppose it's just the nature of things. Hell, I didn't care much for EIGRP when I was studying for my CCNA, either.

    I know this may not really be the place to ask this, but as far as the "next step" goes after the CCNA, is the CCNP "it" among all vendors? Meaning, is there another vendor neutral or vendor specific networking certification that goes into the same depth as the CCNP does?

    I had strongly considered the CCNA:Voice, but I have no desire to earn a certification based on a system that I will not be using anytime in the forseeable future, not to mention the money that would be spent on the lab equipment.

    The CCNP just seems like something that I'm really going to have to commit to if I'm serious about finishing it. I want to learn the material, but it's just not something I'm sure I'm ready for yet. However, I can't see just selling all my lab equipment, either.

    Convince me! icon_lol.gif
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    /usr wrote: »
    So each subsequent CCNP exam counts as a CCNA renewal, but you must complete the entire CCNP certification within 3 years after passing the first exam?

    And yeah...I'm not too fond of learning ANY proprietary protocol or piece of software in that much depth unless it's something I work with on a regular basis, but I suppose it's just the nature of things. Hell, I didn't care much for EIGRP when I was studying for my CCNA, either.

    I know this may not really be the place to ask this, but as far as the "next step" goes after the CCNA, is the CCNP "it" among all vendors? Meaning, is there another vendor neutral or vendor specific networking certification that goes into the same depth as the CCNP does?

    I had strongly considered the CCNA:Voice, but I have no desire to earn a certification based on a system that I will not be using anytime in the forseeable future, not to mention the money that would be spent on the lab equipment.

    The CCNP just seems like something that I'm really going to have to commit to if I'm serious about finishing it. I want to learn the material, but it's just not something I'm sure I'm ready for yet. However, I can't see just selling all my lab equipment, either.

    Convince me! icon_lol.gif

    No offense, but if you need convincing you probably should just move on to something that is more interesting to you because you are correct that it will be something you really have to commit to. It seems like you are not very interested in the material which will make it A LOT harder to stay focused and commit to good study habits.

    There are other vendor specific options out there like Juniper and Nortel, but you will still find yourself in the same vendor specific study that seems to be throwing you off from the Cisco track. I am not aware of any vendor neutral networking certifications besides the Net+.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • /usr/usr Member Posts: 1,768
    No offense, but if you need convincing you probably should just move on to something that is more interesting to you because you are correct that it will be something you really have to commit to. It seems like you are not very interested in the material which will make it A LOT harder to stay focused and commit to good study habits.

    That was a light hearted attempt at humor on my part, but in all seriousness, I wouldn't even be asking these questions if I wasn't very interested in the material. On the contrary, I believe the obstacle I faced was being VERY interested in the material from a neutral/networking standpoint, but not a Cisco proprietary standpoint.

    I was looking more for stories and experiences from CCNP's, or those who are currently studying. How did what you learned help you with your general understanding of networking? Is it worth getting the CCNP if you're not going to be working with Cisco hardware daily? Are any CCNP's NOT working with Cisco hardware regularly?

    That kind of stuff.
  • itdaddyitdaddy Senior Member Member Posts: 2,089 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Mikej said:
    Um, I think I agree with itdaddy. icon_eek.gif The

    itdaddy said:

    ahahahahahhaah haahh---sick huh!? haahaa
    hahhahahaha. I am getting better on my typing! I am trying not to sound like an 11 year old! Or an American who has ESL.... ahhahhaha aaahah but thanks you made me icon_redface.gif
  • mikej412mikej412 Member Posts: 10,086 ■■■■■■■■■■
    /usr wrote: »
    Is it worth getting the CCNP if you're not going to be working with Cisco hardware daily?
    Yes!! icon_thumright.gif

    I wasn't joking over in the Juniper forum when I said (posted)
    mikej412 wrote: »
    Personal Observation

    Juniper should just make the Cisco CCNP or CCIP the prerequisite for the JNCIA/JNCIS Certifications. :D
    Some of the Juniper web site training stuff -- um, that I've seen on other people's computers at work as I walked by icon_wink.gif -- isn't shy about mentioning Cisco -- either to point out the similarities or differences.
    /usr wrote: »
    My end goal is to become a better network engineer, with the ability to suggest, implement and support any vendors solution in any environment. I want to move more towards network convergence, implementing voice, video and data all over the same IP network.
    Yep -- CCNP will help with that.
    /usr wrote: »
    And who knows, I may run into a new site that has all Cisco hardware installed, or I may get a new job offer at any time where I will be exposed to Cisco hardware.
    And yup to both of those..... a lot can happen over the next few years -- which coincides with the time you can spread the CCNP exams over :D
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I guess it really depends on what you mean by "worth getting". If you just want a structured learning path, then the CCNP is great for that.

    What I have learned in the Cisco world has definitely transferred over to other vendors equipment very well. I work with Cisco the majority of the time, but I also work with Juniper, Redback, Nortel, Foundry and Adtran gear. Most of the stuff is standards based and transfers quite easily to other vendors gear.

    Just go get the BSCI book and start reading, if you feel its too vendor biased then you can always move on to something else.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • redwarriorredwarrior Member Posts: 285
    Admittedly, I work with all Cisco equipment at work. However, I have learned a ton from my CCNP studies that is more about just plain networking that has helped me when working on network issues with other teams. I think studying for my CCNP exams has really changed the way I troubleshoot and look at network problems for the better, even if what I'm trying to figure out is why a printer is acting strange or a server isn't load balancing. I think it would be tough to go after the CCNA without some good experience with the Cisco CLI beyond just the CCNA stuff and it would also be tougher to find the motivation to keep learning the commands if you didn't work with Cisco equipment, but I think most of the theory is good stuff to learn and most of it follows IEEE RFC's fairly closely. I think if you can stomach some of the Cisco marketing stuff that is in the exams and deal with learning the configuration stuff, you'll find it rewarding.

    CCNP Progress

    ONT, ISCW, BCMSN - DONE

    BSCI - In Progress

    http://www.redwarriornet.com/ <--My Cisco Blog
  • /usr/usr Member Posts: 1,768
    After a lot of consideration, I believe I've decided to make the CCNP my primary goal right now. As much as I would like it to go faster, I'm guessing it will take me around a year to complete, if not longer. In between work, my personal life and trying to learn bits and pieces of voice when I can, it's just not practical for me to devote hours a day toward studying right now.

    I recently purchased the official CWNA guide and although I find the material interesting, I simply don't work with wireless enough and in that kind of depth to justify devoting that much time to studying, so I think I'm going to put that on hold for right now, or possibly read it in my spare time (if I even have any).

    Going for the CCNP is much more practical for me at this point, as I'm moving more and more towards managing larger projects where I'm the one who has to make the decisions about design, hardware, implementation, etc. Even though I generally don't use Cisco equipment, so far I've been doing quite well in taking my CCNA studies and applying what I learn to other vendors.

    Just figured I'd post back here and say that I appreciate those who offered their input and to let you all know what I decided. I'm sure I'll be posting here a lot more in the coming months.
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