Unanswered Question
Oct 15th, 2008


I have done CCNA in Aug 2006 and BCMSN(CCNP)in MAY 2008. Now I am planning to write SNPA (CCSP).

*Shall I eligible to write SNAP exam?

*SNAP is goiing to expire on Jan 2009. So if I will write the SNPA now ,what will happen after Jan 2009?

Please guide in this matter..

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andrewdennehy Wed, 10/15/2008 - 22:28

My advice is don't waste your time on the SNPA. It is pretty out of date and doesn't have an updated version. The closest to it is 642-524 SNAF Securing Networks with ASA Foundation.

If you are interested in specialising in Security and completing the CCSP then I would go with the new SNAF as the SNPA will not count to the CCSP unless you can get all of the previous exams before they expire. The only way I would recommend you to take that exam is if it is the last exam you need for CCSP certfication, ie if you have some or all of the previous exams such as SND etc.

Alternatively, you could continue on the CCNP track and do the ISCW, the advantage is that there is quite a bit of security content in the coursework for that exam.

My advice(as someone who sat the SNPA a week before Cisco announced it was expiring!!) is not to bother with it. You will not get any certification out of it and the practical knowledge is quite stale too.

Hope this helps.


somnath21 Wed, 10/15/2008 - 23:56


Thank you very much for advice.

Actually I am working with Cisco PIX and ASA from last one and half year and want to complete CCSP certification. From last two months I am taking preparation for SNPA exam. But the SNPA exam going to expire soon and I didn't complete any other paper in CCSP yet.

I checked the SNAF exam topics and it's similar to SNPA.

Now the question is shall I start the CCSP certification with SNAF paper or If I want to write SNAF paper first , is it possible?

Need your advice...

andrewdennehy Fri, 10/17/2008 - 00:09

As far as I know the SNPA is not required for CCSP any more (unless you have sat all of the other exams).

The CCSP now requires 3 compulsory exams and one optional. The SNPA will not count towards your certification progress.

In order to certify, a prerequisite of CCNA Security (new CCNA option) or CCNA + SND is required. If you want to do the CCSP then you need to either pass the CCNA Security (can be sat at any time) or sit the SND before it expires in November.

The SND is worth trying if you think you can cover it in time. Combined with your CCNA it will certify you as an Information Security Specialist and it also means that you do not need to re-sit the CCNA Security in order to finish your CCSP. I sat the SND a few months ago and didn't find it too difficult.

All the details are here.

jcrussell Fri, 10/17/2008 - 05:53

The SNPA will indeed count towards your certification. All exams are valid for 3 years from the passing date. As long as you take the exam before it is no longer offered (duh), it will count. Even if you take all the updated versions of the other exams, the SNPA will count if you pass it.

Just log in to the certification tracking system and see. Go to "Certification Progress", then "CCSP". For me, section B1a shows SNPA 642-522, SNPA 642-523, AND SNAF 642-524 as being valid towards the CCSP.

Another example is the BSCI. I took the old version of the BSCI back in 2006. According to the tracking system, it is still valid towards the CCDP.

andrewdennehy Sun, 10/19/2008 - 00:34

So, can the SNPA be used in lieu of one of the new exams?

If you were to start the new curriculum now, you would need to pass 3 required and one elective exam. 642-504 SNRS, 642-524 SNAF and 642-533 IPS are the new required exams, plus one more from the list 642-591 CANAC, 642-545 MARS or 642-515 SNAA. The soon to be retired exams 642-513 HIPS and 642-544 MARS can also be counted as an elective but you must still pass the 3 new required exams.

This is where I get hazy. My reading of the requirements lead me to believe that the SNPA can not be used as a substitute for one of the 3 new exams. At best you would need to do the SNPA and the 3 new ones AND an elective.

I can see where you're coming from too and I might go to Cisco to clarify it. It'd be great if we could use the SNPA as a substitute for one of the new electives (as I have already passed it) but I think, for someone starting out on the CCSP, SNPA is a waste of time. I hope I am wrong, but I don't think so.

All that said, certification aside, I found the SNPA coursework to be quite good so it is worth it to have a look at it if you work on them regularly.

jcrussell Sun, 10/19/2008 - 05:02

From this link:

** Retired exams that have been passed may be used towards exam requirements for three years.

So, let's say one passed the 642-552 SND in July, the 642-503 SNRS in August, and the 642-523 SNPA in October. All three of those exams would count towards the CCSP for 3 years. All you would need to complete it would be the 642-533 IPS exam and one elective. You could take the 642-513 HIPS exam before 11/17/08, the 642-544 MARS exam before 1/18/09, or any of the other electives.

Like I said, I have logged in to the certification tracking system for myself. It shows that the only sections I still have left to complete are the IPS one and the elective one. It has the SNPA and the SNAF in the same section, and that section only requires you to complete one exam from it.

andrewdennehy Mon, 10/20/2008 - 17:46

Yup, you're correct. I checked my certification progress and it looks like the SNPA does count in lieu of the SNAF.

I hate being wrong, but it's good news for me!

On a side note, the prerequisite is either the CCNA + SND or the CCNA Security so you will still need to pass one of those two to certify.


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