Cisco Certified Network Professional Service Provider Operations (CCNP Service Provider Operations)

The Cisco Certified Network Professional Service Provider Operations (CCNP SP Operations) exam is designed specifically to validate the service provider skills of a Tier 1 or Tier 2 engineer. The CCNP SP Operations certification gives the engineer the ability to repair and troubleshoot IP NGN core service provider network infrastructures. The CCNP SP Operations recognizes network professionals that have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform critical tasks related to network maintenance. Detecting network problems and implementing solutions based on proactive measures using frameworks, operations management processes and network management systems are all part of this certification.

The curriculum for this certification includes quality of service (QoS) mechanisms using Cisco IOS and IOS XR, maintaining carrier class routing protocol environments and Multiprotocol Label Switching Virtual Private Network and Traffic Engineering deployments. Network professionals like network technicians and support providers can take advantage of the CCNP SP Operations to broadcast their skills and abilities.

Salary and Job Market for CCNP SP Operations

Job growth in the field of computer networks and systems, which includes jobs for network professionals holding the CCNP SP Operations, is projected to grow phenomenally. Over the decade from 2008 to 2018, job growth is expected to increase by more than 20 percent, adding more than 280,000 jobs. This will create numerous opportunities for network technicians, support providers and other network professionals. The need for skills related to information technology infrastructure will power this very strong job growth for years to come.

Such strong demand for individuals with certifications like the CCNP SP Operations will create incentives in the form of well-paying salaries. The market research firm PayScale, which specializes in reporting compensation data, bears this out. PayScale reports that all individuals who hold the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification or sub-tracks like the CCNP SP Operations earn five-figure and six-figure salaries. PayScale lists certain positions as examples. They are

  • Senior Network Engineer: $65,000 to $113,000
  • Network Engineer: $47,000 to $90,000
  • Senior Systems Engineer: $59,000 to $116,000
  • Information Technology Manager: $43,000 to $111,000
  • Information Technology Network Engineer: $48,000 to $93,000

What are the prerequisites and recertification requirements?

This is a professional level certification that specializes in service provider skills for Cisco networks. As such, in the Cisco pyramid, it is higher than the associate level and lower than the expert level. Applicants must have already achieved the Cisco Certified Network Associated Service Provider Operations (CCNA SP Ops) as a prerequisite. After achieving the CCNP SP Operations certification, holders must re-certify every three years, which is the time limit for all Cisco professional level certifications. They have several options to accomplish this. Passing any professional level exam currently offered by Cisco will re-certify them for the CCNP SP Operations.

Alternative routes involve examinations further up on the pyramid. Passing the written exams for either the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) or the Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) will re-certify them. Additionally, passing the practical exam for the CCDE will also do the trick. Finally, passing the interview and board review for the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr), the highest certification that Cisco offers, will re-certify the holder for all lower levels.

What exams are required to obtain CCNP SP Operations certification?

Achieving the CCNP SP Operations requires passing four examinations, each relating to a specific aspect of the certification’s skill set. The required exams are 642-770 OFCN, 642-775 MSPRP, 642-780 MSPVM and 642-785 MSPQS. All of them last one hour and 15 minutes and cover 60 to 75 questions. Each exam has a recommended training course that will prepare the applicant for the questions on that exam. The recommended training courses are Operational Foundations for Cisco Service Provider Core Networks, Maintaining Cisco Service Provider Routing Protocols, Maintaining Cisco Service Provider VPNs and MPLS Networks and Maintaining Cisco Service Provider Quality of Service.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to avail themselves of the recommended training courses. The questions in each exam are detailed and precise. They are designed to assess the applicant’s knowledge and skills, and must be rigorously formulated to do so.