Advice on CCSP track and/or ASA exams

Unanswered Question
Nov 18th, 2008

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for a little guidance if possible.

I've been living in UK for 6 months and for the most part have been studying my CCIE (R&S) of which I passed last Friday.

Over the course of the last few months I have been looking at work and although there are decent number of jobs with my skills, i'd have to say that I lack in the security aspect to be considered for some interviews.

I'm very much interested in CCSP and most likely CCIE Security (not for a while).

My exposure to PIX and ASA products is fairly limited. But I have worked on both devices.

I'm just pondering how to tackle my next cert...

Since the SNPA exam expires soon (mid Jan) I was thinking of doing that first since it covers PIX firewalls which I think are still used in business, and there is also adequate books/cbt training for it. Having done this, I think that I would have enough knowledge to hold my own in an interview coupled with some hands on experience via rack time.

From there I was going to do my CCNA Security and then follow up with SNRS.

Can anyone maybe give some input on whether this sounds like a good approach?

The only thing that is making the decision hard is the fact that if I do the SNAF exam and then just do the SNAA exam then I earn the Firewall specialist certification. But I dont know what books would be best for acheiving this...

If anyone could share their views I would really appreciate it.


Paul Alexander

CCIE #22671

I have this problem too.
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compsolv Tue, 11/18/2008 - 09:47

Since your certification goal is CCIE Security eventually, I think I would skip SNPA. Its replacement course will focus more on the technologies that you will face on the Lab Exam when the 3.X version releases in April of 2009.

If there are not already excellent Cisco Press titles out for the new course, there will be soon! You can also start your studies with the 8.X ASA Configuration Guide at

Anthony Sequeira

michael.leblanc Sat, 12/06/2008 - 14:00

Edit: Re: Rob's comments.

Although, you can now pursue the "Cisco ASA Specialist" certification with the combination of CCNA Security, Securing Networks with ASA Foundation (SNAF), and Securing Networks with ASA Advanced (SNAA).

Essentially, still a Firewall Specialist cert, but specific to the ASA hardware.

Best regards.

keller.oliver Fri, 12/12/2008 - 05:21

Hi Paul,

the Firewall specialist is being replaced with ASA specialist, just reflecting the replacement I see in our customers network (PIX out, ASA in)

Of course it's a good idea to know older products, just as it's good to know FORTRAN when everybody codes JAVA - there are LOTS of implementations that need that knowledge.

OTOH, if you're just getting into it, I'd prefer to get the actual knowledge first, then, on an if-needed-basis, I'd take a closer look at PIX. With the knowledge of SNAF and SNAA reading the PIX config guide should be enough for that.



paul_alexander Fri, 12/12/2008 - 05:45

Yeah the ASA specialist was the one I meant.

I took everyones advice and went for the newer exam (SNAF). In the last couple of weeks i've read David Huccaby's ASA, PIX, and FWSM handboook. It covers all the versions from 6.3 to 8.x anyways. That with some virtualized PIX in PEMU and I think i'll be ready for the exam in Jan/Feb.

I love how the newer PIX/ASA versions are so similar to IOS. Makes learning the command syntax a whole lot easier!


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