How long does it take to prepare for the CCNA exam?

I get lots of e-mail promising various tricks for mastering the CCNA exam in a very short timeframe, and it makes me mad. Lately I’ve been seeing variations on a plan to “Prep for the CCNA in Two Weeks” or even shorter timeframes. This really bothers me, because it’s potentially a huge disservice to those who spend significant money on the course and the exam, only to find that their preparation was insufficient.

Undoubtedly there are a few exceptional individuals who are able to master the intricacies of CCNA in a short time period, but for the rest of us, it’s a good idea to plan on eight weeks to up to five months of preparation. Even Todd Lamle’s CCNA Fast Pass (one of the few “fast” CCNA resources I endorse) stresses that CCNA tests are not the sort of thing you can cram for.

Even my recommendation of “eight weeks to five months” is a wide window. The biggest factor going into a CCNA exam depends on your previous experience. If you have no previous hands-on experience with Cisco routers, it’s crucial that you spend time (maybe even a few weeks) just working on those skills. If you’re currently working with Cisco technologies with lots of hands-on experience, eight weeks might be enough — but consider that your hands-on experience probably doesn’t cover all aspects of the CCNA tests, so don’t allow yourself to become arrogant or complacent about test preparation.

Another factor is which exams you’ll take. It’s possible to earn a CCNA by taking the 640-801 exam, which is pretty intense, or by taking two exams, the 640-811 and the 641-821. Those two exams are no cakewalk, either, but each is shorter than the 640-801, and you can sit for the exams separately. For more detail on what’s in those exams, see our CCNA guide.

Need a roadmap for Cisco CCNA test prep? Here you go:

  • Decide which test strategy you’ll pursue – the 640-801 or the 640-811 and 641-821. You’ll study a lot of the same things regardless, but knowing the order and types of tests you’ll take will help you prioritize your study.
  • Purchase a quality study guide and other test prep materials. This can be done inexpensively, as noted in my post
  • Read the test prep books and take a few practice quizzes. Hone in on the areas where you had trouble.
  • Make certain you understand how to configure Cisco routers, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
  • Shortly before you sit for the exam, consider buying a “refresher” guide like the excellent CliffsTestPrep Cisco CCNA. (Incidentally, this is where a lot of people go wrong – they get a guide like this and consider it sufficient preparation. Cliff’s notes might have been sufficient for learning King Lear in an hour, but trust me, there is a big difference between the CCNA exams and high school English Literature class.)
  • If you perform poorly on practice tests, keep studying. If you’ve already registered for the exam and are scoring poorly on the practice tests, then reschedule the exam– in most cases, rescheduling is possible as late as 24 hours prior to the exam.

I hope this post has been useful in taking the right approach toward the CCNA exams. As always, I look forward to your questions and comments – fire away!

In my next post, we’ll talk about test-taking tips and strategies, and how to make the most of the allotted test-taking time.

6 Essential CCNA Study Tools – on a $40 budget

Not too long ago, preparing for a technical certification like the CCNA exam meant spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on books, classes, and other training materials. Thanks to the rapid growth of online publishing, top-quality study resources are now available for a mere fraction of their former cost.

The CCNA exam itself costs between $150 and $250, so if you’re on a budget, the last thing you want to do is drop another $100+ on test prep materials.

These six resources will prepare you for the CCNA certification exam, on a total budget of less than $70 $40 (thank you, Cisco Press!).

1. Paul Browning’s Study Guide, Kindle Edition — $10
Paul Browning’s Cisco CCNA Simplified: Workbook and Lab Guide is an approachable, yet comprehensive, study tool for CCNA students. This study guide gets to the point without a lot of fluff or repetition. Cisco CCNA Simplified also features 27 lab exercises with full walkthroughs.

While you can find the dead-tree version of Browning’s study guide for around $40 used, budget-conscious Cisco students opt for the Kindle edition which retails for only $9.99. Don’t have a Kindle? Actually, you don’t *need* a Kindle. Instead, download Amazon’s official Kindle for PC program, use Amazon’s Cloud Reader, or choose from dozens of third-party software options.

2. Join Cisco communities offline and online — $0
Take advantage of the expertise and camaraderie that exists at online expert hubs like ServerFault, StackOverflow, or Communities @ Cisco. Members of these online communities often enjoy helping others learn new concepts, so don’t be shy about asking. There’s a lot to be learned just browsing these types of forums, and reading about how other people solved their problems.

If you’re skeptical about online communities, you owe it to yourself to at least take a look. These sites, and others like them, are truly helpful and collaborative places for learning and advancement – very low troll-to-human ratios all around.

Depending on where you live, there are probably several technical groups and associations that hold meetups for network admins and engineers. Check LinkedIn, Facebook, and local media to find these groups. The “human networking” factor is also a great boost to your future job prospects after you earn the certification. Even if you don’t know anyone or if you are not an outgoing person, don’t be intimidated about going to these functions. You’ll find that there are essentially two types of people at these functions: (1) technologists like yourself, many of whom are advanced in their careers, and (2) human resources professionals who are there to scout talent. Both groups are worth knowing, and both will be happy to meet you.

3. Find tutorial and test prep videos online — $0
On YouTube, Vimeo, and other video sharing sites, it’s possible to find videos for just about anything. When it comes to Cisco CCNA exam prep, you can find everything from highly targeted 3-minute overviews to full-length, hour-long university lectures.

You’ll also find a noticeable number of videos that are little more than advertisements for expensive test prep courses. But after a little searching, you’re sure to identify a few good uploaders or video channels that really meet your specific need.

Personally, I prefer using Bing video search because it searches multiple video sites at once, and allows all the videos to be played in fullscreen directly from the results page. But you could also visit YouTube, Vimeo, or other video sites directly and use their built-in search features.

Here are a few examples showcasing the range of quality CCNA exam prep videos available online:

4. Get the official CCNA exam cert library from Cisco Press — $25 or less
This isn’t the cheapest solution, but it’s the one you shouldn’t go without. The Cisco Press CCNA Official Exam Certification Library (Exam #640-801), 2nd edition
— let’s call it the Cisco Press CCNA library for short? — is still the best go-to resource, and the real gem is it includes a practice test simulation with more than 400 questions, plus hours of video instruction.

5. Download and install a free network simulator — $0
Network simulator software can cost as much as $200, which puts it way outside of our budget. There are several free network simulators with enough functionality to meet the needs of a penny-pinching CCNA exam student. Personally I recommend GNS3, a full-featured network sim that is useful for much more beyond CCNA exam preparation.

Router configuration is a very important part of CCNA. If you don’t feel like you’ve mastered it after using GNS3, keep studying and look for other options. This is an area where it really makes sense to take advantage of online and offline communities. There are other low-cost or no-cost alternatives out there.

6. CCNA Exam Flash Cards — $5
Flash cards are a really useful method for refreshing and reviewing, especially during the final week before you sit for the CCNA exam. These spiral-bound flash cards
retail for $3.99 and include a CD-ROM version, covering hundreds of test questions.

Ben’s Bookmarks IT Directory

Welcome to the Ben’s Bookmarks revised and updated IT Directory. This page lists high-quality web sites about Cisco hardware and Cisco certification exams.

Whether you’re working with Cisco products or preparing for a Cisco certification exam, there are many great online resources available to help. Router simulators, test prep books, practice tests, and educational videos are just a few of the ways Cisco professionals prepare for tests and keep their skills sharp.


CCIE4U.com – Rack rental for Cisco CCIE lab exam….

CCIE lab exam rack rentals for your Cisco certifications and online lab needs….

http://www.ccie4u.com

 


Distance Learning – MCSE, Training Certification CompTIA, A+, NETWORK+, M…

Distance Learning UK) distance learning portal. Provides a comprehensive distance learning courses distance education institutions….

http://www.sandline-training.co.uk

 


Hot Certs…

Best Practise Questions for ALL IT Related Certification Exams …

http://www.hotcerts.com

 


LearnKey CD video eLearning Training Certification UK…

October Systems are LearnKey distributor in Europe…

http://www.october-systems.co.uk

 


Practice Tests – Questions: CCNA, CCNP, A+, MCSE…

Practice tests for Cisco exams and others…

http://www.simulationexams.com

 


UK Cisco Training Courses, CCNA, CCDA, CCNP, CCDP…

Cisco training course UK based, Both CCNA and CCNP training courses…

http://www.cisco-training-course.co.uk

 


Wanbridge Training…

Cisco CCNA and CCDA with simulations, Free practice tests and study guides …

http://www.wanbridge.net

 

 

A+ certifications, Cisco Exams & MCSE Tests actual-exams.com…

The very latest certification practice exams, guaranteed. We have Microsoft MCSE, MCAD, dot Net, Comptia A+, iNet+, Network+, Oracle, Cisco CCNA, CCNP, Sun, Citrix. …

http://www.actual-exams.com

 

 

A+ certifications, Cisco Exams & MCSE Tests real-exams.com…

Top quality IT certification practice exams, guaranteed. We have Microsoft MCSE, MCAD, dot Net, Comptia A+, iNet+, Network+, Oracle, Cisco CCNA, CCNP, Sun, Citrix….

 


http://www.real-exams.com

 

 

All Free CramNotes and online Practice Exam for mcse, ccna, ccda, ccnp, cne…

CertifyExpress is a I.T Certification Study Sites that cater for Microsoft, Novell, Cisco, CompTIA, Oracle, CheckPoint, Linux and more!…

 


http://www.certifyexpress.com

 

 

ANI – ANI-time, ANI-where Learning: A Cisco Learning Partner A Cisco Trai…

Secure Wireless IP Telephony (SWIPT) Introduction to Cisco Networking Technologies (INTRO) IPCC Express and IP-IVR Deployment (CRSD) Introduction to Cisco Cable Routers (ICCR) Is your wireless VoIP n…

 


http://www.ani-training.com

 

 

Ben’s Bookmarks – Cisco Certification, Training, & Jobs, CCNA, CCDA, CCNP, …
Resources for students of Cisco certification and those already qualified in Cisco skills. A comprehensive certification and data comms directory….

 


http://www.bensbookmarks.com

 

 

Boson Practice Tests…

SEARCH Search Tips! IT TESTS Adobe® Borland® Check Point® CISSP SSCP ISC2® Cisco® Citrix® CIW Prosoft® Compaq® CompTIA® Computer Associates® CWNP CWNA® Foundry® Hewlett Pack…

 


http://www.boson.com

 

 

Boson Router Simulator…

Boson Router Simulator: Order Now Purchase Instructions Corporate Sales Buy Now! Support FAQ’s Contact Information Email Support Other Sites Boson Practice Tests Boson Training Boson Author…

 


http://www.routeru.com

 

 

CCIE4U.com – Rack rental for Cisco CCIE lab exam….

CCIE lab exam rack rentals for your Cisco certifications and online lab needs….

 


http://www.ccie4u.com

 

 

CCNA Bootcamp, CCNP Bootcamp, CCIE Bootcamp, Cisco Training…

CCPREP offers Bootcamps…

 


http://www.ccprep.com

 

 

 

CCOnlineLAbs.com – CCIE rack rental and Online remote lab access for Cisco …

CCIE rack rental and Online remote lab access for Cisco certification and training. We provide rack rentals for CCNP and CCNA also. Structured towards IPexpert, ccbootcamp, solie, fatkid, bradshaw a…

 

 

http://www.cconlinelabs.com
 

CCxx Productions – Home…

CCxx Productions offers Cisco certification exam study material. Currently, the CCDA exam and the internetworking technologies portion of the CCIE written exam are being concentrated on. In the future…

 


http://www.ccxxproductions.com

 

 

Certification Zone…

Online preparation materials for the CCNA and CCIE certification exams including free monthly White Paper (authored by industry leaders), simulated exams, and lab scenarios….

 


http://www.certificationzone.com

 

 

CertifySky Lab — REAL ITcert Exam Questions…



http://www.certifysky.com

 

 

Cisco CCNA Test Questions…

cisco ccna test questions…

http://www.certboss-certification-study-guides.com

 

 

Cisco certification…

Top Searches for Cisco certification, cisco certification cisco ccna certification cisco certification training…

http://www.netflowtraining.com

 

 

Cisco certification: CCNA,CCNP,CCIE lab. Prepare at CCXX-LAB online for you…

We support you for your Cisco certification training. Prepare in our online lab for your CCIE, CCNP, CCNA certification with hands on training on real Cisco equipment….

http://www.ccxx-lab.com

 

 

Cisco Systems, Inc…

Home|Log In|Register|Contacts & Feedback|Site Help xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″? Select a Location Language Cisco Systems is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. News…

http://tools.cisco.com

 

 

Cisco Training by LearnKey…

October Systems are the European Distributor for LearnKey eLearning courses…

http://www.learnkey.it

 

 

Cisco Trainings and CCIE Preparation Bootcamps by Heinz Ulm…

Anyone interested achieving CCIE status and preparing for the lab-exam finds useful info, tools, and links…

http://www.heinzulm.com

 

 

CiscoHQ Cisco Router Switch VOIP Security Forum – Home…

Ciscohq, Cisco Forum, News, Cisco Switch Cisco Router Info, Setup, VOIP, Technical Information and Tips.” meta name=”keywords” content=”cisco, cisco forum, ciscohq, cisco router, cisco systems, us…

http://www.ciscohq.com

 

 

CIW, CCNA, MCSE practice exams and braindumps – MCSE training…

The most complete and up to date directory of the IT certification and training resources and braindumps…

http://www.certportal.com

 

 

Computer Certification Information to help you Get Certified and Get Ahead…

Certification information from GoCertify.com, the gathering place and resource center for people interested in computer professional certifications…

http://www.gocertify.com

 

 

Computer training, certification, exams, discount software, and technical b…

Computer training, exams, discount software and technical books for Microsoft Certification, Oracle Certification, Cisco Certification, Novell Certification, CompTIA Certification…

http://www.instructionnow.com

 

 

Cramsession.com – Cramsession.com Home…

Cramsession is the #1 IT Certification web site. We have quality study materials, practice questions, forums, articles, newsletters, humor and more……

http://www.cramsession.com

 

 

Distance Learning – MCSE, Training Certification CompTIA, A+, NETWORK+, M…

Distance Learning UK) distance learning portal. Provides a comprehensive distance learning courses distance education institutions….

http://www.sandline-training.co.uk

 

 

FATKID.COM…

Training for network professional s at rates that anyone can afford We offer free training labs on Cisco routers and switches, free practice questions, and a rack of equipement that you can rent time…

http://www.fatkid.com

 

 

FREE Online Practice Exams for CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, MCSE, MCSD, CIW, Oracle DB…

#1 Certification portal offering free online practice exams, study guides, and downloads for CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, CIW, Oracle DBA, A+, Network+, Server+, Security+, Sun Solaris, CISSP,…

http://www.braincert.com

 

 

FreeTechTraining.com…

FreeCCNA | FreeCCNP | FreeCISSP | FreeMCSE | FreeMCDBA | FreeMCSD | FreeMOUS | FreeSecurityPlus Sections MCSE Home Free Videos Free Software Free Preparation Guides Free Study Guides Fr…

http://www.freetechtraining.com

 

 

Galton Technologies…



http://www.certmanager.net

 

 

GroupStudy.com – CCIE, CCNA, CCNP and other Cisco Certifications…

GroupStudy.com’s study groups for CCIE, CCNP, CCNA, CCDP, CCDA and all other Cisco Certifications candidates. Offers information and opinion about Cisco Certifications and help with Cisco and other n…

http://www.groupstudy.com

 

 

Henninger.net – CCNA Page…

Site devoted to providing information about preparing for Cisco Certifications. Dale is an instrcutor teaching network and network security classes at a Inver Hills Community College….

http://www.henninger.net/content/view/23

 

 

Homepage of CertInfo.com…



http://certinfo.virtualave.net

 

 

Hot Certs…

Best Practise Questions for ALL IT Related Certification Exams …

http://www.hotcerts.com

 

 

IPexpert – CCIE, CCNA, CCSP Labs, Boot Camps, Workbooks and other Preparati…

IPexpert is the leader in CCIE and other Cisco certification preparation tools including labs, workbooks and boot camps….

http://www.ipexpert.net

 

 

IT Training in Scotland: Cisco, Microsoft, CheckPoint, Macromedia…

Scotlands leading IT training provider. We are Scotland’s only authorised Cisco learning partner and offer training in official Macromedia courses. We are a Microsoft CTEC….

http://www.learningit.com

 

 

LearnKey CD video eLearning Training Certification UK…

October Systems are LearnKey distributor in Europe…

http://www.october-systems.co.uk

 

 

MCSE, CIW, Oracle DBA, A+, Network+, Server+, Solaris, CCNP, CCIE, CCNA pra…

IT certification portal offering free practice exams for A+, Network+, Server+, MCSE, CIW, Oracle, 640-607…

http://www.examnotes.net

 

 

Multiplexers, Modems and Routers – National Data Mux…

Multitech: Specializing in Used Cisco router, Fiber modem, Dial up modem, Terminal servers, US Robotics, Newbridge, UDS, Fiber products, CSU DSU, Dial up, Vanguard, Hayes, Gandalf, Multiplexer, Adtran…

http://www.nationaldatamux.com

 

 

Nerdom.com…

Nerdom.com HomePage Home Microsoft Cisco CompTia Prosoft Forums Order Now!!! Check Email US Military Nerdom.com Quick Launch Microsoft Certs Cisco Certs CompTIA Certs Pros…

http://www.nerdom.com

 

 

Network Designer Free IT MCSE MCSA CCNA A+ cert resources…

Free IT Certification CCNA CCNP MCSE MCSA A+ practice tests…

http://www.networkdesigner.net

 

 

Network Learning, Inc. CCIE (R&S, Security, Labs, Bootcamps, Training, Rack…

Network Learning, Inc. specializes in CCIE R&S and CCIE Security training and supplies. We are also a registered Cisco Partner and Reseller….

 


http://www.ccbootcamp.com

 

 

Practice Tests – Questions: CCNA, CCNP, A+, MCSE…
Practice tests for Cisco exams and others…

 


http://www.simulationexams.com

 

 

Sitamoht Networks – Sitamoht Enterprises…

Welcome to Sitamoht Networks, the source and reference for all networking related topics from Career Certification notes to free Cisco router access. Learn from practical scenarios within a live netw…

 


http://www.sitamoht.com

 

 

Study guides for the CCDA™, CCNA™, CCNP™, CCIE™ exams by Digital Concepts…

exam preparation tools containing frequently updated exam questions, sample labs, online preparation, and detailed explanations and answers. Designed for popular Network certification exams….

 


http://www.networkstudyguides.com

 

 

TechExams.net…

We provide quality free online practice questions and TechNotes written by experienced and knowledgeable…

 


http://www.techexams.net

 

 

Top-Down Network Design…

Top-Down Network Design by Priscilla Oppenheimer Top-Down Network Design, 2nd ed. is a practical and comprehensive guide to designing enterprise networks that are reliable, secure, and manageable. …

 


http://www.topdownbook.com

 

 

 

UK Cisco Training Courses, CCNA, CCDA, CCNP, CCDP…

Cisco training course UK based, Both CCNA and CCNP training courses…

 

 

http://www.cisco-training-course.co.uk
 

Wanbridge Training…

Cisco CCNA and CCDA with simulations, Free practice tests and study guides …

 


http://www.wanbridge.net

 

 

Wave Technologies…

IT skills and certification training in Microsoft, Cisco, MCSE, CCNA, CCNP, CCVP, CCIE, MCAD” title Wave Technologies – UK Corporate title link rel=”SHORTCUT ICON” href=” favicon.ico” …

 


http://www.wavetech.com

 

 

Wave Technologies – for Guaranteed Certification AND Skills…

Wave Technologies IT Certification – Fast and Guaranteed! Home | The Wave Difference | The Wave Formula | Guarantees | Testimonials | Contact Us Select a Boot Camp: MCSE MCSA MCDBA MCSD…

http://www.wavetech.co.uk

 

 

Welcome to GlobalNet Training – A Todd Lammle Company…

GlobalNet’s training provides intense Cisco, Wireless, Security and Microsoft Certification Training – to provide unique, reliable and cost effective networking solutions. We offer more hands-on l…

http://www.globalnettraining.com

 

 

 

 


These web site links are listed as a convenience to our visitors.
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guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise,
for the content or accuracy of these third-party sites.

Cisco Training – Why Should Anyone Gain Cisco Certification?

Why should anyone gain Cisco certification?
  •  Skills Shortage – To date there is a global skills shortage in the area of internetworking.
  • Qualified experts are awarded the highest starting salaries and receive the highest career earnings.
  • Cisco certification offers a defined career path with significant personal growth.
  • The Cisco career certification path is the most successful in the entire IT industry.
  • Cisco forecast a significant shortage for qualified experts at CCNA, CCDA, CCNP, CCDP, CCIP, CCSP, CCVP and CCIE levels worldwide as web enabled commerce and supply chain management accelerates.

Cisco Jobs & Cisco Careers

The job market is directly linked to the status of the economy and consequently is in a constant state of flux and change. Cisco certification (or any certification or recognised benchmark of knowledge) will always increase your chance of finding employment, but even CCIEs have had to accept less than they had hoped for in a depressed economy.

Employers are not just looking for knowledge either. Make sure your communication skills and other ‘soft skills’ are plentiful. As an engineer you will probably be part of a team. You will probably be in direct contact with customers eiher face to face or via phone and email. In either case potential employers need to be sure that you can fit in with that team and communicate with customers at all levels.

Consider your language skills. How good is your English, both verbal and written? It’s the international language of business and when it comes to configuring networks you have to been able to communicate precisely and effectively without an ambiguity. A big advantage to finding a position is a second language particularly if you’re looking for work in EMEA or the USA.

If your long term goals include people or project management, you will need to start developing those skills too both by ensuring that you push yourself forward into team leadership situations, and by learning how to use project management tools.

The certification overview section of this website includes information about job prospects and expected salaries for Cisco professionals working in the United States.

Cisco Study Guides & Cisco Books

To pass Cisco certification exams without access to the latest study guides and course material would be difficult to say the least. Why put yourself through the pain of trying to read all the material online? Despite the many new advantages of electronic age and the ways in which information is presented, nothing compares to a book. The printed page is one of the human race’s best inventions.

You owe it to yourself to invest in the latest editions and to build up an engineering and design library that will act as an invaluable reference resource for years to come. Browse through the links above and pick out the books you need to help you succeed in your goals.

The links below will open a new page listing books about each respective Cisco certification.

Businesses requiring professional Cisco assistance may instead consider contacting a Cisco consultancy such as Proxar.

CCNP and CCIP Study Resources

CCNP and CCIP

One of the commonest paths for Cisco engineers is to follow the route CCNA >> CCNP >> CCIE (R&S), but with the certifications changing year by year along with the the technologies that drive them, is this still the best path to follow? Many of the CCNPs I have met have considered adding at least one other Professional level certification to their collection and for those working for ISPs the obvious choice is the CCIP. Here’s a brief outline of the differences between the two.

The requirements for CCNP certification are:

* Current CCNA certification plus passes in the following exams:
* Building Cisco Scalable Internetworks
* Building Cisco Multilayer Switched Networks
* Building Cisco Remote Access Networks
* Cisco Internetwork Troubleshooting

The CCNP is possibly the most popular and well known of the Cisco certifications at the Professional level. The understanding, skills, and knowledge obtained during the study for these exams will prepare the candidate for most roles within companies who manage their own Cisco based networks, or ISPs who offer implementation, or support services.

Passing the CCNP exams requires both theoretical knowledge and practical experience; book work alone is not enough.

The requirements for CCIP certification are:

  • Current CCNA certification plus passes in the following exams:
  • Building Cisco Scalable Internetworks
  • Implementing Cisco Quality of Service
  • Implementing Cisco MPLS
  • Configuring BGP on Cisco Routers

The understanding, skills, and knowledge obtained during the study for the CCIP exams will prepare the candidate for positions within larger organisations and ISPs who offer MPLS VPNs, IP QoS, BGP, and other advanced networking and internetworking services. The CCIP is ideal for Senior Network Engineers whose tasks include the configuration and support of complex MPLS VPNs over the ISPs core network. Most of those who are CCIP certified will already hold CCNP certification or will at least be at a similar technical level. As the demand for MPLS VPNs continues to rise so will the value of this relatively new certification.

Again, passing the CCIP exams requires both theoretical knowledge and practical experience but many of those who have taken this track have commented on the difficulty in passing the MPLS exam. Speaking from practical experience I have to agree that it is probably the most difficult exam I have taken, and I found it more difficult than the CCIE written exam. However, it is achievable and there are more resources appearing now to help the candidates with their studies e.g. the new book MPLS Configuration on Cisco IOS Software appears to be the kind of study guide that this exam has lacked so far.

The other choices at the professional level are CCSP (Security), CCDP (Design), and CCVP (Voice). Each have their merits but in the current climate arguably the most desirable of these is the CCSP as skills in network security are always in demand.

CCNP

CCNP 642-801 BSCI Exam
Learn: CCNP Self-Study: Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks (BSCI), Second Edition
Experience: CCNP Practical Studies: Routing
Prepare: CCNP BSCI Exam Certification Guide, Third Edition
Practice: CCNP Flash Cards and Exam Practice Pack

CCNP 642-811 BCMSN Exam
Learn: CCNP Self-Study: Building Cisco Multilayer Switched Networks (BCMSN), Third Edition
Experience: CCNP Practical Studies: Switching
Prepare: CCNP BCMSN Exam Certification Guide , Third Edition
Practice: CCNP Flash Cards and Exam Practice Pack

CCNP 642-821 BCRAN Exam
Learn: CCNP Self-Study: Building Cisco Remote Access Networks (BCRAN)
Experience: CCNP Practical Studies: Remote Access
Prepare: CCNP BCRAN Exam Certification Guide, Second Edition
Practice: CCNP Flash Cards and Exam Practice Pack

CCNP 642-831 CIT Exam
Experience: CCNP Practical Studies: Troubleshooting
Prepare: CCNP CIT Exam Certification Guide, Second Edition
Practice: CCNP Flash Cards and Exam Practice Pack

CCNP 642 Comprehensive Learning
Exam Prep Best Value: CCNP Certification Library, Third Edition

CCIP

642-801 BSCI Exam
Learn: CCNP Self-Study: Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks (BSCI), Second Edition
Experience: CCNP Practical Studies: Routing
Prepare: CCNP BSCI Exam Certification Guide, Third Edition
Practice: CCNP Flash Cards and Exam Practice Pack

MPLS
Learn: MPLS Configuration on Cisco IOS Software
Learn: MPLS and VPN Architectures
Learn: MPLS and VPN Architectures, Vol. II

Quality of Service
Prepare: Cisco QOS Exam Certification Guide, Second Edition
Practice: Cisco IP Telephony Flash Cards and Exam Practice Pack

BGP
Learn: Cisco BGP-4 Command and Configuration Handbook
Supplemental Study: Internet Routing Architectures, Second Edition

CCIE Tips

Thoughts on obtaining CCIE certification

CCIE – Why bother? There are plenty of individuals around the world, working in the same environments as CCIEs, who make a comfortable living as holders of other certifications that are were less difficult to obtain. CCNP, CCDP, CCIP, and other Cisco certifications provide career advancement and the respect of peers, so why embark on a study routine that will probably take months to complete, that place extra demands on you (and your family) and does not end until you have passed what is arguably the toughest practical exam in the IT industry?

The reasons are many and varied, but one of the commonest is the fact that CCIE certification is recognised worlwide by people, organisations, companies, and vendors throughout the communications field. It carries a great deal of kudos and is the closest a networking engineer can get to a guarantee of employment. Sadly, even CCIEs have to lower their sights when the market is depressed but at least they are at the front of the queue when jobs are few. As economies change the salaries for CCIEs vary but they remain consistantly higher than any other similar certification.

Some people now argue that the CCIE certification program is past its peak and that there are simply too many CCIEs now, but the program is evolving and changing year by year, and some CCIEs fail to recertify, retire, or move on to other things. Cisco Systems Inc. have ensured that the syllabus for both written and practical CCIE exams is updated to reflect the changes in technology. There will always be a demand for skilled and experienced internetworking engineers. Check the Cisco web site for details of the number and type of CCIEs in each country. There are still very few Security, Voice, and ISP CCIEs.

So how does one go about obtaining CCIE status? Amounts will vary according to your experience and ability, but generally speaking preparing for the CCIE lab exam involves months of daily study and practice, so be sure you can commit yourself to the task. Talk it over with your partner and family and be sure you have their support.

Due to the time an commitment involved you may also wish to consider taking several months study leave. However, few of us can afford to give up our jobs to study full time, but we may be able to persuade our employers to allow us a few weeks study leave immediately prior to the lab date. In any event your are going to be doing a lot of reading and practical work. Your first task is to pass the written exam. There are plenty of other resources online which cover this exam (just put “350-001” in the search bar below and you’ll see what I mean), but at the very least your study library will need to consist of these titles.

When it comes to equipment to practice on, there are several choices.

  • Buy your own personal CCIE practice lab
  • Convince your employer to buy a practice lab
  • Rent time on someone else’s lab
  • Practice on router and switch simulators

Of course, buying your own lab can be expensive so most people buy a mixture of second hand an new equipment over a period of time to spread the cost. For some people the advantages of owning their own lab far outweigh the costs involved.

Buy your own personal CCIE practice lab

  • It’s available for you to use at any time
  • It’s reserved for your exclusive use
  • It’s yours no matter what happens to your job
  • It’s an investment in your career
  • It can be sold on should you need to
  • It can be physically examined, unlike an online lab or a simulator

Once qualified, you’ll recoup the cost of the lab within a few months as a CCIE. Alternatively you could sell it and get most of your money back.

Convince your employer to buy a practice lab

It may seem doubtful, but it can be done if the company wants to increase their profile and revenue by expanding their skill range while at the same time becoming some form of Cisco partner. A lab within the company can be used not only to train employees at many levels but also to test scenarios before implementing them on a customer network. Besides, they may have equipment to hand that is surplus to requirements.

Rent time on someone else’s lab

There are several sites online now that offer this facility. They can be booked up for weeks in advance so be sure to plan accordingly. Plan your session in advance so that you do not waste your time slot preparing.