Please Advice: Professional Level Certs

Unanswered Question
Jan 9th, 2008


My background degree is in electrical and electronics engineering but have a bias towards data networking. I started the CCNA trainig program straight after university to equip me with real life data communications skills. I gained my CCNA in November and I'm considering studying for the professional level certs. I have a couple of questions;

1. As I've not worked with my CCNA, is it sensible to carry on studying or gain some experience before attempting my CCNP? I feel like a job in the field will reinforce my knowledge as well as I need money to survive.

2. I need suggestions regarding books to use for the exams. I'm considering the Cisco press series but these are a little confusing in their title names. Do I get the Study guides or the exams guides? The study guides seem to have more details of the topics but do these come in a packaged box (multiple books in a box)?

3. If I'm not asking for too much does it make sense to acquire a Microsoft network cert? Though I'm already certified MCP but my interest is more in the data communications side of the network than what the servers do. Any advice will be helpful.

I have this problem too.
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Sachin.bhamra Wed, 01/09/2008 - 12:03


I too passed my CCNA in October 07 and pretty much straight away started studying the materials for CCNP. There is no harm in studying the materials and keeping your mind fresh on the subjects, this also looks good to recruiters to show them you are hungry for knowledge and willingness to learn.

Although being a Security Manager myself with no commercial IT experience, I am finding it somewhat difficult to get my foot in the door of IT. Nevertheless, I am actively applying everyday whilst studying for my CCNP.

The CCNP is split into 4 exams or 3 if you take the composite (Routing and Switching exam together). My advice would be to stick with CiscoPress books. I purchased the CCNP library which consists of 4 books, 1 for each exam. Also, I have started with the BCMSN exam as I prefer Switching over Routing, however the choice is yours.

I am trying to find a Video Mentor for the CCNP, if anyone knows of a good one please let me know.

If you are in the same boat as me, edit your CV and tailor it around the job you are looking for. If you're new to IT like me then you'll have to be more open minded with your IT skills. Post your CV on the main online agencies and go into the High Street agencies and register too.

People say Contract for a while before going permenant. However what I've noticed is most if not all Contract positions require you to know or have experience so you can just jump straight into that role.

And in your spare time, create a study plan for your CCNP and start reading.

My 2 cents worth.

steve_steele Wed, 01/09/2008 - 14:30


1) Continuing with CCNP is a great way of ensuring that you don't forget any of the skills picked up during your CCNA studies.

2) The study guides go into more detail and start from a more fundamental level. The exam guieds just tell you what you need to pass the exam. I'd recommend the Study Guides. I'd also reccomend reading "CCIE Routing and Switching" volumes 1 and 2. Don't be put off by the CCIE in the title they are excellent books with very thorough and extremely well written examples.

3) It depends on the type of job you are trying to aquire. I've found that getting a first networking role is difficult without experience. trying to get a Sys Admin role that includes looking after a few servers and a Cisco Boxes may be an easier way to get into a pure networking role. If you choose that route some Microsoft certs may be beneficial. I did CCNA then MCSE then CCNP for this reason but you may have better luck getting a pure networking role than I did.

Hope this helps



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