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  1. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #26
    I'm suggesting CCNA > CCNP forget about the specializations. If you still have plans to do the CCSP after you finish the NP then go onto the CCNA Sec, but only because its a prerequisite. I don't think you will get any thing useful from it career wise.

    Same reason I say worry about the ISCW first, and after you take that exam you won't have much more to learn to do the CCNA Sec and the NP is a lot more valuable career wise. I'm not saying the ISCW is easier, just that it covers a lot of the stuff already so you won't have much to add to get the other.
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  3. The Colosus of Clout Paul Boz's Avatar
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    #27
    Please take your time and learn the material rather than power-cramming to get eight tests in 12 months. No offense, but you don't even have a CCNA yet. What makes you think you'll even be able to pass the exams with only 45 days of study each? I spent eight months alone on the CCNP and its not because I'm a slacker or because I'm slow. Set your goals a little more narrow and you'll see them through.

    also, do not do the CCNP and CCSP exams out of order. That's a very quick way to drag out and never complete either one of the tracks. That basically makes both certs an eight test track because you're putting other tests in between the ones that get you the certs.

    My honest advice would be to do the CCNA and CCNA Security to build a foundation, then start on the BSCI, BCMSN, ONT, and ISCW. Doing the ISCW last will be a nice segue into the security track. It will also allow you to claim a professional level certification quicker than doing the tests out of order and off-track. I say do the CCNA Security after the CCNA and not after the CCNP because the foundation knowledge you'll get can apply to a decent bit of the CCNP material, not just the ISCW. The BCMSN, for example, has a ton on securing switches.
    Last edited by Paul Boz; 09-30-2009 at 01:28 PM.
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    #28
    Quote Originally Posted by networker050184 View Post
    I'm suggesting CCNA > CCNP forget about the specializations. If you still have plans to do the CCSP after you finish the NP then go onto the CCNA Sec, but only because its a prerequisite. I don't think you will get any thing useful from it career wise.

    Same reason I say worry about the ISCW first, and after you take that exam you won't have much more to learn to do the CCNA Sec and the NP is a lot more valuable career wise. I'm not saying the ISCW is easier, just that it covers a lot of the stuff already so you won't have much to add to get the other.
    Ok I see what you are saying. Let me give you some background and maybe this would change your mind:

    Yesterday a Level II Net engineer told me that the way to get out of the noc is to get a CCSP (they really want ASA guys cuz were moving all of our firewalls to ASAs and making a big Cisco push). I obviously dont want to get stuck doing this basic Sh!t forever and (even at tier II, which I am now) I wont get to do any real Sh!t until I make Network Engineer I. My main goal for next year was to get a CCSP (not a CCNP) and I only added a CCNP to my list because I read some of the forum threads talking about CCSPs not knowing routing protocols and so on. So I decided I need to do both.

    I wanted to get my CCNA:S to show my bosses that I am working towards security (very very big here). CCNPs are not as desired. There is a CCNP who is doing the same job as me (tier II noc). So that is what my main focus is: CCSP>CCNP but CCNP is a needed cert to round out my skill set. Does this change you mind.
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    #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Boz View Post
    Please take your time and learn the material rather than power-cramming to get eight tests in 12 months. No offense, but you don't even have a CCNA yet. What makes you think you'll even be able to pass the exams with only 45 days of study each? I spent eight months alone on the CCNP and its not because I'm a slacker or because I'm slow. Set your goals a little more narrow and you'll see them through.
    None taken. And this is just a goal: something Iam aiming towards not something that I feel like I must do by the end of the next year. In all seriousness If it took 18 I would be ok with that and being realistic that is probably what it is going to take. 18 months is my "planned". 12 months is my goal that would be nice. That would be like winning the lottery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Boz View Post
    also, do not do the CCNP and CCSP exams out of order. That's a very quick way to drag out and never complete either one of the tracks. That basically makes both certs an eight test track because you're putting other tests in between the ones that get you the certs.

    My honest advice would be to do the CCNA and CCNA Security to build a foundation, then start on the BSCI, BCMSN, ONT, and ISCW. Doing the ISCW last will be a nice segue into the security track. It will also allow you to claim a professional level certification quicker than doing the tests out of order and off-track. I say do the CCNA Security after the CCNA and not after the CCNP because the foundation knowledge you'll get can apply to a decent bit of the CCNP material, not just the ISCW. The BCMSN, for example, has a ton on securing switches.
    This is what I planned to do (or something close to that).
    Thinking about what I said about 12 months vs 18 months, I think if I could get the CCNP and ASA spec before the end of 2010 I would be happy.
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  6. Senior Member miller811's Avatar
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    #30
    You are asking for advice, so I will offer you some.

    I faced the same dilema after passing CCNA, the advice given was to learn routing and switching before security. How can you secure a network unless you know routing and switching first? I have since finshed the NP track and then I am slowly working in completing the Design track, again with the understanding how can you design a network if you do not understand the routing and switching.

    Not sure if it is a valid argument, but I bought it.

    Good luck, and keep studying.
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  7. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #31
    If you think the CCSP will help you more then just concentrate on that. You are going to be spreading yourself pretty thin trying to get all these exams done. The goal should be knowledge, but I don't think that is why you want these certs. You are trying to run full speed into being a paper cert. You barley have any experience yet want every pro level cert under the sun. My advice would be slow down, learn something and take it one exam at a time.
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  8. Senior Member ColbyG's Avatar
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    #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Boz View Post
    Please take your time and learn the material rather than power-cramming to get eight tests in 12 months. No offense, but you don't even have a CCNA yet. What makes you think you'll even be able to pass the exams with only 45 days of study each? I spent eight months alone on the CCNP and its not because I'm a slacker or because I'm slow. Set your goals a little more narrow and you'll see them through.
    These are my thoughts as well. I try not to be discouraging, but people seem to think you can breeze through the Professional track, which is definitely not true. Going from the CCNA to the CCNP is a huge leap, the material is exponentially deeper and without a lot of hands on experience it's difficult to pick it up quickly.

    It's great to have goals, but I've always tried to take things one step at a time and not plan too far ahead.
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    #33
    Quote Originally Posted by networker050184 View Post
    If you think the CCSP will help you more then just concentrate on that. You are going to be spreading yourself pretty thin trying to get all these exams done. The goal should be knowledge, but I don't think that is why you want these certs. You are trying to run full speed into being a paper cert. You barley have any experience yet want every pro level cert under the sun. My advice would be slow down, learn something and take it one exam at a time.

    Knowledge is always my goal. But I don't think a cert shows "knowledge"; I think it shows the regurgitation of the amount of information equivalent to a passing mark on an exam. Knowledge is information applied, and I will never get to apply the information if I don’t get into a job where I can apply the information. The job that will allow me to do that is Net Engineer I which would require a Pro cert (preferably the CCSP).
    I’m not trying to be combative or anything but when exactly is the right time to follow your dream and at what pace should you follow it? It seems like networker and Paul are concerned that I may be setting my goals to high or chasing after something that will not be obtainable. They may be right. And it’s possible that I don’t get anything done next year. Hell, I could die next year or tomorrow. CBTS could go under. Who the hell knows really…?
    What I do know is that I want to be the best and the competition is tough. Crazy tough and the only way to stand out is to have all 3 (experience, degree, certifications) which in turn turn into knowledge. I will never get the first 1 without getting the last 2 first. So in a way you are right networker, my goal for obtaining the CCSP/CCNP is not for knowledge, it is for the opportunity to get knowledge.
    Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I can’t do it but I am going to try because I know what I want: To be THEE Network Engineer and in order to be a network engineer you have to (wait for it) be a network engineer. Not read about it in a book or anything like that. I hope this doesn’t offend anyone but this is just my belief.
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    #34
    Well it's 15 months from now until the end of 2010, so the eight pro exams come close to being averaged out to one every two months. That's shortened a little since ICND2 is 12 days out, and I'll have to squeeze in CCNA:S somewhere, but I don't think makes things impossible either. It's just a challenge; if it takes an extra 3-6 months, so be it. I'm just going to keep plugging away and see where I end up

    P.S. If you die soon, can I have your ASA and 3550 you'll be getting?
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    #35
    If you are really looking at ASAs are what you are going to be working with then you may want to just get the ASA specialist. Then after that move from to what you want to do next after that.
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    #36
    Quote Originally Posted by dynamik View Post
    Well it's 15 months from now until the end of 2010, so the eight pro exams come close to being averaged out to one every two months. That's shortened a little since ICND2 is 12 days out, and I'll have to squeeze in CCNA:S somewhere, but I don't think makes things impossible either. It's just a challenge; if it takes an extra 3-6 months, so be it. I'm just going to keep plugging away and see where I end up
    I like you thinking.

    And thats all Im saying. It is just a goal. Like benching 300lbs in highschool. If you only get to 275 you still did a very very good thing.

    Edit: And no sorry . I am going to need to secure my coffin. Cant let the undead hackers in. Especially since they rolled out the OSUP2CP (offensive security undead professional person certified pentester) they have been much more skilled in the hacks.
    Last edited by Bl8ckr0uter; 09-30-2009 at 02:15 PM.
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  13. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #37
    Have you ever stopped to think that maybe you are not a network engineer because you don't have the experience to be one not because you don't have the certs? Certifications are great to go along with your experience, but you are trying to fast track and skip that experience step. I'm not trying to be a jerk to you, but you need to keep your expectations in check and your goals realistic. If we thought your plan was great and realistic you wouldn't be getting negative feed back here. People that have been in your shoes are just trying to give you some sound advice.

    This is all my opinion and take it or leave it, up to you.
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    #38
    Quote Originally Posted by networker050184 View Post
    Have you ever stopped to think that maybe you are not a network engineer because you don't have the experience to be one not because you don't have the certs? Certifications are great to go along with your experience, but you are trying to fast track and skip that experience step. I'm not trying to be a jerk to you, but you need to keep your expectations in check and your goals realistic. If we thought your plan was great and realistic you wouldn't be getting negative feed back here. People that have been in your shoes are just trying to give you some sound advice.

    This is all my opinion and take it or leave it, up to you.

    But the thing is how can I get experience as a network engineering if I am not a network engineer? Riddle me that lol

    But yes I do know what you mean. really I do understand what you are saying. How did you get into network engineering?
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  15. The Colosus of Clout Paul Boz's Avatar
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    #39
    Quote Originally Posted by knwminus View Post
    networker and Paul are concerned that I may be setting my goals to high or chasing after something that will not be obtainable.
    That is not what I am saying at all and if that is how you're taking my advice you're taking it wrong. I'm saying that your over-all goals are fine, it is the short term goals that are skewed. I got my CCNA in 2007 and look at all of the Cisco certs I have now. Going fast is not a problem, its just making sure you're going at it in the right order and getting the hands on experience at the same time. I have been lucky enough to work with most of the technologies that I have been tested on. For someone with little to no experience (even at a CCNA level) to attempt these exams faster than I did them probably isn't the best idea, that's all I'm saying to you.

    Make your short term goal something like "CCNA by January 1st" and see where you are after that. If you finish it early immediately start on the BSCI or the CCNA-Security. If you haven't taken a Cisco exam you really can't prepare for how long you may need to study. Use the CCNA to gauge that.

    Quote Originally Posted by knwminus View Post
    But the thing is how can I get experience as a network engineering if I am not a network engineer? Riddle me that lol

    But yes I do know what you mean. really I do understand what you are saying. How did you get into network engineering?
    Started at an ISP in tech support -> Moved into the NOC -> got hands on experience there, then supplemented it with certs. Make sure that your experience level matches your certs, too. I know a guy with more Cisco certs than I have but with very little to no real world experience. He has a hard time finding work sometimes because he's over-certified for what he actually knows.
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  16. sporadic member shednik's Avatar
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    #40
    Quote Originally Posted by networker050184 View Post
    Have you ever stopped to think that maybe you are not a network engineer because you don't have the experience to be one not because you don't have the certs? Certifications are great to go along with your experience, but you are trying to fast track and skip that experience step. I'm not trying to be a jerk to you, but you need to keep your expectations in check and your goals realistic. If we thought your plan was great and realistic you wouldn't be getting negative feed back here. People that have been in your shoes are just trying to give you some sound advice.

    This is all my opinion and take it or leave it, up to you.
    I have to agree with the majority here...I have a little over a year and half of experience and I'm not ready to grab an NP or SP yet. Just learn don't worry about the piece of paper, you can rush through this and it will show even if you get the new job. Do you really want to move up when you're not ready and potentially embarrass yourself or worse cost the company alot of money because of a mistake due to inexperience? We've all made mistakes and it will happen, but without experience you may not be able to catch it or fix it. Just stay in the NOC for ATLEAST a year gain some experience and keep studying. If something comes up beforehand give it a shot but don't worry so much about those letters at the end of your name. You have a job already and want to move up in the company...try excelling at your current position(not saying you don't) but delivering excellent results will get manangements attention alot faster then a piece of paper trust me.
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  17. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #41
    You get to be an engineer (and job titles are stupid, I'm more referring to the level of work being done rather than what your title is) by working with the stuff at a lower level for a while. I was in the military for six years doing networks and worked my way up from managing one router to an entire network over that time by proving my knowledge at a lower level and showing the aptitude to handle more responsibility. I wasn't working at this high of a level from the beginning. There is a lot of knowledge to be had studying for certifications, but its probably only about 25% of what you need to know to be a good engineer. The rest comes from working with the stuff and and learning how it really works, and not the perfect world book way.

    In case you are wondering, I started in my CCNP after having over six years working with this stuff and it still took me over a year. Sure I could have probably powered through and got it done in half the time, but I wouldn't have gotten out of it what I did.
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    #42
    Quote Originally Posted by shednik View Post
    I have to agree with the majority here...I have a little over a year and half of experience and I'm not ready to grab an NP or SP yet. Just learn don't worry about the piece of paper, you can rush through this and it will show even if you get the new job. Do you really want to move up when you're not ready and potentially embarrass yourself or worse cost the company alot of money because of a mistake due to inexperience? We've all made mistakes and it will happen, but without experience you may not be able to catch it or fix it. Just stay in the NOC for ATLEAST a year gain some experience and keep studying. If something comes up beforehand give it a shot but don't worry so much about those letters at the end of your name. You have a job already and want to move up in the company...try excelling at your current position(not saying you don't) but delivering excellent results will get manangements attention alot faster then a piece of paper trust me.
    For the record I do want to say that the network engineers do stay in the noc. They are just like higher level NOC techs (they do basically the same thing as us execpt they get a little more control). They still answer to the Network Engineer II's and Network Engineers III's.

    Everyone is saying get more experience and all but how would experience in a position that doesn't train me for the position that I want help me.
    Example: If I am helpdesk guy for 4 years and I want to get into Software development what would be better spending another year doing helpdesk stuff or finding a job as a jr software developer. The network engineer I's are JR net engineers so in concept it is kind of the same thing. I have done helpdesk for 3 years. I want to get into networking. Wouldn't it be to my benefit to get a JR network position rather than spend more time doing something I don't want to do?
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    #43
    Quote Originally Posted by networker050184 View Post
    You get to be an engineer (and job titles are stupid, I'm more referring to the level of work being done rather than what your title is) by working with the stuff at a lower level for a while. I was in the military for six years doing networks and worked my way up from managing one router to an entire network over that time by proving my knowledge at a lower level and showing the aptitude to handle more responsibility. I wasn't working at this high of a level from the beginning. There is a lot of knowledge to be had studying for certifications, but its probably only about 25% of what you need to know to be a good engineer. The rest comes from working with the stuff and and learning how it really works, and not the perfect world book way.

    In case you are wondering, I started in my CCNP after having over six years working with this stuff and it still took me over a year. Sure I could have probably powered through and got it done in half the time, but I wouldn't have gotten out of it what I did.
    That is what I want to do. Maybe there is an issue with titles here. How about I put it like this: I would like to be a JR network engineer/Network tech and I would like to move into that type of job quickly to get where I want to go.
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  20. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #44
    IMO you are right where you need to be to get the experience needed to move up. Once you prove you have mastered your current position, you can ask for more responsibilities and the opportunity to move up. You don't just go work at the highest level because thats what you want. Those aren't entry level positions and no matter how many certifications you get you are still entry level in the networking world.
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    #45
    Quote Originally Posted by networker050184 View Post
    IMO you are right where you need to be to get the experience needed to move up. Once you prove you have mastered your current position, you can ask for more responsibilities and the opportunity to move up. You don't just go work at the highest level because thats what you want. Those aren't entry level positions and no matter how many certifications you get you are still entry level in the networking world.

    Fair enough. I just don't think me (as far as knowledge) to sit here and ping, telnet, sho commands and then have someone tell me to route it. Sigh
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    #46
    I should mention that I'm sort of a different case. I really don't have any aspirations to be a network engineer or anything like that. I just want to understand those areas better and figure I might as well pick up a few papers along the way. I'm mostly just doing this for fun and personal fulfilment. I don't think I should necessarily be seen as an example for how to go about this.
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  23. The Colosus of Clout Paul Boz's Avatar
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    #47
    Quote Originally Posted by knwminus View Post
    Fair enough. I just don't think me (as far as knowledge) to sit here and ping, telnet, sho commands and then have someone tell me to route it. Sigh
    Man my old NOC job was basically this:

    Come to work, sit in front of some monitors / big LCD TVs and watch alerts from HP Openview and a few other system monitoring services. I also processed troubletickets from customers over night. I did ZERO network device configuration but I did learn how the devices interact and read the configs to see the real world implementations. You can PASSIVELY learn as much as your mind is willing to allow without ACTIVELY handling the equipment. Do you guys have a topology diagram available to you? If so, study that and make sure you understand why devices are placed where they are and understand what they do.

    Again, there are tons of ways that someone in your position can passively get the knowledge which you want. that is how I learned ISP architecture. I wasn't just born knowing how things work. Whenever I would look at our topology diagram I would identify devices that I was unfamiliar with then google what they are, what they are used for, then try to make sense of why we were using it.
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    #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Boz View Post
    Man my old NOC job was basically this:

    Come to work, sit in front of some monitors / big LCD TVs and watch alerts from HP Openview and a few other system monitoring services. I also processed troubletickets from customers over night. I did ZERO network device configuration but I did learn how the devices interact and read the configs to see the real world implementations. You can PASSIVELY learn as much as your mind is willing to allow without ACTIVELY handling the equipment. Do you guys have a topology diagram available to you? If so, study that and make sure you understand why devices are placed where they are and understand what they do.
    That is exactly the same way this job even down to the hp open view ( which I like btw). I will look for a topology diagram as well.
    For me when I got the job I was like Oh sh1t Im going to work in the noc but now Im like yea Im in the noc but I have less freedom/access than my old job (at least this pays better). But one thing that I can see here that I never saw at my old job was people actually doing what I want to do (which is important for me). So I guess I will calm down and wait it out BUT still actively look to get my foot up the ladder. And I still am going to go for my pro level certs, more than likely CCNP first although if they start leaning heavily towards Asas then I will get my ASA specialist. In fact I might get that first then go for the CCNP then finish the CCSP just to have the cert behind me. But before that I am going to focus on getting this CCNA done in a few weeks and CCNA:S in a few weeks after that.
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    #49
    I think you've "planned" enough for now.

    You've just started a good job that will hopefully offer you some pretty good opportunities down the road -- and don't you have 3 months (or now 2 months and 3 weeks) to get your CCNA?

    How well you do on the CCNA exams can be used as an indicator as to how well you might down on the CCNP/CCSP exams. The better you do on the CCNA exams the better the foundation you've laid for the harder professional level exams.

    I'm going with the CCNA:Security as your next exam after the CCNA since it's an easy exam. You probably do want to look at least one exam ahead so that you can get the books, cbts, and lab equipment -- but don't lose focus on your current target. People have had good luck with the CCNA:Security exam just using the Exam Cert Guide and CBT Nuggets -- and you can do Labs in Dynamips/GNS3. And I think the Cisco Press Self-Study book is out now -- which could be useful and a better place to start for a "still wet behind the ears CCNA" Cisco noob.

    Planning does not equal progress. Tweaking your CCNA:Security Lab so that its ready for when you need it doesn't help you earn your CCNA now. Sitting on eBay to get that great deal on a 2650XM or 2651XM for your future CCNP lab doesn't get you any closer to earning your CCNA now. Trying to figure out the order to that the CCNP exans doesn't get you the CCNA any better or faster.

    The CCNA:Security after the CCNA lets you focus a little more on the new job and gives you a chance to figure out how you'll balance work/study/life. But since the CCNA:Security exam is "easy" -- that's why I suggested Doyle as your "fun reading" when you need a study break. Read Doyle to learn the Routing technology and only start to worry about the specifics of the BSCI exam when it's the next exam you've decided to do. Then after you finish a Doyle chapter, go back to studying and preparing for the CCNA:Security exam.

    Quote Originally Posted by ColbyNA View Post
    Going from the CCNA to the CCNP is a huge leap, the material is exponentially deeper and without a lot of hands on experience it's difficult to pick it up quickly.
    Yep -- the first Cisco Professional level exam serves as a "reality check" for a lot of people. You'll find out, probably even while you're still studying for the first professional exam, if the CCNP and CCSP in one year is still a valid goal for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by ColbyNA View Post
    It's great to have goals, but I've always tried to take things one step at a time and not plan too far ahead.
    Hey -- that's what I'm trying to say. You just did it in a lot less words

    Quote Originally Posted by miller811 View Post
    How can you secure a network unless you know routing and switching first?
    I think I've used that line a few times in my life

    Both the CCSP and CCVP forum FAQs have CCNP vs CCxP sections
    CCSP or CCNP? Can I go straight from the CCNA to the CCVP without doing the CCNP? The answer is Yes, fer sure, why not. If you have a Voice or Security opportunity and the CCVP or CCSP helps you get it, then it probably makes sense to do either of those before the CCNP. But you probably will want to get that CCNP at a later date -- since it will make you a better CCVP or CCSP.

    But if you don't have a Voice or Security opportunity knocking on your door -- and no chance to get that real world Voice or Security experience needed for those jobs -- the CCNP is then your next logical step beyond the CCNA. Once you have those years of networking experience and the CCNP, you can use that (along with a new CCVP or CCSP) to try to "cross over" into Security or Voice.

    Now stop posting and go study some routing and/or switching. In the time you've spent posting in this thread you could probably have perfected your knowlege of RIP
    Last edited by mikej412; 09-30-2009 at 04:40 PM. Reason: bolded my main point -- Planning does not equal progress
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  26. CCIE Bound kryolla's Avatar
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    Start volunteering to help out on projects even if it means on your off time and start poking around and ask questions to the upper level engineers you might get crap work that they dont want to do. This will show to management that you are willing to learn and after a couple of projects they will know if you are cut out to be an engineer or not. Thats what I did, I worked during the day and helped out engineers at night then when a slot opened up I was recommended. Just because you get a cert they might not bump you up or they might bump you up and then ask you to get the cert. My 2 cents
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