Cisco Certified Network Professional certification (CCNP) is one of the most popular certification tracks in the IT networking world. It is an advanced track that helps CCNAs advance their career one step further. With a CCNP, you will be able to demonstrate expertise required to plan, implement, verify and troubleshoot local area and wide area enterprise networks. You will be able to work collaboratively with engineers on advanced voice, video, wireless and advanced security solutions. To achieve CCNP, you should have at least one year of experience in complex networking solutions readying yourself for a higher role in the corporate IT networking world. This certification track readies you to accept job roles such as network technician, support engineer, network engineer or systems engineer demonstrating advanced skills in planning and implementing complex networks.
The first exam in the series of three exams that grants your CCNP certification is 642-902 ROUTE - Implementing Cisco IP Routing. This exam is required for CCNP, CCIP, and CCDP certifications. In essence, this exam certifies your skills in advanced IP addressing and routing. You will implement scalable and secure Cisco ISR routers connected to LANs and WANs along with configuring secure routing solutions to support mobile workers and branch offices.
This exam cover the following major topics:
- Implement an EIGRP Based Solution, given a Network Design and a set of Requirements
- Implement a Multi-Area OSPF Network, given a Network Design and a set of Requirements
- Implement an eBGP Based Solution, given a Network Design and a set of Requirements
- Implement an IPv6 Based Solution, given a Network Design and a set of Requirements
- Implement an IPv4 or IPv6 Based Redistribution Solution, given a Network Design and a set of Requirements
- Implement Layer 3 Path Control Solution
- Implement Basic Teleworker and Branch Services
The second exam required for CCNP is 642-813 SWITCH - Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks. This exam is also required for CCIP, and CCDP certifications. Essentially, it endorses your skills and knowledge required to plan, configure and verify complex enterprise switching solutions using Cisco Campus Enterprise Architecture. You will be dealing with secure integration of VLANs, WLANs, voice and video solutions into campus networks.
This exam covers the following major topics:
- Implement VLAN Based Solution, given a Network Design and a set of Requirements
- Implement a Security Extension of a Layer 2 Solution, given a network design and a set of Requirements
- Implement Switch Based Layer 3 Services, given a network design and a set of requirements
- Prepare infrastructure to support advanced services
- Implement high availability, given a network design and a set of requirements
The last exam to tackle is 642-832 TSHOOT - Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP networks. This is a troubleshooting exam that validates your skills necessary to perform regular maintenance of complex enterprise routed and switched networks and use specific technology-based practices and a systematic ITIL-compliant techniques to perform advanced network troubleshooting.
This exam cover the following major topics:
- Maintain and Monitor Network Performance
- Troubleshoot Multi protocol system networks
The duration of each of the qualifying exams is 120 minutes (30-45 questions - multiple choice, multiple answer) and the candidates must achieve a passing score of 790 out of 1000.
You have to pass ROUTE, SWITCH and TSHOOT to qualify for a CCNP certification. Each of these exams has a validity of 3 years. In other words, each of the three exams can have 3 years gap in between.
CCNP has prerequisites. You need to be a certified CCNA in Routing and Switching or a CCIE in any specific field to be able to qualify for CCNP exam.
CCNP is about advanced knowledge of networking. It is for the most passionate of the networking professionals who have achieved CCNA certification and want to climb the next level in the networking world. There is no better networking certification than Cisco and CCNP is the second step toward zenith. CCNP equips professionals with skills needed to plan, implement, secure, maintain and troubleshoot converged enterprise networks. The hands-on experience that you receive during CCNP preparation allows you to cover enterprise networking with accurate knowledge.
Most of time, networking professionals have not problem securing a high-end job in networking world. With that, you get hands-on experience with some of the best networking devices from Cisco and the challenges it offers. The salary starts from $97000 upwards to $113,000 annually.
I never thought about getting a job that offers $100k. Yet CCNP gave me the opportunity to earn that much. It is the best thing that happened to me. Believe me when I say, that you will absolutely love the challenges a networking jobs offers you in an enterprise environment. To prepare for that, you need CCNP certification. I love troubleshooting and have been a networking professional since 2001. CCNP taught me how to install and configure LANs and WLANs in an enterprise environment where networking is at the core of communications.
Go for CCNP if you are brave enough to embrace the world of enterprise networking.
Henrika Andresen - Senior Network Engineer - Entrea Communications Corp.