CCNP or go strait for the CCIE

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I have been a network engineer for 4 years now and I a recently passed
my CCNA (should have taken this a long time ago) pretty effortlessly
using wendell odom's offical exam cert guide.  Anyways a respected
colluege of mine says to go strait for the CCIE skipping the CCNP.
Most of the stufff covered in the NP seems to be covered in wendell
odoms CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide, 3rd
Edition.  Anyways should I go straight for the IE?  I like the cisco
press books by odom and find them very usful.

Re: CCNP or go strait for the CCIE
You certainly *could* do that, however, I think you'll find that the
CCIE isn't nearly as easy as the CCNP. I've held a CCNP for almost 6
years now, and I can say that the two exams aren't really even in the
same league. You may be a sharpshooter, but I doubt you'll be able to
make the jump without some serious study, time, and considerably more
work experience. Sitting down with a CCIE prep guide ain't gonna get it
done. I am being general here, but the tone of your email makes the jump
from CCNP to CCIE sound so matter-of-fact. :-) Remember, the first time
failure rate of the CCIE lab is around 95%. Not trying to be negative or
discouraging, but the cost of good lab gear, lab exam, flight, and hotel
are going to run you many thousands of dollars. You'll want to carefully
consider your plan and approach the CCIE with appropriate expectations.

Good luck in your studies!

jcle wrote:
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Re: CCNP or go strait for the CCIE
On nie, 23 mar 2008 o 12:39 GMT, fugettaboutit wrote:
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You are certainly right, but just keep in mind that there are also
people who are CCIE and even didn't pass CCNA :D It's possible due to
Cisco certification rules... one guy just said that he was too lazy to
take all these exams (CCNA, CCNP) and he went straight for CCIE :D
It's a matter of how long did you work with Cisco equipment and general
with networking stuff...

pozdr. Slawomir Kawala
JID: slwkk [at] alternatywa [dot] net
GSM: (0)601-398-348

Re: CCNP or go strait for the CCIE
Slawomir Kawala wrote:

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TBH most people in that position may well be long standing CCIEs - when I did
mine there was no CCNA/P!

I'd do the NP - always useful if one wishes to change jobs while studying, and
helps you know you are progressing.

Paul Matthews                 

Re: CCNP or go strait for the CCIE
If you really want to go for CCIE, skip the CCNP. Being an active CCIE
no-one will care if you have other Professional- or Associate-Level
certs as well.

However CCIE is really not that easy and while studying books will help
you for the CCIE written exam, it wonŽt get you through the lab.
I passed CCIE 2 years ago - cost me really lots of time studying
including a 4-week boot-camp (IŽd never made it without that).

Important question: whoŽll be paying for the fun? Apart from the time
you need the total CCIE-project could easily cost you something like
$10.000 (very rough calculation $5000 bootcamp, $1000 for the written
exam+books, $4000 for 3 lab attemps - the average candidate needs about
3 lab attempts to succeed).

If you are working as a network engineer, forget about getting lab
equipment etc... a lot of people suggest that for CCIE-preparation
youŽll need your own lab (routers+switches...), thatŽs not true. If you
work as network engineer, youŽll have the usual hands-on-experience
already (hopefully?). For the rest a emulator like dynamips will do the
job. (besides old 25xx routers running old IOS images are not of that
much help anyway - cisco uses new routers running IOS 12.4 in the lab).
IŽd definitely recommend a (good) boot-camp. Expensive but really worth
it, could save you much studying-time and a couple of failed lab-attempts.


jcle schrieb:
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Re: CCNP or go strait for the CCIE
Hey Axel,

Talk to me a little more about dynamips and hands-on you
think this is consistent with most current CCIE's? Your idea kind of
flies in the face of "conventional wisdom", however if it's true, I'm so
there! The cost has been holding me back. Conservative estimates
(including a lab) put the CCIE at around US$15,000. My company won't
support my study efforts despite my willingness to pay the funds back if
I leave before a minimum of 3 years. Not looking for a handout, but I
simply don't have those kind of funds available. If you're for real, and
experience, some book study, and dynamips is indeed adequate, that would
be some good news!

Axel Gärtner wrote:
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Re: CCNP or go strait for the CCIE
DonŽt get me wrong: you do need lots of hands-on experience. However as
network engineer you often can get that at work (I could!). And
real-life experience cannot be replaced easily by toying around with a
little lab at home or by reading books.

For the CCIE lab youŽll need
a) some years of hands-on experience - see above

b) then youŽll do the CCIE written. This is lots of theory, but only
    theory - no pratical experience required. To prepare, get some good
    books and copy the content to your brain.
    And: YouŽll need the theory later for the lab.

c) a bootcamp or something similar. This cannot be replaced by
    experience, youŽll need to learn exactly how to handle the tasks wich
    are to be expected. Also youŽll learn the 1000 little tricks youŽll
    need. The bootcamp operators usually have their lab which you can
    use, often these deals include remote lab access for no or little
    money for some more time (e.g. one month after the camp).
    Please note: booking a bootcamp does ONLY make sense, if you do have
    the hands-on experience, have already passed the CCIE written and
    plan to take the lab exam within the next couple of months.
    Might cost around $5000,- depending on operator and duration in
    weeks. Check out, heŽs said to be one of the best.

d) the final preparation between the boot-camp and the lab exam.
    IŽd recommend something like 1-2 months, not more.
    Here youŽll repeat all you learned in the bootcamp over and over
    again. YouŽll also want to have a lab at hand in order to re-do the
    tasks from the bootcamp or new tasks or just to try out things.

    But instead of spending $$ for a large collection of outdated
    cisco equipment, there are much cheaper options:

    - use dynamips, a Cisco router emulator which runs an actual
      copy of the IOS image. Behaves exactly as a real cisco router,
      if you have a reasonable fast PC, you can emulate a bunch of
      The emulator does have some limitations, none of which are IMHO
      relevant for CCIE preparation
      Since it emulates only routers and not switches, you might want
      to get 1 or 2 old switches (if you want a complete lab, probably
      not really necessary. Old 2950Žs will probably do)

      Check: /

      and check out this page: the guy has many examples of ccie labs
      with dynamips, ready to download. /

    - use a remote-lab, either from your bootcamp operator or rent one
      from a rental operator. ThatŽs $10-$20 per day for real up-to-date
      hardware and a setup like in the real lab (at least 6 routers, 2
      L3-switches, frame-relay cloud etc., including terminalserver and
      remote powerswitches). YouŽll need an 12.4 IOS version since some
      (few) tasks require relatively new features and also some default
      settings are different in old IOS versions.
      Just google for "ccie rental rack" or something like that. Even if
      you spend some hundred dollars on rental racks (I doubt you will),
      thats much cheaper and better than buying your own gear.

and thatŽs all. Book your lab-date at and if itŽs
your lucky day, youŽll get your number. If not, do more training and try
again :-))

good luck

fugettaboutit schrieb:
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Re: CCNP or go strait for the CCIE
Honesty, if you have 4 years of network engineering experience it
isn't all that difficult to make the jump straight to the CCIE (it
might even be a waste of your time to study the CCNP).  I would say
that if the CCNA was a breeze for you and that the CCNP doesn't look
much harder, than yes go ahead and start prepping for your CCIE.
Cisco doesn't require those lower level certs if you are ready.
You'll need to spend some money on a lab, but like Axel mentions there
are cheap options like dynamips or rack rentals.

The CCIE isn't as difficult as people make it out to be these days.
It is true that the CCIE used to be really difficult ten years ago
(the black belt of networking) with a grueling two day lab and
proctors hell-bent on failing you, but that is a thing of the past.
Today, Cisco gives you a blueprint for all the topics and there are
lab books to prep with.  I hear people say the first time failure rate
is in the 90% range, but no where have I seen that statistic on
Cisco's site or heard any official authority confirm that.  I think
that is just a B.S. statistic that people say to protect the value of
their certification.

Good Luck!

Re: CCNP or go strait for the CCIE wrote:

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Out of interest, what is your CCIE number?

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I don't think they were "hell bent on failing you", but I think there was a lot
of unwritten assessment as well, and if you were "the right stuff" they would
not go out of their way to make it more difficult for you.

I do think one of the challenges now is the availability of lab seats. When I
did mine, availability was measured in weeks, so it was realistically possible
to take time out and study, and just carry on after an attempt. With the
bookings now as full as they are, it is more difficult to maintain the
Paul Matthews                 

Re: CCNP or go strait for the CCIE
Availability was better then, but there are a lot more prep materials
now too. Let alone the equipment needed now is available to everyone (I
needed an LS1010 and ISDN when I did mine)Some of that stuff no longer
Online racks now make it way easier to get hands on too

Paul Matthews wrote:
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Re: CCNP or go strait for the CCIE
What is your collegue's CCIE number?  With all due respect to our
CCIE's reading this thread, it's my understanding that the CCIE (and
CCNP) tests are harder now than they used to be.   More VoIP,
wireless, virtualization, QoS, etc.  All the harder stuff.  I know
some CCIE's at Cisco that admit they couldn't pass it again, even with
a lot of study.  I don't think holding a four-digit CCIE number has
the prestige it once used to, except of course as an indicator of

I have my CCNP and probably would have to re-study everything all over
again to pass all four tests, especially since they have changed so
much since I got it.  I'm just saying CCIE is probably the same, so
you can't take one person's opinion that going straight to CCIE is a
valid course.  It may be, but it might also be friggin hard.  :)


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Re: CCNP or go strait for the CCIE

 > It may be, but it might also be friggin hard.  :)

And expensive.  You don't get that money back after you fail an exam and
CCIE exams cost a pretty penny to say the least. ($2,000 a shot?)

Re: CCNP or go strait for the CCIE
Why not do the CCIE written and see how it goes? After all, the written
exam is basically all the 4 CCNP exams rolled into a big one.

Radrage wrote:
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