So after a few weeks of messing around with my lab and getting my CCNP study materials ordered, I started prepping for my CCNP this weekend. My plan was to knock down my CCNP by the January 2011 and then jump right into my CCIE R/S Studies and take my written no later than January of 2012 followed by the Lab no later than July 2012. While this is all still very doable I ran into an annoying little hangup today. I do not have my CCNA. For me this was not a problem considering until a few months ago I had planned on just jumping into my CCIE R/S and it does not require that I pass my CCNA for go for it. But today as I was looking up some CCNP info I noticed the annoying pre-req of CCNA to achieve my CCNP. Cisco this is BS. No other way to cut it. Really you’ll let me take a run at your largest cert without jumping through knowledge hoop I passed years ago but you won’t let me go for the CCNP (which is the arguably my current point in my career).
I know I know this should not be an issues. If I can pass the CCNP then the CCNA should be a scheduled test and 30 min later walk away with a shiny new cert #. Simple fact is I have twice now had to go for the CCNA cold due to piss pore planning of my previous employers to maintain their status with Cisco (after I was told there were not cert requirements for the jobs.) Both times were go take the test now we booked it for you situations. Both times I missed by 4 points. So for me it is just a bad memory and a cert I feel has no value for where I am in market. I mean for crying out loud I am planning, designing, building and managing mulit-million dollar DCs and Enterprise Networks. I have built more networks than many engineers will ever have the opportunity (or maybe desire) to build. I’m not trying to be cocky, I am not the worlds best Network Engineer by a long shot but this is just stupid.
All my whining aside I am going to do my CCNA. Primary reason I really think I need the experience of my CCNP prep, to build a solid study habit and training ethic back into my routine. I have spent the last 6+ years pretty much at %100 in design and field work with no effort on my cert or studies. What I have learned has been based on requirements and necessity. So with that said I am going to pound through a couple CCNA preps over the next few weeks and take the test in about a month and move on. I hope to have some reviews of the prep material I am going to use so look for that. Then hopefully I can move on to what I think really matters.
In hindsight, the CCNA isn’t a hard test to pass if you have real experience. There are a few curveballs, but nothing you can’t figure out with time. That’s the key: time management. I thought for sure I was going to run out of time, and then ending up having 15 minutes extra. It is a hard test to study for because the material is all over the place. I just used the Cisco Press books and flashcards. Took couple of weeks to go through them. Again, because you have real experience, it shouldn’t be too difficult, but you will get annoyed with all you have to study. You might consider completing your CCNP tests first and then go back for the CCNA to get your cert.