Question for CCNPs and CCSPs - fun fun fun

Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
Greetings ALL:

I just got some exciting news today from one of the Tier II network engineers (about 2 Tiers above me). I was told today that there is a big big push towards cisco gear in our company. I don't want to stay in the eNoc for long so I need to move fast in order to move up. One of the big things is Cisco certs. Now since I already know I am going to do the CCNA/CCNA:S I have started to think beyond. A network engineer told me that if I wanted to get to Tier I network engineering I need to get a CCXP cert (esp CCSP) under my belt soon. So I have decided to finalize my sig and my cert path...almost. Not before I ask the good people of TE some questions:

Does anyone think it is possible to do the CCNP+CCSP in one year?
- I know this is about 8 professional level exams but since they are really pushing for it, I will really push for it.

Would Dynagen and a asa 5505 (or 2) be enough to get me through (along with a L3 switch)?

Which track is "harder"?

What would be the best order for the exams? (I was thinking first 2 BCSI, BCMSN, SRNS, IPS specialist, ISCW, ONT, Cisco ASA specialist)

What would be the most difficult exam out of the bunch?

And probably the most important question: IS the CCNP (or CCNP level knowledge) required for the CCSP?

I am really liking the CCSP track because all but 1 exam count towards an additional certification (more cisco buzzwords). I can already tell that my Enoc job is going to be easy and I will excel quickly. I just want to see what TEers think about getting all of those test done in a year.


Thanks folks,

knwminus
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Comments

  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    I'm planning on having an NP and SP by the end of 2010, and I'll be taking ICND2 within two weeks.

    I think the SP track will be more difficult simply because there are fewer resources for it (that situation is improving though).

    I'm planning on going through the NP track first. There's a lot of overlap between CCNA:S and ISCW, so I'm going to annihilate the CCNA:S after I wrap up the NP, and then go from there.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    dynamik wrote: »
    I'm planning on having an NP and SP by the end of 2010, and I'll be taking ICND2 within two weeks.

    lol is that a challenge?
    dynamik wrote: »

    I think the SP track will be more difficult simply because there are fewer resources for it (that situation is improving though).

    I'm planning on going through the NP track first. There's a lot of overlap between CCNA:S and ISCW, so I'm going to annihilate the CCNA:S after I wrap up the NP, and then go from there.

    How long do you plan to study each test and what materials will you use?
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    knwminus wrote: »
    lol is that a challenge?

    Sure ;)
    knwminus wrote: »
    How long do you plan to study each test and what materials will you use?

    Cisco Press, CBT Nuggets or Train Signal, Transcender, and my lab (which is fairly antiquated and might need a bit of upgrading or supplementing with dynamips/dynagen).

    I have no idea how long each exam will take. I'm just going to dive in and see how it goes. I'm not going to be too rigid about sticking to a time-line. Meeting a woman will cause everything to go out the window...
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    dynamik wrote: »
    Sure ;)



    Cisco Press, CBT Nuggets or Train Signal, Transcender, and my lab (which is fairly antiquated and might need a bit of upgrading or supplementing with dynamips/dynagen).

    I have no idea how long each exam will take. I'm just going to dive in and see how it goes. I'm not going to be too rigid about sticking to a time-line. Meeting a woman will cause everything to go out the window...

    If you do go with the CBT nuggets let me know how that goes for you. I was thinking about going with them for the CCSP.
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    Hell no! You're the one that threw down the bat song. I'm not helping the enemy; find your own path! icon_twisted.gif
  • tim100tim100 Posts: 162Member
    knwminus wrote: »
    Greetings ALL:

    Does anyone think it is possible to do the CCNP+CCSP in one year?
    - I know this is about 8 professional level exams but since they are really pushing for it, I will really push for it.

    Depending on your level of experience and how much dedication you put into it, yes it is possible. Especially if you have a home lab or Dynamips.
    knwminus wrote: »
    Would Dynagen and a asa 5505 (or 2) be enough to get me through (along with a L3 switch)?

    For the CCSP this should be sufficient.
    knwminus wrote: »
    Which track is "harder"?

    There really is no "harder" track. One track can be easier for one individual and harder for another. Again, this depends on that particular individual's level of experience with the equipment. I've seen Voice CCIEs who wouldn't even go near anything that had to do with Routing and Switching.
    knwminus wrote: »
    And probably the most important question: IS the CCNP (or CCNP level knowledge) required for the CCSP?

    Not necessarily CCNP level knowledge but it wouldn't be a bad thing. The CCNP and the CCIP are "more closely related".
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaPosts: 5,163Mod Mod
    knwminus wrote: »
    lol is that a challenge?

    You totally want to take on dynamik in a race for certs. You can take him. icon_lol.gif

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  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    dynamik wrote: »
    Hell no! You're the one that threw down the bat song. I'm not helping the enemy; find your own path! icon_twisted.gif

    lol lol I meant it as a motivator. icon_wink.gif

    But now I think it is an all out cert war icon_twisted.gif

    Or noticon_rolleyes.gif
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    tim100 wrote: »
    For the CCSP this should be sufficient.
    There really is no "harder" track. One track can be easier for one individual and harder for another. Again, this depends on that particular individual's level of experience with the equipment. I've seen Voice CCIEs who wouldn't even go near anything that had to do with Routing and Switching.

    Thats kind of hard to believe icon_eek.gif.
    At any rate I was thinking about bundling the CCNP/CCIP but an engineer said, get the CCSP if you want to get out of there so....I'm going to take his advice. The CBT nuggets are still for the old CCSP so I guess I will start with the CCNP since there seems to be more info avail and up 2 date training material. I think that 1 3550 + 1 Asa will be all I will be able to afford to add to my little lab. That should be enough.

    Since I want to retain the knowledge I obtain, I would also like to do some network defense and routing (ie, actually have someone attack my boxes). I have a traffic generator but I am not sure how I practice having someone cracking my boxes. I plan to do what ever I can on my own but I would really like to be able to focus on 1 thing. Maybe I can use backtrack to put together some automated scripts or something.
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    Dude, give us a VPN. We'll destroy your network icon_lol.gif

    But seriously, it's on. This is out on the internet; you can't back away now ;)
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    dynamik wrote: »
    Dude, give us a VPN. We'll destroy your network icon_lol.gif

    Don't say that, I might take you up on it. :)
    dynamik wrote: »
    But seriously, it's on. This is out on the internet; you can't back away now ;)

    Agreed.
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    knwminus wrote: »
    Don't say that, I might take you up on it. :)

    Oh, I was sincere. I start my OSCP on the 11th. I'd love to have another network to attack.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    dynamik wrote: »
    Oh, I was sincere. I start my OSCP on the 11th. I'd love to have another network to attack.

    Let me get my ASA nice and configured first.
  • AlexMRAlexMR Posts: 275Member
    I think one year for 9 exams is a little too much. Specially if the programs are near the difficulty of the BSCI. I havent taken the BSCI, but I did read the book except the Multicast chapter, and I can tell you that kind of material and the amount of it, was not meant to be studied and learned in 45days. No way.

    I also understand that BSCI is probably the most difficult of the CCNP exams and you can notice that in the amount of "failed BSCI today" kind of posts here.

    On the other hand, I have been studying for the CCNA voice for about 10days and 50-60hours (im unemployed) and I am practically ready for the exam. If those SP and NP tracks have exams that are as easy and relatively short programs like the CCNA voice then it is doable. I have seen the books and study materials and I dont think there's even one of those exams as short and easy as the CCNA voice, but I do know a CCNP,CCSP who insists that the SP track is by far the easiest of the professional level paths.

    Your kind of question is coming to my mind everyday because i have sooo much free time and I want to get the most out of it. I stopped thinking about it. I m just trying to study insane amount of hours and after several months the results will be there. Im sure.

    Good luck on your journey!

    P.S: Yesterday I had a long conversation with a guy that is C|EH and i dont know how mmuch of the program overlaps with the CCSP, but I think what you learn at it could be very benefial for anyone interested in Security. He also told me something between those lines...something like it is good to have the attackerperspective, not exclusively the defense...but he did tell me he was no CCSP, so he couldnt be sure it this perspective was covered in detail.
    Training/Studying for....CCNP (BSCI) and some MS.
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    CEH is a very broad overview of ethical hacking/penetration testing. It's nothing like the CCSP.
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    Wow!! A steel cage network certification grudge match?

    If you get lots of late night study time at work, you should be able to do both the CCNP and CCSP in one year -- and still do both well.

    Focus on your CCNA and then the CCNA:Security (and maybe the ISCW). But if you're serious about a networking career, you'll probably want to pick up Doyle's Routing TCP/IP Volume 1 and 2 and read those during your "down time" at work when you need a break from studying for the exams.

    The CCSP doesn't have the Cisco Press Certification books since they've been changing the CCSP exams even faster than the CCVP exams. That alone probably should make the CCNP a target before the CCSP.....

    .... Unless you're hot for Security and you see an opening (or an opportunity at work). There's nothing wrong with breaking into security by being the firewall guy -- just don't get stuck there.

    Go back to studying for the CCNA and we can get back to this thread when you crush the CCNA (and have a better feel for the opportunities at your new job).
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • wastedtimewastedtime Posts: 586Member
    This sounds about where I plan to be around the end of November. I just need to get done with this ISA then full force is on Cisco.
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    mikej412 wrote: »
    But if you're serious about a networking career, you'll probably want to pick up Doyle's Routing TCP/IP Volume 1 and 2 and read those during your "down time" at work when you need a break from studying for the exams.

    I'm liking the TCP/IP Illustrated series a lot too. I actually have one book at home and one at work. I've found that reading them simultaneously like that helps a lot because something might not stick the first time I come across it, but the other one might explain it in a slightly different way, etc.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    AlexMR wrote: »
    I think one year for 9 exams is a little too much. Specially if the programs are near the difficulty of the BSCI. I havent taken the BSCI, but I did read the book except the Multicast chapter, and I can tell you that kind of material and the amount of it, was not meant to be studied and learned in 45days. No way.

    I also understand that BSCI is probably the most difficult of the CCNP exams and you can notice that in the amount of "failed BSCI today" kind of posts here.

    On the other hand, I have been studying for the CCNA voice for about 10days and 50-60hours (im unemployed) and I am practically ready for the exam. If those SP and NP tracks have exams that are as easy and relatively short programs like the CCNA voice then it is doable. I have seen the books and study materials and I dont think there's even one of those exams as short and easy as the CCNA voice, but I do know a CCNP,CCSP who insists that the SP track is by far the easiest of the professional level paths.


    Good luck on your journey!


    I plan to do only 8 cisco exams next year. I have to take an intro to linux class next year (basically an lpic1 or L+ prep class) so even though it is in my sig, since I am not self studying that doesn't "count" (if that makes sense).

    8 exams in 12 months does equal 45 days and that isnt a terribly long time. How can I do it? Simply: maximize the time I spend studying on each test. If I study for on average 3 hours a day, I will come in at about 150 hours per exam. I think that 2-3 hours a week day is doable, with about double that on the weekend. Plus with factored downtime at work (it goes from slow to fast) I can get in a couple of hours of studying there.

    I am not saying that it will be easy but I think it is possible if I bust my butt. Hopefully I can pull it off but if I am a couple weeks late Im ok with that icon_wink.gif
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    mikej412 wrote: »

    If you get lots of late night study time at work, you should be able to do both the CCNP and CCSP in one year -- and still do both well.

    Focus on your CCNA and then the CCNA:Security (and maybe the ISCW). But if you're serious about a networking career, you'll probably want to pick up Doyle's Routing TCP/IP Volume 1 and 2 and read those during your "down time" at work when you need a break from studying for the exams.

    The CCSP doesn't have the Cisco Press Certification books since they've been changing the CCSP exams even faster than the CCVP exams. That alone probably should make the CCNP a target before the CCSP.....

    .... Unless you're hot for Security and you see an opening (or an opportunity at work). There's nothing wrong with breaking into security by being the firewall guy -- just don't get stuck there.

    Go back to studying for the CCNA and we can get back to this thread when you crush the CCNA (and have a better feel for the opportunities at your new job).

    The man himself has spokenbowing.gif

    At any rate I think these next few weeks I am going to lab for the CCNA and prepare for the CCNA:S.
    My question for you is how closely related (exam objectives wise) are the ISCW? I mean how much overlap is there? Could I study for both and then (with a week or 2 in between them) pass them both?
    The only reason why I ask is 1 is 1 is a CCNA level exam and 1 is a pro exam so I was wondering about the degree of difficulty and whether or not I should go for that as my first pro level exam.
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    You would be better off doing the ISCW and then the CCNA Security. The ISCW has a lot more to it than just basic security which overlaps with the CCNA Security like MPLS, SOHO connectivity, IPSEC etc. There are also some things on the CCNA Security that are not on the ISCW, but the ISCW will prepare you for the CCNA Security better than the other way around.

    I think once you start on the CCNP you could branch out after the ISCW and do the CCNA Security if you really want it. The specialization exams are not really that well known or sought after though. They should not be your main focus IMO. It would pay of more in the long run to just shoot straight to the BSCI or BCMSN after the CCNA. The CCNP is going to get you a lot more than any specialization career wise.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    I think he's including the CCNA:S simply because it's now part of the CCSP.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    You would be better off doing the ISCW and then the CCNA Security. The ISCW has a lot more to it than just basic security which overlaps with the CCNA Security like MPLS, SOHO connectivity, IPSEC etc. There are also some things on the CCNA Security that are not on the ISCW, but the ISCW will prepare you for the CCNA Security better than the other way around.

    I think once you start on the CCNP you could branch out after the ISCW and do the CCNA Security if you really want it. The specialization exams are not really that well known or sought after though. They should not be your main focus IMO. It would pay of more in the long run to just shoot straight to the BSCI or BCMSN after the CCNA. The CCNP is going to get you a lot more than any specialization career wise.


    Interesting (you had to throw a wrench in my plans man icon_lol.gif).

    What I was planning on doing was CCNA>CCNA:S>CCNP>CCSP.
    What you are suggesting is CCNA>BSCI>BCMSN>ISCW>CCNA:S>ONT>CCSP? The reason why I ask is if I go that way, I need to make some major changes to the things I am going to buy. You think the CCNA:S isn't worth anything (or at least not that much)? I am a bit confused (not by what you said but by what you implied). Why would I a Pro level test come before a NA level test? Shouldn't I try to get a basic level security test and then go to the advanced level?
    Don't get me wrong I understand your logic but to me that would be like taking Pre-Cal and then taking algebra I. Can you possibly elaborate?
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    I'm suggesting CCNA > CCNP forget about the specializations. If you still have plans to do the CCSP after you finish the NP then go onto the CCNA Sec, but only because its a prerequisite. I don't think you will get any thing useful from it career wise.

    Same reason I say worry about the ISCW first, and after you take that exam you won't have much more to learn to do the CCNA Sec and the NP is a lot more valuable career wise. I'm not saying the ISCW is easier, just that it covers a lot of the stuff already so you won't have much to add to get the other.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • Paul BozPaul Boz Posts: 2,621Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Please take your time and learn the material rather than power-cramming to get eight tests in 12 months. No offense, but you don't even have a CCNA yet. What makes you think you'll even be able to pass the exams with only 45 days of study each? I spent eight months alone on the CCNP and its not because I'm a slacker or because I'm slow. Set your goals a little more narrow and you'll see them through.

    also, do not do the CCNP and CCSP exams out of order. That's a very quick way to drag out and never complete either one of the tracks. That basically makes both certs an eight test track because you're putting other tests in between the ones that get you the certs.

    My honest advice would be to do the CCNA and CCNA Security to build a foundation, then start on the BSCI, BCMSN, ONT, and ISCW. Doing the ISCW last will be a nice segue into the security track. It will also allow you to claim a professional level certification quicker than doing the tests out of order and off-track. I say do the CCNA Security after the CCNA and not after the CCNP because the foundation knowledge you'll get can apply to a decent bit of the CCNP material, not just the ISCW. The BCMSN, for example, has a ton on securing switches.
    CCNP | CCIP | CCDP | CCNA, CCDA
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  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    I'm suggesting CCNA > CCNP forget about the specializations. If you still have plans to do the CCSP after you finish the NP then go onto the CCNA Sec, but only because its a prerequisite. I don't think you will get any thing useful from it career wise.

    Same reason I say worry about the ISCW first, and after you take that exam you won't have much more to learn to do the CCNA Sec and the NP is a lot more valuable career wise. I'm not saying the ISCW is easier, just that it covers a lot of the stuff already so you won't have much to add to get the other.

    Ok I see what you are saying. Let me give you some background and maybe this would change your mind:

    Yesterday a Level II Net engineer told me that the way to get out of the noc is to get a CCSP (they really want ASA guys cuz were moving all of our firewalls to ASAs and making a big Cisco push). I obviously dont want to get stuck doing this basic Sh!t forever and (even at tier II, which I am now) I wont get to do any real Sh!t until I make Network Engineer I. My main goal for next year was to get a CCSP (not a CCNP) and I only added a CCNP to my list because I read some of the forum threads talking about CCSPs not knowing routing protocols and so on. So I decided I need to do both.

    I wanted to get my CCNA:S to show my bosses that I am working towards security (very very big here). CCNPs are not as desired. There is a CCNP who is doing the same job as me (tier II noc). So that is what my main focus is: CCSP>CCNP but CCNP is a needed cert to round out my skill set. Does this change you mind.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    Paul Boz wrote: »
    Please take your time and learn the material rather than power-cramming to get eight tests in 12 months. No offense, but you don't even have a CCNA yet. What makes you think you'll even be able to pass the exams with only 45 days of study each? I spent eight months alone on the CCNP and its not because I'm a slacker or because I'm slow. Set your goals a little more narrow and you'll see them through.
    None taken. And this is just a goal: something Iam aiming towards not something that I feel like I must do by the end of the next year. In all seriousness If it took 18 I would be ok with that and being realistic that is probably what it is going to take. 18 months is my "planned". 12 months is my goal that would be nice. That would be like winning the lottery.
    Paul Boz wrote: »
    also, do not do the CCNP and CCSP exams out of order. That's a very quick way to drag out and never complete either one of the tracks. That basically makes both certs an eight test track because you're putting other tests in between the ones that get you the certs.

    My honest advice would be to do the CCNA and CCNA Security to build a foundation, then start on the BSCI, BCMSN, ONT, and ISCW. Doing the ISCW last will be a nice segue into the security track. It will also allow you to claim a professional level certification quicker than doing the tests out of order and off-track. I say do the CCNA Security after the CCNA and not after the CCNP because the foundation knowledge you'll get can apply to a decent bit of the CCNP material, not just the ISCW. The BCMSN, for example, has a ton on securing switches.

    This is what I planned to do (or something close to that).
    Thinking about what I said about 12 months vs 18 months, I think if I could get the CCNP and ASA spec before the end of 2010 I would be happy.
  • miller811miller811 Posts: 897Member
    You are asking for advice, so I will offer you some.

    I faced the same dilema after passing CCNA, the advice given was to learn routing and switching before security. How can you secure a network unless you know routing and switching first? I have since finshed the NP track and then I am slowly working in completing the Design track, again with the understanding how can you design a network if you do not understand the routing and switching.

    Not sure if it is a valid argument, but I bought it.

    Good luck, and keep studying.
    I don't claim to be an expert, but I sure would like to become one someday.

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  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    If you think the CCSP will help you more then just concentrate on that. You are going to be spreading yourself pretty thin trying to get all these exams done. The goal should be knowledge, but I don't think that is why you want these certs. You are trying to run full speed into being a paper cert. You barley have any experience yet want every pro level cert under the sun. My advice would be slow down, learn something and take it one exam at a time.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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