Deffo do my CCNP R&S after CCNA R&S. Once CCNP is done I can easily go back and get Security, Voice, Wi-Fi etc. To be honest though, if I was going down Security route, I would go for Checkpoint CCSA. For Wi-Fi, I don't often come across sites using Cisco equipment (down to cost), it's usually Aruba (yuk), for voice though, usually it's Cisco, Mitel etc...
I am currently studying for my ICND2 exam and will soon have to make the "What next?" decision in the next few month. I see the logic for the CCNP as the next step if your already employed with a firm but I am opening up a contracting business and would like people's opinion about whither the CCNP is the best next step in my situation.
Very informative.Now I can make an informed decision.
I agree a strong base is necessary before we get to any specialization.
I passed the CCNA in July and since then have been studying for the CWNA (vendor-neutral wireless exam)
I took the exam recently on a Free Retake offer (just wanted to see what it was like - I knew I didn't have a chance to pass).
My original plan was to pass this exam and then the CCNA Wireless (natural progression as lots of overlap with CWNA), however, after reading Paul's suggestions and looking at various vacancies to gauge if there is a need for wireless, I have changed my plan slightly.
CWNA >> CCNP Switch >> CCNP Route >> CCNP Tshoot >> CCNA Wireless.
I think this will better suit my ambition of getting into contracting quicker.
Great article with good advice and reasoning behind it.
A strong foundation in routing/switching is required for voice and security design or troubleshooting.
The individual choice will depend very much on personal circumstances, intersts, background and current job roles.
As I said - you have to make your own mind up. I still believe in strong foundations and there is a certain risk/danger if some specialise too early.
But it's not always about Routing & Switching...
Security Contract roles that I have seen don't require CCNP at all, but do require some other non cisco technologies (nokia/checkpoint/juniper) as well as your standard CCSP (ASA/IPS technologies).
I do agree that a CCNP would stand you in good stead, and my lab is geared for full CCNP/CCSP as well CCIE (just need 2 x 3560's for CCIE R&S) - but I am digressing.
Some roles need you to hit the ground running, no matter the vocation - i wouldn't want to put someone in charge of security of a big network where all they know is how to route and switch ... just my two pence.
Still, CCNP is still the way to go for a lot of roles, but they others are catching up, they are rarer and sometimes more sought after ...
Good advice Paul,
I think if you are after a job CCNA then CCNP is the way to go. I did the CCNA Sec after CCNA, because Secuirty was a real weakness which I needed to improve in my current role, and I am glad I did.
Now I believe I need to be at CCNP in my currently role, and I am into it now.
The Cisco world now has so many streams, but CCNA and CCNP Routing and Switching are still the main benchmarks.
As someone who's had to do things the hard way because there was nobody to show me the 'right way' (another story another time) and who is currently in a 2nd / 3rd line role I do mostly agree with you.
However, where I disagree is the "you will spend 90% of your time" comment. I find in my current role... and I accept it could be different for other 'similar' roles that 50% of my time is spent on security based queries - as in, is the firewall blocking access type of thing.
I would estimate of the remaining 50% that only a max of 30% is routing / vlans stuff - and that includes chcecking routing from / to firewalls.