Full CCNP almost finished, suggestions for next cert?

TBickleTBickle Member Posts: 110
Upon the recommendation of many, I have decided to sit for my final CCNP exam, TShoot, this upcoming Saturday. If I pass, I want to immediately move onto my next certification but I'm not sure which path to take? Should I study for my CCIE Written or try to get some other CCNA's under my belt? I was thinking about studying for CCNA Security or CCNA Data Center before written, but I really want to increase my marketability in the job market and or with my employer.

Any suggestions? I know security would only be one exam, so I could probably knock that one out of the way in a month, but I'm not sure if it's enough to really make me a good candidate for security jobs. Conversely, the CCNA Data Center is two additional exams, so that means it's more money, and possibly a bit more study time than the security exam because my experience with Data Center is limited to the bootcamp I'm taking now. We have Nexus equipment in our environment but it's not like they go down everyday, so aside from the upgrade I did on them 4 months ago, I haven't touched them since.

What do you all think? I've heard the CCIE Written study time is anywhere between 4-6 months, so I need to use my time wisely so i can leverage a raise with my boss or find a higher paying job.

Comments

  • SecurityThroughObscuritySecurityThroughObscurity Member Posts: 212 ■■■□□□□□□□
    CCNP is nothing nowadays.
    If you have enough hands-on experience at work I would go for CCIE.

    What about NAs. It is quality rather than quantity that matters.
  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    What kind of work do you do TBickle? I would think for IE you'd need a pretty network intensive role to practice and retain the info for CCIE. Hope to reach that level over the next 5 years :)
  • TBickleTBickle Member Posts: 110
    Ande, I work for a mini-service provider that has over 10,000 employees, but most of our stuff isn't the least bit complex. We don't have any need to do advanced PBR, Route Redistribution or anything else that complicated. We run a basic config on our Brocade switches at the access level which shoot upstream to our internet edge routers and then over fiber to our data center--like i said, nothing complex, nothing complicated. That's why I mentioned going for the CCIE Written, so that I could gain more knowledge on on advanced topics that are used in other networks. I'm thinking long term here and what would be best for my skillset outside of my current environment. Right now, it's all basic routing and switching on top of Adva equipment all monitored by Solarwinds.
  • Danielh22185Danielh22185 Member Posts: 1,195 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Cisco isn't everything. I myself plan on focusing on JNCIA, F5, and Checkpoint after CCNP.
    Currently Studying: IE Stuff...kinda...for now...
    My ultimate career goal: To climb to the top of the computer network industry food chain.
    "Winning means you're willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else." - Vince Lombardi
  • The IT GuyThe IT Guy Member Posts: 43 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I would recommend focusing on the technologies and equipment you are working with daily and have regular access to. Many of us work in multi-vendor environments with Cisco,Juniper, Brocade, F5, Riverbed, Mcafee, Palo Alto, NetScout etc. For example, if you tend to spend a good portion of your time routing and switching on cisco platforms, CCIE R&S may be the logical choice. If your task and responsibilities are more diverse, you may consider pursuing a certification on a different track from a different vendor e.g. Juniper security (JNCIS-SEC). You kill two birds with one stone on this path and look more attractive to employers as you will bring a more diverse skill set to the table. Your certification path should be chosen wisely and align with your personal and professional goals.
  • johnwest43johnwest43 Member Posts: 294
    CCNP is nothing nowadays.

    I couldn't disagree more.

    TBickle, what role(s) do you serve in your current job?
    CCNP: ROUTE B][COLOR=#ff0000]x[/COLOR][/B , SWITCH B][COLOR=#ff0000]x[/COLOR][/B, TSHOOT [X ] Completed on 2/18/2014
  • TBickleTBickle Member Posts: 110
    I'm currently a network admin but I'm hoping for a senior position where I'm currently at or another admin position with another company. So, in essence, the question directly pertains to what would help my employability down the road--CCIE Written or CCNA Security?

    Just to give you some context, the current place I'm employed at doesn't push routing protocols to the edge, so CCNP was overkill for my current work responsibilities and for just about every other networking position in my group. As for the "waiting until I get more hands on experience", well, that's another chicken or egg dilemma. Anyone who is not a CCIE can never have "enough" hands on experience. The hands on experience I don't get at work, I get on the CCNP home lab I spent nearly 1,000 to build or on GNS3.
  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    I would say CCNA security would be the best bet, but it depends on how bad you want the IE, as I would probably continue studying since you've already hammered so much info into your brain that you're likely to lose immediately if your not using it.

    If you want the IE and don't forsee having IE level job duties anytime soon, I'd probably go for it, but not sure how much it'll help you getting a job as you'll lack that IE level experience. I personally would do the NA security, but I don't plan on staying too close to one particular track of learning either.
  • mistabrumley89mistabrumley89 Member Posts: 356 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm personally going to do the CCDA/DP path. I think any network engineer should have some sort of background in design. Although it may not be something I truly enjoy studying. You already have 2/3's of your CCDP done by completing your CCNP. I think 2 exams (CCDA/ARCH) are worth the return for another professional level certification
    Goals: WGU BS: IT-Sec (DONE) | CCIE Written: In Progress
    LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/charlesbrumley
  • MrBrianMrBrian Member Posts: 520
    Next up go for your CCIE
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SP Member Posts: 561 ■■■■□□□□□□
    MPLS VPLS LDP ATOM RSVP QOS IOS-XR SERVICE PROVIDER NETWORKS interest you? Maybe CCNP SP...
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
  • PCHoldmannPCHoldmann Member Posts: 450
    Since you are looking at promotion with your current employer, as well as options outside, your best bet is probably to sit down with your manager and discuss what they would most like to see.

    The CCIE is going to be the most valuable long term, but the other P-level certs may have a better cost/benefit ratio, at least short to mid-term.

    The CCIE is a HUGE commitment, especially if your job isn't at that level. Consider the impact that will have on your life and relationships. I am not saying not to do it, but make sure you go in with both eyes open, and get buy in from the people that matter to you.
    There's no place like ^$
    Visit me at Route, Switch, Blog
  • RouteMyPacketRouteMyPacket Member Posts: 1,104
    Sure, just go for the CCIE, it's no big deal..it's only the next step up.

    CCIE
    CCNP
    CCNA

    See, it's nothing..just go for that one.

    /sarcasm

    I don't know your background but only clueless hacks think they can get their CCNP and think "Well, time to go for the CCIE". It doesn't work that way, the gap between CCNP and CCIE is massive. It takes some serious years of experience coupled with reading, studying, and labbing before should be attempted.

    Where are you at, doing R/S everyday at the CCNP level? It all depends on where you are at, perhaps another track could round out what you do on a daily basis?
    Modularity and Design Simplicity:

    Think of the 2:00 a.m. test—if you were awakened in the
    middle of the night because of a network problem and had to figure out the
    traffic flows in your network while you were half asleep, could you do it?
  • Danielh22185Danielh22185 Member Posts: 1,195 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Sure, just go for the CCIE, it's no big deal..it's only the next step up.

    CCIE
    CCNP
    CCNA

    See, it's nothing..just go for that one.

    /sarcasm

    I don't know your background but only clueless hacks think they can get their CCNP and think "Well, time to go for the CCIE". It doesn't work that way, the gap between CCNP and CCIE is massive. It takes some serious years of experience coupled with reading, studying, and labbing before should be attempted.

    Where are you at, doing R/S everyday at the CCNP level? It all depends on where you are at, perhaps another track could round out what you do on a daily basis?


    Well said. Just because CCIE is next on the cisco path doesn't mean it is the best idea in your present situation. I know one guy in particular who is a Tier 3 Engineer for my company (highest level ops engineer) and he is just now settling into studying for IE. His network knowledge / experience is VAST though. Cisco is only a piece of the pie when it comes to what he knows about networks. I firmly believe having a grasp on other related network technologies / vendors is key to being a network engineer with depth of knowlege and experience. Only then I would say you can chase after CCIE.
    Currently Studying: IE Stuff...kinda...for now...
    My ultimate career goal: To climb to the top of the computer network industry food chain.
    "Winning means you're willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else." - Vince Lombardi
  • TBickleTBickle Member Posts: 110
    I'd have to disagree. Five years ago when i started in this field, a CCIE seemed impossible, but after all this time, and a few certifications, I definitely think it is doable. It's all a matter of how much time and effort you're willing to apply that determines your outcome, and if I have the time, why not?

    I currently work as a network admin in an environment that doesn't get too deep into networking, so the question is more of a "what skillset would make me more attractive to employers". If a CCIE written would, or a CCNA security would, then that's the path. I'm not the type to sit on my behind without actively working towards a goal, so I need to have something in the works. As of right now, I think I'm going to start working on my CCNA/NP Data Center, since we do have some Nexus equipment in ours, and I'm seeing more and more of that in job postings.
  • PCHoldmannPCHoldmann Member Posts: 450
    The CCIE written is worth basically nothing without the lab, so unless you are ready to commit to the lab, don't bother taking the written. And since you have a limited time to take the lab after your written, it doesn't make sense to take it too far out.

    In terms of difficulty, the written is not that much harder than the CCNP, when I took it several years ago, I did it about a month after I finished my NP, no problem. The lab on the other hand means putting your life on hold for months, so make sure you are ready for the commitment.
    There's no place like ^$
    Visit me at Route, Switch, Blog
  • NinzNinz Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Cisco isn't everything. I myself plan on focusing on JNCIA, F5, and Checkpoint after CCNP.

    That's so true Daniel, the market is really diverse now - like securitythroughobscurity mentioned, CCNP is the bare basics of what is required in the network industry. Nowadays they are looking for not only multi-skilled, but multi-vendor knowledgeable people

    Going back to the OP, it would be easier to work on the technologies you have access to, and map out where you are now vs where you want to be in say 2-3 years time
  • kohr-ahkohr-ah Member Posts: 1,277
    I have to agree with everyone in I would learn what is in your environment or most needed around here.

    In Illinois here they want 80% network and 20% non network people right now big time. Why? Data centers are the big thing. So they want some windows skills or VMware, NetApp, Linux, juniper is getting big here, etc

    CCIE will always get you work but I am learning that partial diversity will get you a lot more work and good pay as well.

    Being said I would say ccna/something or juniper. Aruba wireless is good to know too. I wouldn't throw money into buying the equipment but still good to at least give the user guide a look.
  • lrblrb Member Posts: 526
    Unless you work with most of the technologies in any of the CCIE trains then don't bother with it just yet as it will be very difficult to pass. There's a reason there are only ~40,000 active CCIEs.

    If you work with Nexus switches and DC - do the CCNA-DC and CCNP-DC
    If you work with ASRs, metro ethernet, and lots of BGP and MPLS - do the CCNA-SP and CCNP-SP

    As lots of people have said, diversify your skills and look into other areas such as visualization, load balancers, amazon cloud, palo alto, juniper, etc.

    On the Juniper front, I honestly think that their equipment is a bunch of rubbish and plagued with software problems. VPLS working in SRX210's (for testing) but not working on SRX3K's when ready to cut over on a new network (after the Juniper rep convinced us it would work) is only one of about 23 problems my team has had with them in the last two years. Unless the SRX platform starts to actually compete with Palo Alto and Sourcefire's (now Cisco) "next gen" firewalls I see them losing a lot of customers.

    And after being at Cisco Live this year, it's pretty obvious that Cisco's focus for the next 5 years is going to be Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) "programmable networks" with the N9K's and the APIC software that they are releasing. Tracking where SDN is going could be something you might want to invest some time in too.
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