The Quest For the CCNP RS Certification

My circuitous quest for the CCNP begun almost 4 years ago while working with a medium size Service Provider. I had completed my CCNA about 6 months prior to deciding to pursue the CCNP and had spent that period ramping up on my real-world experience on the job.

I opted to take the then BSCI 642-901 Routing Exam first and proceed with the other 3 exams later on ie the BCMSN,ISCW and ONT. About a month into my studies Cisco announced the retiring of the 4-exam CCNP and its replacement with the ROUTE, SWITCH and TSHOOT exams. I knew I didn’t have much time as I was about half way through my planned scheme of study and decided to put in more effort .

Unfortunately life happened and before I realized, it was a week to the deadline. I decided to make an attempt at winging the exam and called the test center to book it only to be told they had stopped administering the BSCI about a month before then. Bummer!

Not to be deterred, I moved on to prepare for the SWITCH module with a mind to return to the ROUTE when that was done. My quest for the SWITCH lasted about 3 weeks. I didn’t have access to live switches to practice and GNS3 just didn’t cut it for me so I abandoned that as well.

My focus shifted to the CCIP as I had been put on an MPLS implementation project team and was encouraged by the Tech Manager to go in for it. I prepared for and passed the MPLS 642-611 exam first and cleared the BGP 642-661 secondly at which stage a year had elapsed since my abandoned CCNP quest. I changed jobs and moved from the SP into an Enterprise environment where I had the chance to do a lot of CCNP-level work especially with switching.

I was halfway through the CCIP and decided to complete it so my efforts in passing the first two exams wouldn’t go to waste. The QoS 642-642 exam came up next for which I prepared and passed successfully (the easiest of the 4 exams imo). It was now time to face the beast of the ROUTE exam  which would complete my CCIP and restart me on the CCNP track. I pulled myself together and in September of the 2nd yr passed what I consider to be the toughest Cisco Exam I’ve taken till date. ROUTE is a rocker and your preparation must be spot on if you would sail through successfully.

CCIP was now done and CCNP was restarted. At this stage I had psyched myself to go in for the CCIE as I felt i had acquired the CCNP-level skillset through my daily work. I proceeded to prepare for and pass the CCNA Security exam as I felt it would round off my skillset nicely. The rest of the year was spent preparing for the CCIE Written which took a good 6-7 months as I had to juggle it with a busy work schedule. I got tired of responding in the negative whenever asked if I had a CCNP anytime I mentioned I was pursuing the CCIE and explaining why that was so.

I decided to finally get the CCNP over and done with. I set a goal of passing the SWITCH and TSHOOT exams within 3 months which I did with focused revision, training videos and a lot of practice as I now had access to physical switches for practice purposes. The TSHOOT exam was a consolidation of all that had been learnt in ROUTE and SWITCH which inherently had the need to know how to troubleshoot the technologies taught. Overall it was a good feeling “nailing” the CCNP down as it served as a validation of the skills that I had picked up in the years pursuing other certs.

The material I used for my preparation is in the links below

Cisco Press CCNP ROUTE Certification Guide

How to Master CCNP ROUTE

How to Master CCNP SWITCH

CBT Nuggets SWITCH Training

Chris Bryant CCNP SWITCH Training

Chris Bryant CCNP TSHOOT Training

How to Master CCNP TSHOOT

This entry was posted in CCNP, Certification, Cisco, Networking. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Quest For the CCNP RS Certification

  1. Kofi says:

    Great article! Keep posting your achievements and do not be afraid to tell us your failures. Failures keeps us grounded and still wanting more.


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