Newly minted CCNA - want advice on what's next (CCNP)

Todd BurrellTodd Burrell Posts: 280Member
Well I passed the CCNA today and I think I'd like to continue on and start working on my CCNP. However, I have a few questions about the CCNP that I'd like to get some advice about:

1) I currently have 3 2620XM routers and 3 2950 switches. I know I need to buy at least one 3550 switch, but what else should I look at buying?
2) What are the best books? I think I want to get the Cisco press books, but I want to know if there is another book that might be better.
3) What are the best practice exams out there? I loved Boson for the CCNA, but I want to know if there is something better?
4) What is the best order for these 3 exams? I am thinking ROUTE, SWITCH then TSHOOT - but that's just because I am more comfortable with routing.

Thanks for any advice anyone can give. I'm sure I will be back with more questions.

Comments

  • NetwurkNetwurk Posts: 1,155Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    You might want to sign up for Safari Books Online, as least for the 30 day free trial. You can browse just about all the CCNP books currently available. The books they don't carry can be found on Amazon.

    Good luck with your studies.
  • vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
    Well I passed the CCNA today and I think I'd like to continue on and start working on my CCNP. However, I have a few questions about the CCNP that I'd like to get some advice about:

    1) I currently have 3 2620XM routers and 3 2950 switches. I know I need to buy at least one 3550 switch, but what else should I look at buying?
    2) What are the best books? I think I want to get the Cisco press books, but I want to know if there is another book that might be better.
    3) What are the best practice exams out there? I loved Boson for the CCNA, but I want to know if there is something better?
    4) What is the best order for these 3 exams? I am thinking ROUTE, SWITCH then TSHOOT - but that's just because I am more comfortable with routing.

    Thanks for any advice anyone can give. I'm sure I will be back with more questions.

    First of all congratulations on passing your CCNA - that's a pretty hard test these days!

    1) I would pick up one more 3550 and/or 3560 (for private VLANs) if your budget allows. if not, you can always book some time at packetlife.net
    2) I'm using FLG and OCG for ROUTE and SWITCH and only OCG for TSHOOT (which may not even be necessary from what I've heard). ROUTE FLG and OCG books will cover what you need to know - from what i've read, the FLG for SWITCH seems to have to majority of the content needed to pass as the OCG is missing several major topics.
    3) I used Boson EX SIM to pass ROUTE and i'm using it for SWITCH and TSHOOT as well. It is very close to the actual exam format.
    4) I would recommend ROUTE, SWITCH TSHOOT. There is quite a bit of Layer 3 stuff in SWITCH and if you've studied it in ROUTE, then you won't have to spend much time learning the concepts for SWITCH. My SWITCH studies are going way faster than my ROUTE studies did.

    Once you pass one of the tests, the rest becomes much easier and ROUTE has more material than either of the other two exams, so if you pass that one, you're about halfway as far as content goes.
    Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
  • Todd BurrellTodd Burrell Posts: 280Member
    Vinbuck - thanks for the advice. I actually purchased a 3550 on Ebay yesterday. I also ordered the FLG and OCG ROUTE books from Amazon - so that should get me started. Once I get into the books then I'll order the Boson practice exam.

    Just out of curiousity how long did it take you to pass ROUTE? I'd like to get the CCNP done in 2012, but I want to be sure and give myself a reasonable schedule. And I can normally put in 3-4 hours a day if needed (thanks goodness for working from home).

    Now it's back to more reading and labbing...
  • vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
    Vinbuck - thanks for the advice. I actually purchased a 3550 on Ebay yesterday. I also ordered the FLG and OCG ROUTE books from Amazon - so that should get me started. Once I get into the books then I'll order the Boson practice exam.

    Just out of curiousity how long did it take you to pass ROUTE? I'd like to get the CCNP done in 2012, but I want to be sure and give myself a reasonable schedule. And I can normally put in 3-4 hours a day if needed (thanks goodness for working from home).

    Now it's back to more reading and labbing...

    It took me 11 months to study for and pass ROUTE but I had several major interruptions in my studying due to work and family (2 year olds don't really understand the whole "quiet time" thing) The biggest problem I had was having to relearn material towards the end that I had studied in the beginning but had forgotten by the time I was in final prep mode.

    The biggest change I would make to my study habits in retrospect is to make notes and flashcards as I read and study so that I have a reference at the end to rely on instead of having to go back through the book again. I'm doing this for SWITCH and so far it seems to be helping retention as well as building a nice pool of resources to use right before I take the exam. It seems slower at first, but in the end I believe it will yield faster results as there is a huge amount of material to learn for ROUTE and you have to know it inside and out to pass the test.

    If you can put in 3-4 hours a day, then you should be able to clear it in 2-4 months depending on the regularity of your study schedule. Another tip I would share is to download the free Cisco NetAcademy Lab manual for ROUTE and work through it entirely before you start reading - it will make a huge difference in your reading comprehension.
    Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
  • Todd BurrellTodd Burrell Posts: 280Member
    Thanks for this info - I fully understand the interruption aspect as my wife and teenage son do not understand how hard it is to stop and restart with this information (especially practice tests). Frame Relay was a nightmare and interruptions killed me with this. I finally just got headphones and when I was watching videos I let them know I was off limits unless the house was on fire.
  • alxxalxx Posts: 755Member
    Don't forget the $9.99 Cisco press special $9.99 eBook Deal of the Day

    They had the route and switch book there over christmas
    Goals CCNA by dec 2013, CCNP by end of 2014
  • xxdrexxxxdrexx Posts: 13Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Well I passed the CCNA today and I think I'd like to continue on and start working on my CCNP. However, I have a few questions about the CCNP that I'd like to get some advice about:

    1) I currently have 3 2620XM routers and 3 2950 switches. I know I need to buy at least one 3550 switch, but what else should I look at buying?
    2) What are the best books? I think I want to get the Cisco press books, but I want to know if there is another book that might be better.
    3) What are the best practice exams out there? I loved Boson for the CCNA, but I want to know if there is something better?
    4) What is the best order for these 3 exams? I am thinking ROUTE, SWITCH then TSHOOT - but that's just because I am more comfortable with routing.

    Thanks for any advice anyone can give. I'm sure I will be back with more questions.

    Think these have been done already, but I'll weigh in. :)
    1) Try to get at least two 3550s. If you're thinking of the CCIE I'd look at the 3560s, I've seen some eBay deals recently so it might be worth a shot.
    2) For BSCI/BCMSN/TSHOOT I used the Cisco press certification books, but check out Routing TCP/IP volumes I and II as well. Also check out the lab manuals for each test that Cisco Press publishes. You have to search for "lab manual" on their site to find them.
    3) I used Kaplan Self Test Software for all of my CCNP practice tests. Very good resources.
    4) I did BCMSN (SWITCH), BSCI (ROUTE) and TSHOOT, in that order. Of the tests I took, BSCI was the gnarliest, but at the time I did a lot of switching and not much routing at work, so that made the difference in terms of what was easiest to grasp. Even still I would count the routing as the hardest thing to grasp, since all of the routing protocols work differently and redistribution makes my head hurt.

    It took me about 5 months to study for BSCI, 3 months for BCMSN and 2 months for TSHOOT. So, almost a full year. Best of luck!
  • alxxalxx Posts: 755Member
    3560's have dropped lately.Seen a few 3750's go for around $300

    some lucky person scored 3 for $405
    Cisco Catalyst 3X 3750 Series 2X 2960 Series PoE-48. 48 Port Network Switch. | eBay

    another 3750 went for $290
    Cisco Catalyst 3750 PoE-24. 24 Port Switch | eBay

    another going for under $300 (I don't have the spare cash to bid icon_sad.gif )
    Cisco WS-C3750-24TS | eBay
    Goals CCNA by dec 2013, CCNP by end of 2014
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