New CCNP here

Unanswered Question
Jan 15th, 2008

Hello everyone,

Yesterday I completed the ONT exam, the final exam I needed to complete for the CCNP certification. I just wanted to introduce myself and give a bit of background about myself. I was a network administrator in a Windows NT 4.0 and Windows server 2000/2003 environment for 7 years, and had some experience with the Cisco PIX 506 coordinating and monitoring a site-to-site IPsec VPN between two offices. I moved to my current company 7 months ago and in addition to completing my CCNP I am starting studies on my CCVP in a program where I'm training into a network voice engineer role within my organization. I have learned a great deal about Cisco IOS and network design and configuration in the year and a half or so that I've worked with routers, firewalls and switches, and have much more to learn. My eventual goal is to pursue both a CCIE in Voice and in Routing / Switching. I've learned a lot just from reading this discussion board since I achieved my CCNA certification, and hope to be able to contribute back to the community myself.


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Sachin.bhamra Wed, 01/16/2008 - 02:03

Excellent stuff Cody. Its good to see someone who not only knows their path in life but can clearly see them achieving it. Well done.

I currently am studying for my CCNP. At the beginning stages at the moment and plan on sittng my BCMSN exam in March.

How long did it take you to pass your CCNP exam/s from start of studying to finish? As I aim to give myself 1 year in total. 3 months per exam.


cjgranfl_cisco Wed, 01/16/2008 - 13:47


I think I ended up taking a total of just about a year to complete my CCNP certification, but that is also counting the time I put in studying for and getting my CCNA certification as well. I took quite a while studying for the CCNA exam, almost 6 months, so I had a firm grasp of the CCNA level concepts and that knowledge went a long way in preparing me for the CCNP exams. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to get paid on my job to study for my certifications, so I spent over 50 - 60 hours per week studying for the entire duration of that time period. I believe that I spent about 6 weeks on the BSCI, 6 weeks on the BCMSN, and a month each on the ISCW and ONT exams. As I move on and begin work on the CCVP certification, I want to stay strong in my knowledge of routing / switching so I am preparing to do about 6 hours of route / switch review of CCNP topics on my home equipment each weekend just to make sure the skills stay fresh in my mind and are reinforced by scenarios I'm planning on exercising.

I think your 3 months per exam is a very reasonable expectation, and you should find you have a firm grasp on the topics of each exam if you study hard for that time period. Good luck to you.


aciscolook Fri, 07/11/2008 - 01:30

I was just browsing around the CCNP talk on this forum and the fact that your company gave you paid time to study interested me. Do you know if this is the case with most companies? What might be the methods your company uses to retain you after you get all this great training? Just curious....


cjgranfl_cisco Fri, 07/11/2008 - 04:45


My opportunity is somewhat unique, and I consider myself very fortunate. I work for a company that has the business model and corporate culture that believes that the best engineers are made in a strong mentoring environment, and so a large part of my employment has been studying as well as project experience working alongside more senior engineers. I'm not sure how many other companies have this same approach, and I consider myself fortunate to have found this avenue into the network engineering industry from my network administration roots.

Retention has two sides; my company is a great place to work and with morale high and great career mobility rewarding hard work and dedication, nearly everyone who has been paid to study for their certifications is still with us. The other side of that is a reasonable employment contract; we must stay with the company for at least two years or we have a clause requiring partial or full repayment of that testing cost reimbursement.


asgerbert Wed, 07/16/2008 - 05:05

It is nice to know these companies still exist! I work for a South Korean Car manufacturing facility and they are the same way. They pay reimbusements for the exam costs and let me study at work while the plant is being built.

Congrats on the CCNP...big step!

aciscolook Wed, 07/16/2008 - 10:58

Kia Tigers...

Sounds interesting. This plant in Seoul?

What sort of Cisco stuff do they use there?

shilpashree Wed, 01/16/2008 - 21:20

hello Cody, Congratulations on achieving CCNP. Need your advice on the books that you referred to while preparing for all the exams. I have a target of 1 year- 3months per exam.

Thanks in advance

cjgranfl_cisco Fri, 01/18/2008 - 09:27


I used the Cisco Press Exam Certification guide books pretty much exclusively, for both my CCNA and CCNP studies. I have noticed that the Cisco Press Exam Certification guides tend to have a bit more information than the Cisco Press Exam Preparation guides, which are focused on coverage of the exam topics more exclusively. This makes the exam preparation guides an easier read in some peoples' opinion, but I like the more verbose exam cert guides since they make great reference materials for referring back to later on.

I also have copies of the Cisco Press portable command guides, for the CCNA, BSCI and BCMSN. These are indespensible, and I love that they demonstrate common configuration tasks on a line by line configuration basis and explain what is being accomplished in each line. I highly recommend these.


bauti1428 Tue, 07/29/2008 - 03:43

Do you think just having the SelfTest Software is enough to pass the CCNP exams? I used the same practice test software for my CCNA and it was great. I also have the CCNP self study from sivasubramanian.

cjgranfl_cisco Tue, 07/29/2008 - 04:43

Personally, I think it's very important to have hands-on experience with equipment or at least emulation software to get a feel for navigating around IOS and seeing how network hardware responds during configuration. I found that I retained concepts during my study if I practiced labs of my own design that exercised those concepts. With that said, everyone has a study technique or set of resources that work best for them, and we're all unique that way. I don't have any experience with SelfTest, so I can't rate that as a test tool. There are probably others within the community who could give you their opinion if they've used it.

Good luck in your studies!


bauti1428 Tue, 07/29/2008 - 05:14

I have no problem with hands on since we have a bunch of cisco devices here. 6500's, 3500, 3750's, Cisco ASA, PIX, 3800's and 1700's. Although is not required in our company to have the certification, I find it helpful. By the way, we use CDW to by some of our computer stuff. Thanks for the advise.


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