How to get certified and placed as a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)?

Technology is changing at a rapid pace. Therefore, every company with its own network system requires someone who understands its IT systems inside out. When talking about networking professionals, the most in-demand professionals are Cisco Certified Professionals. Cisco is the leading global certification provider because they cover the latest technologies in their certifications that are most demanding in organizations, such as software-defined networking (SDN).

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor (BLS) and Statistics, a Cisco Certified Network Professional can expect 18% job growth from 2022. So, network professionals will be in great demand in the upcoming years. Cisco Certified Network Professionals (CCNP) with deep-level knowledge of Cisco technologies are in demand, as they can apply their expertise in various business situations. 

This blog will give you a better understanding of what CCNP is and what are the steps to follow to become a Cisco Certified Network Professional.

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What is CCNP?

CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) is Cisco's professional certification for IT professionals with strong three to five years working experience in professional networking. A Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification is Cisco's best credential for network professionals. Cisco certification provides an individual with the skills to design, implement, and troubleshoot complex enterprise networks. 

CCNP-certified individuals are in high demand because of their many career benefits over other IT professionals. CCNP Certification is aimed at system administrators and network engineers who want to upskill their working knowledge with Local Area Network (LAN) and Wireless Area Network (WAN). Using various techniques, they will be trained to plan, implement, maintain, and troubleshoot the networks.

Cisco's CCNP certification is part of the four-tier certifications that professionals can gain over time and experience. Cisco's four-level certifications are:

  • Entry-level
  • Associate-level
  • Professional-level
  • Expert-level
  1. Entry-level: It is the starting point of being a Cisco-certified professional. The two credentials in this category are Certified Cisco Technician (CCT) and Certified Cisco Entry Network Technician (CCENT).
  2. Associate-level: It is the foundation for building a career in network specification. There are various branches for the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) credential. The associate level prepares you for a career in IT and network technologies. At the associate level, you can expand your networking career through three types of certifications: CCNA, Cisco Certified DevNet Associate and Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate. You must pass one exam to receive the associate-level certification. This certification will help you pursue one track to cover a range of fundamental skills or focus on software development or cybersecurity. 
  3. Professional-level: The professional level offers certifications in seven areas to choose your field of interest and expertise. These seven areas include CCNP Enterprise, CCNP Data Center, CCNP Security, CCNP Service Provider, CCNP Collaboration, Cisco Certified CyberOps Professional and Cisco Certified DevNet Professional. The professional level helps you progress by concentrating on core technology, such as software development, enterprise networking, data-centre management or security. You must pass two exams for each certification: one that covers the core technology and another with a concentration of your choice.
  4. Expert-level: The expert level certifies you for a more advanced skill set in wireless networking, data-centre administration, or security. The expert-level certifications further your career with more challenging exams, testing an advanced level of hands-on knowledge and skills. At the expert level, you can pursue any ‌of the seven certifications. For each, you must pass a qualifying written exam and a practical hands-on lab exam. CCDE, CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure, CCIE Enterprise Wireless, CCIE Data Center, CCIE Security, CCIE Service Provider, CCIE Collaboration.

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Types of CCNP Certifications

The CCNP certification comprises seven certification types, and these include the following. On Feb. 24, 2020, the CCNP requirements changed the old certifications, and‌ the new certifications came into force. According to the changes, the latest CCNP certifications include:

  • CCNP Enterprise (Earlier CCNP Routing & Switching)
  • CCNP Data Center
  • CCNP Security
  • CCNP Service Provider
  • CCNP Collaboration
  • Cisco Certified CyberOps Professional
  • Cisco Certified DevNet Professional

Read Alo: Tips for a successful career in CCNA

How To Get CCNP Certification

Follow the procedures given below and you can get CCNP Certification in no time. 

  • Decide On Your Level
  • Be Updated On The Changes in Exam
  • Know The Exam Types
  • Get Professional Training
  • Decide On Your Level: To get CCNP Certification, you must first decide your level and start preparing to pursue any of the above listed certifications.
  • Be Updated On The Changes in Exam: Earlier, that is until Feb. 24, 2020, you would need to take a minimum of 3-4 exams to earn the CCNP certification. But, now you will need to pass only 2 exams and you will get granted the CCNP certificate. 
  • Know The Exam Types:Currently, there are only two exam types. One is the Core Exam, and the other is the Concentration Exam of your choice, so you can focus on your interests and needs. 

        Technology Core Exam:The Technology Core Exam plays a role in engaging you in 2 paths of certifications (The CCNP & The CCIE). This includes Enterprise, Security, Service Provider, Collaboration, Data Center, and the newly established DEVNET & CyberOps. Core exams in each CCNP technology track also                   serve as qualifying exams for CCIE lab exams.

        Technology Concentration Exam:The Technology Concentration Exam concentrates on the seven different technologies, such as Enterprise, Security, Service Provider, Collaboration, Data Center, and the newly established DEVNET & CyberOps.  While the concentration exams focus on specific topics that would                    fall under the certification level you choose. The core exam covers a little of everything in this area.

  • Get Professional Training

You can get training from a chosen CCNP training center in Dubai to take and pass two Cisco exams and to become a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP). It's also critical to give yourself ample time to prepare. A minimum of two to three months of CCNP preparation training will help you get ready and study for the exam. Practice tests will also assist you in understanding the exams better.

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How To Become a Cisco Certified Network Professional?

CCNP is a reputed professional-level certification by Cisco, and to achieve the certificate, you can adhere to the following steps: 

  • Have a clear understanding of why you want to pursue CCNP
  • Meet the CCNP Prerequisites
  • Updated knowledge about the CCNP exams
  • Build foundational CCNP skills
  • Stay up to date with the latest trends of CCNP
  • Get your CCNP certification

1.Have a clear understanding of why you want to pursue CCNP

CCNP is a professional certification offered by Cisco. You will need over three years of experience in IT networking with skills such as troubleshooting, analytics, routing and switching, networking technologies, communication and problem-solving skills. You can list out your reasons to get the CCNP certification to have a clear understanding of why you want to pursue this path.

The benefits and reasons that support your understanding of getting CCNP certification include:

  • Increased job availability and salary potential
  • Validates your knowledge and technical focus with high-value certification
  • Boosts your resume and helps you stand out from the competition
  • Excellent career growth
  • You will be eligible for more advanced certifications
  • Increased knowledge of the IT industry
  • You can avail job opportunities internationally

2. Meet the CCNP Prerequisites

As the updated, new prerequisites of CCNP certification it no longer need CCNA credentials, despite the benefits of CCNA certiication. It does not require any specific qualifications. A bachelor's degree in Information Science, Computer Science, or Engineering, a good understanding of networking and over three years of experience is set as the base requirements for you to attempt the CCNP exam.

3. Updated knowledge about the CCNP exams

CCNP underwent specific changes on February 24th 2020. One of the changes is part of the prerequisites where candidates no longer require CCNA credentials for CCNP. The exam structure remains the same, with subtle changes in the CCNP tracks. You are still required to pass two exams in order to be CCNP certified, which includes one core exam and one concentration exam.

With diligent training from accredited professionals of CCNP course in Dubai, you will have a proper roadmap to achieve the CCNP certification. The changes made to the CCNP tracks as of February 24th 2020, are given below:

  • CCNP Routing and Switching
  • CCNP Cloud
  • CCNP Collaboration
  • CCNP Data Center
  • CCNP Security
  • CCNP Service Provider
  • CCNP Wireless
  • CCDP Design
  • CCNP Enterprise
  • CCNP Data Center
  • CCNP Security
  • CCNP Service Provider
  • CCNP Collaboration
  • Cisco Certified DevNet Professional

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4. Build foundational CCNP skills

With a CCNP certification, IT professionals may get numerous job offers from all over the world, with excellent pay and prestigious designations. However, to acquire the benefits of the certification, you must be proficient with the skills associated with Cisco Certified Networking Professionals.

A handful of skills that is acquired from expertise for CCNP include:

  • Implementation and configuration of networks
  • Maintain the network and plan to monitor performance
  • Scaling networks
  • Routing and switching essentials
  • Ability to design, secure and operate wireless networks
  • High-level analytical and problem-solving skills

5. Stay up to date with the latest trends of CCNP

As a professional in the IT and the networking sector, it is crucial for you to stay updated with the latest trends of CCNP. As one of the best cisco certifications, it would be best to have professional guidance like the CCNP course. It would provide you valuable updates on CCNP certification, tips and tricks for Cisco exams, among others.

As it goes for every Cisco certification, you will have to recertify every three years. The certification's active status will be extended for three more years each time recertification requirements are met. Individuals who pass the certification test can recertify by continuing education activities, taking examinations, or a combination of both. You can attend Cisco's live training sessions, online training courses, authoring content, and more to continuing education activities.

6. Get your CCNP Certification

Once you have followed the steps mentioned above and the requirements met, you can gain the CCNP certification. With adequate skills, knowledge and expertise, you can achieve the CCNP certification.

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How to Prepare for a CCNP Job Interview?

To ace your job interview for a job role associated with CCNP, adhere to the following steps: 

  • Build your resume
  • Take measures to improve your soft skills
  • Have a clear understanding of the commonly asked interview questions
  • Crack the interview

1. Build your resume

It is crucial to build your resume before the interview. It will give you a chance to highlight all of your Cisco certifications, training courses completed and work experience. After completing your CCNP certification, mention the date and details about your CCNP credentials to help the interviewer evaluate your skills and knowledge.

2. Take measures to improve your soft skills

It is equally important to work on your soft skills. Cisco certification will help you get a job, but how the interviewer perceives and evaluates you plays an equally important role in getting hired.

Before attending a Cisco CCNP interview, ensure that you have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. It would be best if you were well-versed in Cisco networking concepts such as routing protocols, switching devices, etc. Your presentation skills should be strong enough to make yourself sound confident during the interview process.

3. Have a clear understanding of the commonly asked interview questions

Prepare yourself with the commonly asked interview questions regarding CCNP certification. Be aware of the Cisco certification objectives and how they are evaluated during Cisco interviews.

Some of the common questions asked during a CCNP interview may include:

  • What is the purpose of the default route?
  • Describe the difference between routing and switching?
  • Why are postal addresses and telephone numbers routable?
  • What are the access, distribution, and core components of a postal address?
  • Convert FACE1234 16 to dotted decimal.
  • Explain the difference between a classful and a classless routing protocol.

4. Crack the interview

With thorough preparation about CCNP and its protocols, your work experience and valid credentials, it is easy to crack your CCNP interview.

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To Sum It Up

In conclusion, Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification is a great way to advance your career. Job opportunities are available for those who have the CCNP certification. It opens up the possibility of working in big companies across the globe that offer high pay and benefits. To become a CCNP, you will need both networking knowledge and skills. By following the mentioned steps, you can be a CCNP professional in no time.

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