Skipping CCNA classes

FrostbiteFrostbite Member Posts: 29 ■■■□□□□□□□
I have the opportunity to take some CCNP training classes in the fall and a CCNA isn't a requirement to take the classes themselves. Having a CCNA is advised but not a prerequisite. I realize that I'll need to have a CCNA to be able to get the actual CCNP certification but I'm wondering how lost I'd be in the classes without it. I'm not exactly new to IT and have some limited Cisco experience but I'm not at the level where I could take the 640-802 exam tomorrow and pass it. I am, however, planning on studying for the CCNA between now and when classes start.

So what say you Tech Exams? Should I jump right into CCNP training or would I be in way over my head?


  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    You probably aren't going to get as much out of the class as you could if you don't have the knowledge base. These training courses are usually fast and furious and I suggest most people already have a pretty solid understanding of the material before attending the class. These things are more pointed towards cramming than teaching usually.

    If work is paying for the classes I'd say go for it, but if you are using your money I'd make sure I had my fundamentals down before taking the class.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • FrostbiteFrostbite Member Posts: 29 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Well, to clarify, this would be switching and routing as two separate courses, offered at a local college, so they're 16 week courses and not the 5-day IT training center type classes.
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I'd still give the same advice. Probably not a good idea to waste your money (if you are paying) before getting the fundamentals down.

    Is there a reason you don't want to do a CCNA level course first?
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • FrostbiteFrostbite Member Posts: 29 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yeah, it's the difference between a 1 year program versus a 2 year program. I plan to have moved out of the area by this time next year and unfortunately, my new town doesn't seem to offer CCNP courses so inexpensively or conveniently. Since I'd be financing this little venture myself outside of normal working hours, cost and convenience are both important.

    So it's not for lack of interest in the CCNA classes. Just trying to work on a limited timetable.
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I suppose your best bet would be to try and get up to speed on your own before the classes. Definitely make some effort to get the basics down so you can get the most out of the CCNP classes instead of being lost.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • vinbuckvinbuck Member Posts: 785
    You might have a shot if you hit it hard. The knowledge jump is pretty big going from the CCNA to the CCNP when you first start. You'll need to know subnetting to the point it is automatic. The CCNP level stuff assumes a mastery of subnetting and you'll quickly fall behind of you aren't 110% in that area. You will also need to understand the OSI model from a functional perspective - especially layers 2 and 3. There is a load of other content you'll need to learn, but if you aren't rock solid on the first two, you're going to be lost and miserable...

    Download the Free CCNP Lab Manual form the Cisco NetAdademy and start doing labs - this will give you an idea of the difficulty level
    Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
  • MrBrianMrBrian Member Posts: 520
    I wouldn't suggest heading into CCNP level material until you get the osi model down, and how it relates to tcp/ip communication.. Once you understand the structure of the 1's and 0's that computer systems use to interact with each other, your studies will go much smoother. CCNP material will speak of the actual protocols that routers and switches use to communicate with each other.. but it won't mean as much to study these things if you don't know what the traffic that's actually generated by the systems, looks like. Once you can visualize what the traffic strings will look like, then you will see that the routers and switches just make decisions on certain areas of these strings of traffic, .. and that they use protocols that fall within the tcp/ip stack to communicate with each other dynamically.

    I never want to doubt anyone's comprehension level and tell them what they can or can't do. I'm trying to determine what it would be like going through CCNP level routing and switching from the standpoint of my personal experience, which may be completely different than someone elses. It's possible it could work if you have an incredible desire to learn. I predict what will happen is you'll learn so many new concepts, it will force you to do some backtracking along the way to pick up the fundamentals. The CCNP material assumes you have the fundamentals, basically.

    I think it'd kind of be like trying to build the second story of a house without really stabilizing the first story. You may start building that second story very ambitiously, but certain parts of it will come crumbling down if that first story is not strong. You'll have to continuously go down and patch up the first floor. The longer you spend setting your foundation, the easier things will go as you move up! Good luck in whatever you choose
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • astrogeekastrogeek Member Posts: 251 ■■■□□□□□□□
    The Cisco networking academy for CCNP is much different than it is for CCNA. With CCNA Cisco has the coursework setup in an online format that is very easy for people of different skill levels to understand. The CCNP Academy course has no such coursework - the coursework just follows the Cisco Routing/Switching/T-Shoot Foundation learning books, and hopefully your class provides some decent labs you can use.

    Without much CCNA understanding you'll get lost very quickly. In all honesty the whole CCNP academy was a waste of time, why bother spending the money just to have a teacher tell you to go home and buy some books to read? That's exactly what the CCNP Academy is - The only reason I didn't drop out was because I had a tuition waiver and the remote access to their labs made it all worth while. You would just be wasting your time, trust me. You'd be much better off enrolling in the CCNA Academy so you get a solid foundation and don't worry about taking any CCNP Academy classes, you can just buy the books and study on your own when that time comes around.

    What city is this in, if you don't mind me asking? Just curious if you're considering the same one I went to.
  • FrostbiteFrostbite Member Posts: 29 ■■■□□□□□□□
    astrogeek wrote: »
    What city is this in, if you don't mind me asking? Just curious if you're considering the same one I went to.

    This would be at Coastline CC in Orange County. If that's the school you were thinking of, I'd be very curious to hear more about your experiences there.

    Thanks everyone else for your well thought out replies. I'm less worried about understanding the networking basics, since I've been in IT for about 15 years now. The CCNA/CCNP has been on my to-do list for a few years but now I'm interested in moving out of systems administration and into network administration over the next couple years. I'm mostly concerned with the vendor specific information being built upon more heavily in the CCNP courses, since all my jobs to this date have dealt with desktop support/server administration. My exposure to Cisco outside of a book has been very limited.
  • astrogeekastrogeek Member Posts: 251 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Nevermind it was a different school. I would visit the school and try to talk to the teacher and check out their lab equipment. This way you can get an idea of his/her teaching style and see if he/she thinks you'd be okay in the class. You could also just self-study with some 3550 or 3560 switches too - the labs are based on two 2950's and two 3560's but I was able to use my 3550's for most labs. Either way good luck!
  • sides14sides14 Member Posts: 113
    The major issue with the CCNA classes is having to complete the basics course before actually getting to touch the routers and switches. In my humble opinion, if you have previous training on the fundamentals (AKA cabling), it isn't worth your time.
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