Cisco has the best networking certification system in the IT Industry.
Every fresh network engineer should have knowledge and pass the CCNA certification. Every expert from the networking field should have the CCIE certification.
Between these two, there is also a very popular, the CCNP Routing and Switching certification.
Of course, IT certifications are not and will not be a determinant of a good or bad network engineer. The knowledge and experience are very important, but the Cisco networking certification system is well-known for all headhunters and CIOs around the world.
Why I know that? Read my success story below.
What Exams You Must Pass to Become CCNP Routing and Switching Certified
To become CCNP Routing and Switching you must pass three main exams.
- 642-902 ROUTE – Implementing Cisco IP Routing (ROUTE)
- 642-813 SWITCH – Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks (SWITCH)
- 642-832 TSHOOT – Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks (TSHOOT)
You can pass the exams in a random order. We recommend to pass ROUTE and SWITCH before TSHOOT.
The prerequisite for the CCNP Routing and Switching certification is a valid CCNA or any CCIE certification.
Where You Can Pass the CCNP Routing and Switching Exams
You can pass all the exams in one of the Pearson VUE centers.
How Much Do CCNP Routing and Switching Exams Cost
Each exam costs $200 plus taxes.
Format of the Exam
ROUTE and SWITCH exams are very similar and have 52 questions (2 hours). There are multi-choice questions, lab simulations and other interactive tasks.
The TSHOOT exam is different. You have 35-40 questions to answer (135 minutes). The questions are mainly troubleshooting tickets (lab simulations) and multi-choice questions.
How to Renew Your CCNP Routing and Switching Certification
The CCNP Routing and Switching certification is valid for 3 years. Fortunately the Cisco certification system is amazing for candidates.
During 3 years from the last exam (for example TSHOOT) you must pass any exam from the list bellow.
- any current 642-XXX Professional level exam, for example 642-617 FIREWALL (from Security track)
- any current CCIE/CCDE Written Exam or CCIE/CCDE/CCAr Practical Exam
When you pass one of these exams, your CCNP Routing and Switching certification will be valid for another three years.
How To Prepare to the CCNP Routing and Switching Exams
- Books that will help you with the preparation process
- Second step is to build a lab for learning the real configuration. Almost all tasks from the ROUTE exam you can train in Dynamips/GNS3 environment (If you don’t know what Dynamips and GNS3 is just look for that YouTube introduction). A part of SWITCH topics you can also lab in GNS3/Dynamips with the Cisco 3640 router simulator. More advanced topics, like RSTP or MST, you can test only in real switches. The TSHOOT part you can also test in the GNS3/Dynamips environment. Topics connected with switching you should test in a real lab environment.
- Instructor-Led Trainings
- PEC Trainings
- Partner Education Connection is an online tool provided by Cisco and directed for all Cisco partners. If you work with one, just ask your manager for an access.
With PEC you will have an access to dozens trainings for all certification levels, including CCNP Routing and Switching.
- Great before an exam
- SelfTest – $69 for each CCNP exam
Examples of Job Opportunities
I passed all the CCNP Routing and Switching exams during few projects for Government Agencies with my former employer. After few months I joined Generali’s network team as a Telecommunication Administrator. I used my knowledge from CCNP Routing and Switching with many projects and breakdowns. After a half-year I was promoted to a Network Architect position and started working with international projects. Then with my IPv6 knowledge I joined Generali Global Network Team. Everything after 3 years from starting the first job!
Questions and Answers
Q: Cisco sometimes changes exams to new. What then with my CCNP Routing and Switching certification?
A: The rules are the same. If Cisco says that you need to pass any 642-XXX exam, to renew your CCNP Routing and Switching certification, that is true. There is no need to pass new exams.
Q: What is the best starting point for the CCNP Routing and Switching networking certification?
A: We recommend start with the CBTNuggets videos. Jeremy Cioara’s materials are the best for starting.