The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) program is an intermediate-level course available for networking professionals. Cisco claims that this certification ensures an individual’s capability to install, further configure and troubleshoot the local and wide area networks set up within range, consisting of 100 to 500 or more nodes.
This is a bridge course between the Cisco Certified Network Administrator (CCNA) and the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) in the field of routing and switching tracks. It is somewhat of a sweet-middle spot for networking professionals. The CCNP course is the most popular intermediate certification that Cisco has to offer.
Cisco has made it very clear that it requires professionals to complete the CCNA course before pursuing the CCNP course. To acquire a CCNP certification, one has two options.
The first one is wherein the concerned individual is required to pass four individual exams. The second one is wherein the individual is required to give one consolidated exam and two respective exams. These are the latest changes in the CCNP certification program.
Changes In The CCNP Examinations
As mentioned above, it is observed that the latest changes have been made to the examination aspect of the course. Earlier on, individuals were required to pass these examinations:
- 642-831 CIT: Internet Troubleshooting Support
- 642-811 BCMSN: Building Cisco Multilayer Switched
- 642-821 BCRAN: Building Cisco Remote Access Networks
- 642-801 BSCI: Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks
With the latest changes to the examination pattern, professionals need to pass these examinations now:
- 642-845 ONT Optimized Converged Cisco Networks
- 642-901 BSCI Building Scalable Cisco Networks
- 642-825 Implementing Secure Converged Wide Area Networks
- 642-812 BCSMN Building Converged Cisco Multilayer Switched Networks
These changes are somewhat welcoming, as they follow the trend of keeping up with Networking’s paradigm shift. Cisco has aimed to add valuable subject material to every exam. Cisco has replaced the BCRAN and the CIT exam with the ISCW and ONT exams.
This is a welcome change as Cisco has shifted the focus of the ISCW examination from the fundamental concept of remote access or dial-up to the topic of security, particularly VPNs for remote access and achieving internet security. In the ONT exam, the spotlight has shifted from merely troubleshooting the networks to trying to make the web more efficient as a whole.
In addition to all of these changes, it is observed that all courses have shifted their working to a converged network, which is also defined as one network for all aspects of a network such as Video, Data, voice, and more.
The two examinations, which are the BSCI and the BSCMN, haven’t changed anything about their names or descriptions, but the change is observed in the test numbers and the content.
The BSCI now has more material on router-based networks, which has features such as DCHP and multicast because of its converged network. The BSCMN examination has observed the addition to the voice and wireless content.
Cisco has been relatively regular updating their certifications to keep up with the networking advancements occurring regularly. Networking professionals highly appreciate this as it ensures that the CCNP certification holds its value.
Preparing For The CCNP Examination
It is highly recommended to prepare thoroughly before you give the examination for the CCNP certification as it is not an easy feat to achieve. Some sort of preparation material is necessary to keep you updated with the changes being made. CCNP certification costs quite a hefty amount, and it will be a waste of money to give the exam without any preparation.
Furthermore, CCNP training also reaps many benefits as professionals have claimed that studying to clear the CCNP exams has opened their insights in the field of Networking and has expanded their horizon overall. Cisco Press offers several books for CCNP training. Cisco also has a CCNP Prep Center available on their website, an excellent source to find out the latest changes to the CCNP courses.
Cisco’s changes are positively welcoming modifications as the previous exams for the CCNP certification were very outdated and had no real purpose anymore. Only 2% of the world population uses Dial-up anymore because of the network’s availability in a remote area.
These changes help retain the value of the CCNP course and ensure that this certification never goes out of fashion. A CCNP certification means a higher pay grade as well as an increase in the skill level of an individual in the networking industry.
This means if you are in the networking industry, obtaining a Cisco backed certification is the way to go. This is a comfort that is not available in a lot of other industries.