CCNP Security Training Programs

Er0kEr0k Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello all, I'm new to this forum and this is probably a silly question and may have been answered elsewhere. I just finished the CCNA Exploration Program this past April, right around the same time I finished the ICND2 and acquired my CCNA R&S, a few months later I passed Security+ and CCNA Security as well as my Associates Degree. I am starting my bachelors and want to try to achieve my CCNP Security over the next two years while I do that, I was figuring 6 months per exam. I was just wondering if there is a training course that the Academy offers similar to the Exploration as I found the study material in that course to be extremely helpful. If not I know that the Cisco Press books are the best route. Or if anyone has any suggestions as far as modifying my projected timeline to move faster or slower, or if this certification is something I should probably wait for until after I am in the field. I am working in escalations at a call center right now, it gets me some one on one time with fraudsters and let's me see how people work networks and information over to their advantage apart from just paying the bills while I'm still in school. Any advice would be well appreciated.


  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    I think the NP security would be ok as a preemptive cert to get before landing a job, as a good understanding of VPN's is crucial for network positions, as I'm now finding out with no previous experience. I'd suggest INE, from my Voice course to my coworkers experience with their courses, they seem very good in all areas.

    Good luck!
  • Er0kEr0k Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I appreciate that. <bad tech joke>Any input is good input...unless it's malicious</bad tech joke>

    Yeah it seems to be a tough field to jump into w/no experience even if you have all the certs in the world.
  • docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Having NP-level certifications looks rather odd on a resume if there's no progressive field experience to actually back it up. In some people's eyes, it may label you as a paper tiger. There's no reason to stay away from the material, however, as it only helps reinforce existing concepts and add to what you already have.

    But I should caution that textbook knowledge is one thing, and living in an actual production environment is something else (because it's much more complex and messy), and yet another level is actually knowing the threats, their methods, the risks involved, and how the appliances you configure are limited in their ability to mitigate the problems. In my experience, Cisco security training is about learning how to configure their solutions, not really understanding network security from a holistic point of view.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written:
  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    docrice wrote: »
    But I should caution that textbook knowledge is one thing, and living in an actual production environment is something else (because it's much more complex and messy), and yet another level is actually knowing the threats, their methods, the risks involved, and how the appliances you configure are limited in their ability to mitigate the problems. In my experience, Cisco security training is about learning how to configure their solutions, not really understanding network security from a holistic point of view.

    Couldn't agree more with this statement, really well said. The part about beinga "Paper NP" has always been a stupid bias to me, but it is unfortunately true some people actually view certs without experience as a bad thing. If I had basic knowledge of VPN / NAT / ASA's, I'd have hit the ground running in my current role, now I'm playing catch up.

    You don't need to necessarily disclose you have NP level certs to prospective emoyers either, just use the knowledge from your studies to talk the talk, and if they inquire how your knowledgeable on the subjects that'd be a great time to be Mr. Modest and mention you earned an NP certificate.

    Although technical interviews will still tear apart techs without working experience, some knowledge definitely won't hurt your interview unless you focus the attention on the cert.
  • Er0kEr0k Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I really am more interested in the knowledge that comes with the certification than the piece of paper. The reason I pursue certifications is because I don't want to go into the career field with a degree and compete on an entry level with people who have degrees and professional level certifications. I don't see anything wrong with studying the material while going to school, and if I'm going to study the material I might as well take the exams. I was just asking about the time frame, this is kind of a midstream career change for me and after some professional training I'm just trying to figure out the best way to get started and I feel like I'm being lectured about wanting to pad my resume. And I don't know what you mean by a paper chaser, but I feel like you under handedly called me one and based on the context of your post I can infer that you're basically saying that means "not worth a ****" which I don't particularly find constructive as you didn't even answer my question which was about material and timeline.
  • Master Of PuppetsMaster Of Puppets Member Posts: 1,210
    Actually, the guys made a very good point. I think you misunderstood them completely.

    Here's the scoop - At some point getting certs without experience can hurt your development and chances of getting hired. If you have never administered a network, it will be hard to truly understand the material. This is not evident through reading, you realize it when you are on the job. Since I get the feeling that you are newer to the game, what they said comes from experience - when employers see high level certs and no experience, there are a number of ways it can go bad for you(already mentioned). If you are at that level, then go ahead and learn. You should never stop learning. However, keep in mind what has been explained in this thread.

    The OCGs for the exams are good. What I have been using for every exam is the ocg, cbt, quick reference, the asa cli guide and labbing. Real world experience is a big one here.
    Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.
  • docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I'm not calling you one in particular, but there are quite a few out there who do get the certifications but are effectively useless on the job. I think there tends to be an over-emphasis on the validity on certifications in general, but this is partly also due to hiring managers (and HR departments) who need a method of validation and prioritize resumes which have these letters on them, an unfortunate reality when there are many superb candidates who've never taken a certification exam. Frequently, HR isn't versed in the technical bits of what makes a good candidate and all they have to go by is keyword-matching.

    I can go on and on about being a paper tiger because I've ended up being one of them. All the certifications that I've attained have helped me get grounding in some subject areas, but working in the industry I've learned that they tend to be practically less than useful when interviewing candidates since there are so many who understand the book knowledge but don't understand the operational nuances of real-world working environments. In a way, this is a knock to the whole certification game, but I mention this because the result has brought about a large number of candidates who believe they truly qualify for a job because they can lay down the various four letters on a resume.

    Formal technical training (instructor-led classes, vendor certification books, etc.) provide structure to the learning process and I wish I had gotten certified earlier in my career. However, this structure tends to be somewhat limited unless you're willing to go a lot farther than what the classes teach you. I've interviewed way too many candidates who held an expectation that because they had xyz certification, they were qualified to take the reigns of the machinery.

    We all have to start somewhere, but my caution was in looking like a paper tiger on a resume. There are many entry-level candidates who believe that having more is better, and that's not necessarily the case. In rare instances it may impress someone, but those with more experienced eyes who see higher-level certs with minimal actual working experience will become very suspicious due to the perceived mismatch. It's an old story where an engineer who made a configuration change based on textbook best-practices crashed the network because the infrastructure had complex band-aids in place (for various necessary reasons, good and bad) which wasn't recognized and/or accounted for.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written:
  • viper75viper75 Member Posts: 726 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Here's what I have to say...Your certs mean NOTHING! If you can't back them up. It's as simple as that! No one wants an NP in R\S that does not fully understand the concept of routing and switching. No one wants an NP Security if who can't configure and troubleshoot an ASA and VPN.

    I've been in the field 14+ years and I have worked with all types of people. I have ran into paper techs with certs up the you know what, but yet they have a hard time configuring a simple switch or router. I laugh hard at those people. Why? because they brag about all the certs they have, yet they can't do something so basic.

    I have also worked with people that have no certs, yet they are brains! It's like Cisco is in their blood and DNA.

    Please do yourself a favor young grasshopper. Get yourself out there and try to get real world experience. Book scenarios don't have jack on the real world live networks. When you have to upgrade a core switch or router during business hours and somethings goes south, the book does not tell you how to react, or the amount of pressure you are going to feel, yet you have to remain calm and collective. You don't learn that in a book. I'm sure engineers with experience can tell you horror stories. We all have them. Books don't tell you how to deal with that...classes don't show you how to deal with the pressure. It sucks, but yet you have to be the one that fixes it.

    Also, DO NOT EVER lie in your resume. Someone will call you out on it and you will be DONE! I have seen this happen lots of times. I currently do not have a CCNP in R\S working on my CCNP Security 1st. Anyway, I have done lots, and lots of CCNP R\S level work for years. Building Data Centers, rebuilding networks from small to large. A few years ago a company called me for an interview for a job they had open. So I decided to go...I had nothing to lose. Anyway, I was interviewed by one of their Senior Engineers. Face to face talk on all what I have done and all the projects I was part of. Giving little quizzes along the way. After an hour of talking, he told me to go up in front of the room next to a white board. He gave me a bunch of scenarios of different issues and asked me to solve the issues on the white board. Long story short, I answered all the scenarios which included R\S and Security\VPN (ASA) He asked me how did I come up with my solutions. Which I explained, he said very good. He wanted me to come back for a final interview which I did, but at the end of the day I declined the job. Way too much traveling...I would barley see my family, wife and I were having our 1st baby that year.

    Back to interview, that was one of the most intense interviews I had ever had. It was a total of about 2 and a half hours long. Will never forget that. So never lie on your resume and your experience. Someone will call you out eventually. And believe me when I tell you this, everyone knows everyone in IT through someone. You don't want to be the name that people associate with paper tech.

    Hope my info was useful. I wish you the best of luck. We all have to start somewhere.
    CCNP Security - DONE!
    CCNP R&S - In Progress...
    CCIE Security - Future...
  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    I still say go for it, as knowing more on advanced subjects definitely won't hurt your odds in an interview for low to mid level position. I think a lot of the bad rep for 'paper NPs' either comes from wasting hiring managers time for engineer level positions, or perhaps if they walk around all high and mighty like they are the internetworking expert of the company.

    I just don't ever agree you should halt learning and taking exams because you're having a tough time finding a job / experience, as I just personally escaped the purgatory of finding that first breakaway job in my field and it took my yeeears.

    I actually got denied an internal network engineer job at my old place of work because I didn't have both the experience required, or a pro level cert, so in that case it actually cost me the job - this came from the Director of Networking himself that this was the case. That really knocked the window out of me, and just about ended my pursuit of a career in IT, but fortunately I found my current role that is one small step under network engineering.

    So that's my two cents on Paper NP's.
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