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l33tshane
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How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:21 am

hi all,

i've just completed my CCNA final exam and passed. i really enjoyed the course and am considering doing CCNP. how does it compare in terms of time to complete, and difficulty? and is it really worth having it on your CV?

it took me about 2 years to complete my CCNA as i was teaching myself from home, and using Netlabs for remote lab access. there is no local college i can go to for classes on it.

SimonV
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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:27 am

CCNA might get your foot in the door for a networking job, but you will need experience to back up your CCNP credentials.

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CDelapena2
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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:42 am

l33tshane wrote:it took me about 2 years to complete my CCNA as i was teaching myself from home, and using Netlabs for remote lab access. there is no local college i can go to for classes on it.

I would advise against getting CCNP without at least 2 years of experience. Paper CCNPs look very suspicous and employers will feel like you'll ask for a wage that doesn't fit your qualifications (this is what I've seen in the company I'm currently employed with). I would advise you to try to find some sort of IT related job immediately ideally a NOC position. Remember this: certifications will NEVER replace experience.
Yo, —embriagado de mis penas,— me devoro,
Y mis miserias lloro,
Y buitre de mí mismo me levanto,
Y me hiero y me curo con mi canto
Buitre a la vez que altivo Prometeo.—

l33tshane
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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:07 am

CDelapena2 wrote:
l33tshane wrote:it took me about 2 years to complete my CCNA as i was teaching myself from home, and using Netlabs for remote lab access. there is no local college i can go to for classes on it.

I would advise against getting CCNP without at least 2 years of experience. Paper CCNPs look very suspicous and employers will feel like you'll ask for a wage that doesn't fit your qualifications (this is what I've seen in the company I'm currently employed with). I would advise you to try to find some sort of IT related job immediately ideally a NOC position. Remember this: certifications will NEVER replace experience.


yeah i'd love an IT position. i've got low level experience, tech troubleshooting for wifi technologies, webspace, webpages, email etc (from a web hosting company and an ISP). but i live on a remote scottish island so theres hardly any sys admin type positions. was ideally looking to save up and try canada or OZ, or mabye even the states, for an entry level IT position, ideally sys admin to get experience. hopefully i can get something like that with my CCNA.

would prefer to do microsoft qualifications to broaden my skills, but cant find any way to do it remotely in britain without paying insane cash to the cowboy companies that do that sort of thing here (£1800 per year). which is why i'm considering CCNP. plus i just really enjoy the troubleshooting aspect of networking. hard work, but satisfying.

SimonV
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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:13 am

l33tshane wrote:would prefer to do microsoft qualifications to broaden my skills, but cant find any way to do it remotely in britain without paying insane cash to the cowboy companies that do that sort of thing here (£1800 per year). which is why i'm considering CCNP. plus i just really enjoy the troubleshooting aspect of networking. hard work, but satisfying.


Go selfstudy! You can learn more from books and CBT's than in most classrooms.

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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:23 am

If you want to learn MS technologies get a Technet subscription to get access to the software and buy VMware Workstation. Your main limit to what you can do will be dependent on how much RAM and CPU you have. Then buy some books and get to learning.

To get started without having to spend any money Microsoft has some free online labs. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/virt ... 67605.aspx

Mugaaz
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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:31 am

CDelapena2 wrote:
l33tshane wrote:it took me about 2 years to complete my CCNA as i was teaching myself from home, and using Netlabs for remote lab access. there is no local college i can go to for classes on it.

I would advise against getting CCNP without at least 2 years of experience. Paper CCNPs look very suspicous and employers will feel like you'll ask for a wage that doesn't fit your qualifications (this is what I've seen in the company I'm currently employed with). I would advise you to try to find some sort of IT related job immediately ideally a NOC position. Remember this: certifications will NEVER replace experience.


Oh Bologna, take any certification you want if it will expand your knowledge and you can pass it honestly. Worst case you dont put it on a resume. There is nothing "suspicious" about having cert X Y or Z, its suspicious when youre in a tech interview and can't answer the questions. That said, you may not get the financial benefits of certain certs without some experience, but there are plenty of people at college with CCNP and no experience who are going to beat out CCNA candidates with no experience for entry level jobs.

Rabid_Dove
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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:20 pm

It is much more satisfying. I have just passed SWITCH after having a CCNA for about a year and working on 6513's, 3560's and 5548's.

CCNA is like learning general education. So far CCNP is like learning coursework. If you enjoyed CCNA, I would venture you will seriously enjoy CCNP. CCNA was just to make sure you have a base understanding. CCNP will introduce the fun.

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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:49 pm

SimonV wrote:CCNA might get your foot in the door for a networking job, but you will need experience to back up your CCNP credentials.


This is the boat I'm in. You definitely WILL need experience. Since getting my CCNP, I'm getting an average of 2-3 contacts a day for jobs. The problem is, I don't have the experience or specific skillsets they are looking for, so I don't even bother seriously looking at them. Most of the job contacts are for Sr. Network Engineers with operational and troubleshooting experience (3 - 5+ years) on carrier circuits, MPLS, BGP, etc. Not to mention Juniper stuff, and a (somewhat rediculous in my opinion) slew of other skills.

I'm stuck between being overqualified for entry jobs, and due to lack of experience, underqualified for senior positions. I was extremely lucky to land myself in the position I'm in, but it's Engineering. This is great if you've already been around the block for a while, but for myself, having ZERO days of operational/administration experience really, really hurts me. It will be difficult to walk into any operational role and ask for the same pay I'm getting now as an Engineer with the level of operational experience I have (Again, zero).

If you can swing an entry level job in a NOC - I highly encourage you do it. It will be immensely more difficult to do later in life with family/kids etc.

P.S. - Oh yeah, LEARN NETWORKING MANAGEMENT TOOLS! You won't get introduced to this during your studies, and it's in just about every job description I've seen. This is also something difficult for me to do - that's handled by a completely different team.

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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:56 pm

Oh, and I forgot to answer the question.

I haven't taken the new CCNA but I hear it's harder than the previous, and some have dared to say it's harder than the CCNP. It took me quite alot of time to finally obtain the CCNP via self-study (2 years?), but I didn't hit the books nearly as hard as I could have. I know folks that completed it in within a year. It's three exams vs. one (Or two), so it should take a bit longer than your CCNA - and it will go much more in depth in each discipline. Actually, it's more like 2.5 exams... TSHOOT is more of a speed bump... it's ROUTE/SWITCH that are the meat and potatoes.
Last edited by Retired Account on Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mugaaz
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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:09 pm

IMO CCNP isn't harder, its just MORE. You need to know more of everything you learned previously, plus some new concepts and protocols. There is nothing inherently more difficult about it, there is just a lot more to learn, study, and memorize.

silakh
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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:34 pm

CCNA is no qualification, it's a joke. you can just go through to ccnp at once if you want. they will assess you anyways with or without certs.

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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:35 pm

silakh wrote:CCNA is no qualification, it's a joke. you can just go through to ccnp at once if you want. they will assess you anyways with or without certs.



Ummm. Excuse me? Did you brain dump it? Those are brave, and to me personally, somewhat insulting words.

EDIT - P.S. - A current, valid CCNA is required to take a CCNP exam. IIRC.

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Vito_Corleone
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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:13 pm

very
http://blog.alwaysthenetwork.com

shael_at
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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:38 pm

silakh wrote:CCNA is no qualification, it's a joke. you can just go through to ccnp at once if you want. they will assess you anyways with or without certs.


As someone who's been in IT for 6 years and in Networking specifically going into year 3, I couldn't disagree more.

The CCNA these days is a comprehensive exam that's not going to be a "breeze", even if you're exposed to the technology daily.

Anyone who thinks "you can go through the CCNP at once" should note it's 3 exams with intermediate to senior level knowledge and technologies.

Troll harder

Langly
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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:51 pm

shael_at wrote:
silakh wrote:CCNA is no qualification, it's a joke. you can just go through to ccnp at once if you want. they will assess you anyways with or without certs.



Troll harder



Or you know, he can dump harder if thats the case :)

CCNA is a hard test for an intro test and I'm always weary of anybody that does a week long bootcamp to pass the test without any applicable work experience. My old bosses did that and I still knew 3x more about networking than they did and it sickened me.

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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:48 pm

Langly wrote:
shael_at wrote:
silakh wrote:CCNA is no qualification, it's a joke. you can just go through to ccnp at once if you want. they will assess you anyways with or without certs.



Troll harder



Or you know, he can dump harder if thats the case :)

CCNA is a hard test for an intro test and I'm always weary of anybody that does a week long bootcamp to pass the test without any applicable work experience. My old bosses did that and I still knew 3x more about networking than they did and it sickened me.


LOL very funny (@ the dump comment not the OP!)

If it took you two years for CCNA but you didn't try hard + no real life experience then figure a year for CCNP with trying.
I strongly suggest you lab the heck out of it - second hand kit, GNS3, whatever. You'll need this badly to come anywhere near close to a 'real' CCNP level (i.e. 3 years experience + CCNP).

I personally dislike Cisco's test approach but here are some things in real life that no amount of dumping prepares you for...
- budgets affecting design
- no neat 3-4 router topologies, no neat 10.1.1.0/24 subnets, legacy configs and band-aids and workarounds everywhere
- executing changes without dropping connectivity (you're not going to be there with a console cable a lot of the time)
- layer 4-8 considerations including application stack, people (layer 8)
- real life medium-large networks are always a magnitude more complex than any CCNP level lab scenario from Cisco materials, sure you know the individual topics but can you put it together?
- In real life when you design draft and execute a change its not a lab: the timer is ticking and you HAVE to fix it by hook or crook, can't go away and try it again, restart routers at will, console into everything....

Just my 2c, by all means go for it but right now experience/exposure is THE KEY.
Personally I would always hire a CCNA with 2-3 years experience over a pure paper CCNP and so would most managers I know. THere are a lot of scum sucking dumpers out there.

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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:17 pm

It didn't take me two years to pass CCNA. It was to obtain CCNP.

The only way you're going to obtain CCNP without lab work is to dump it. Dunno how that even has to be said.

EDIT - Also, I dunno where you get this "neat /24 network" opinion from because it can't be from the CCNA. CCNA might talk about that for like 2-3 pages out of the cert book before quickly moving on to VLSM and never references it again.

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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:55 pm

a.) I was addressing the OP not you..... I may have misread it where it said two years, was that you not the OP?

b.) moot point - I think you're nitpicking here, even the VLSM examples in textbooks/labs have far neater addressing than real life. Every had to reject designs or incorporate disruptive re-addressing into a project because the original setup didn't follow best practice and prevented summarisation or the like? Put a band aid on top of a band aid or rip it apart at cost and time disruption? etc. My point merely being that pure study in no way prepares you for real life complexity in medium-large networks.

I'm not sure what your point is, I was more or less saying the same kind of thing as you, so not sure what you're trying to do nit picking what I've said.

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RoDDy
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Re: How difficult is CCNP compared to CCNA?

Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:46 pm

For me when i did the ccna it wasnt an easy exam at all (hardest topics for me was NAT and ACLs). At the end of the day all exams require time and effort both in theory and practical.

The OP said it took 2 years for the CCNA. My advice would be to go after his CCNP at an easy pace ensuring that he has every topic covered in its entirety. If CCNA took 2 years then CCNP might take 3 maybe 2.5 years to to complete? During that time it would be good to be constantly searching for a job in the field so that you can land it before u get CCNP to gain a bit of experience.

Everyone is saying go after experience first (which is good advice) but jobs dont jus appear overnight so in the meantime work on improving your skills and go after the CCNP while searching.

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