CCNP Paths to Certification?

Unanswered Question
Dec 28th, 2007

I want to obtain CCNP and I would eventually like to obtain CCIE. But present focus is CCNP.

My CCNA from 2000 has expired, but I've looked at the current CCNA exam requirements and a number of books for it and I don't think I'll have any problem passing the new exam (CCNA). I plan on taking it in January.

I want to go ahead and order the books I'll need to prepare for CCNP. But I see that there are 2 (or more) paths for it. Which path should I follow?

At work, we run 6 4006's, 20+ 2900's, and 12 to 15 routers (2700 and up). Our site connects to 20+ other sites via MPLS. I also have a non-production lab setup with 1 2500, 1 2600 and 1 2900XL. But, I do NOT have access to any Cisco wireless devices. (I use a Linksys wireless router at home.)

With all of this said, I want to accomplish 3 things:

1. Learn as much as possible about routing, switching and anything else that will allow me to prepare for further promotion at work. (I'm considered "management" but my love is networking.

2. Be prepared for other employment opportunities by having a excellent - not "good" - understanding of current technologies.

3. Work toward obtaining CCIE.


With the above in mind, which CCNP path do you recommend I follow?

Should I get CCDA before CCNP?

What material do you recommend I use? (I don't want to simply pass the exam. I want to have a excellent understanding of the technologies.)

Do I need to buy a wireless Cisco device? If so, can wireless be added to any of the above devices?

I'm interested in any recommendations you have and I'll appreciate any that you offer.

Sorry this is so long. I just want you to have a clear picture of where I am and where I want to go.



I have this problem too.
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Hi John

Firstly let me say that I am in the same position as yourself, just maybe a little further on in so far as I am currently studying for my CCNP.

On the question of whether you should sit the CCDA prior to the CCNP, I would say it would depend on what you want to end up working at. CCDA as I am sure you are aware is the Network Design track's Associate level certification which leads onto the CCDP.

If the path you wish to pursue is Network Design then this would might be a way to go. However if you successfully resit your CCNA and then pass your CCNP, AFAIK you only have to pass one more exam to qualify as a CCDP. So IMHO I would pass on the CCDA.

As far as material goes for the CCNP and again this is just my opinion, I would suggest the following materials.


Routing TCP/IP Vol 1& 2 (2nd Edition) by Jeff Doyle (The routing Bibles)

Internet Routing Architectures (2nd Edition) by Sam Halabi (Excellent resource for BGP Routing)

CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide (3rd Edition) by Wendell Odom

These books will serve you well for your CCNP and on into your CCIE.

I also found the Study material by Chris Bryant ( and the CBT's from Train Signal (also narrated by Chris Bryant) to be quite good for getting just what I need for the required exam.

Cisco Press also have some good books aimed specifically at the CCNP track which I also have. However I find that due to their specificity towards the CCNP, they would just cover what was required for that exam which would leave me with lots of questions which were not answered in the text. So I would end up on either the Cisco site or google looking for answers. With the CCIE texts I don't have this problem.

Well apologies for such a long reply. Just wanted to share with you what is working for me at present.

Best Regards and Best Wishes for 2008 and beyond,


John Hobbs Sat, 12/29/2007 - 09:41

Thanks for your reply Michael.

Re: "...due to their specificity towards the CCNP, they would just cover what was required for that exam which would leave me with lots of questions which were not answered in the text."

That's the impression I got after using Sybex / Todd Lammle for my 2000 CCNA. The book was written as a study for the CCNA exam, but it left me with a lot of questions. I guess I just wanted more.

Thanks for taking the time to write an excellent detailed reply to my post.

Best of success to you - and Shawn - in the coming year!


sgregg Sat, 12/29/2007 - 07:39

Cisco press offers specific books for each of the 4 tests in the CCNP. The books are well written and pretty well cover all the material that you could be tested on. As for the 2 paths I am not familiar with 2 paths unless you are speaking of whether or not you take the routing and switching exams separately or take them together in the form of the composite exam. I chose the composite but I had no problem digesting and maintaining 2 books worth of materials for one test. I personally read all 4 books (2 of them twice)and watched the CBT nuggets for all 4 exams and did about 100 hours of lab time.

2 notes on your CCNA and CCIE. The CCNA is not as easy as you would think it would be, I renewed my CCNA the beginning of this year and I believe that test was one of the more difficult exams I took this year. I will say the new CCNA books are written way better than the books I used in 2000 for my first CCNA.

As for the CCIE, if you roll through all the materials for the CCNP you will be over halfway ready for your CCIE and couldnt find yourself at a better starting point. I would highly recommend you go directly into pursuing your CCIE immediately after passing your CCNP but be prepared to do many many many more labs.

Also if you get your CCIE you dont have to take the CCDA exam, you can go straight to the arch exam and get your CCDP which I would think would be your best bet.

Good luck!


John Hobbs Sat, 12/29/2007 - 09:30

Thanks for your reply Shawn.

I probably sounded too confident about the CCNA. I have noticed that the new books cover much more material than was required for the old exam. And I think you're right about the new books being better written. Not sure though as it may be related to fact that I understand many of the concepts from past studies.

Can you tell me a little more about CBT Nuggets? What, where, etc?

Thanks for taking the time to offer me as much info as you did!



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