What is the ccnp encore exam? So, If you're not already familiar, I have a range of certifications that help me get to this role. As a network engineer, One of those certs is the ccna, Which is the cisco certified network associate certification. This is one of the first certifications you can get to really align yourself and you know really dive down that networking path in order to become either a network admin or a network engineer if you're good enough.

The ccnp is the professional level certification of the ccna, So the ccnp is the cisco certified network professional in previous articles, I'll talk about landing, The ccna and trying to figure out exactly what direction I wanted to go. If whether or not I wanted to get the ccnp or if I wanted to go down a different path like cloud or network security or try and obtain a firewall certification or whatever the case may be, Ultimately I decided to go for the ccnp. This is a decision that I made maybe about eight months to a year ago, And since then, I've been gearing up to study for the ccnp and finally, After all, This time, After all of the burnouts after driving myself crazy. With studying I finally passed. Let me tell you about the experience the ccnp was the hardest exam to study for taking the certification wasn't as bad.

It was just studying that was the hardest thing and the reason is because there was just so much material there's so many topics to cover when it comes to the ccnp. There is infrastructure architecture, Virtualization network assurance and just a range of different topics, Protocols and standards that you have to understand in order to be geared up enough to take the certification. Before I talk about the score that I achieved when taking the certification, I'm just going to talk about the method to the madness when it came to studying for it, Because that is the most important and most difficult part of taking the ccnp exam.

The certification will be easy, But you have to make sure you know this material first. So what I used to study for the ccnp first, I used the ccnp official cert guide. Just to you know, Have a reference when it came to. You know a book that I can go and get additional information on some topics that were a little hard to .

You know a little hard to wrap my head around and you know just to fill in the gaps of course, But outside of that, I use the website cbt nuggets and t have a article series on the ccnp, Which is extremely long, Which was a which was A very good thing, But at the same time it was just just intense man. There were so many topics and there was maybe about 50 hours. If I'm not mistaken, Of material and labbing that you know I had to do when it came to studying for the ccnp, Which is primarily why it took me about a year in order to get prepped enough to take the certification outside of that. Of course, You know I use what I always recommend you .

I use the boson exam environment for the ccnp encore exam in order to when I felt decent enough at the topics in order to take some practice tests - and you know just get on the same, You know on the same highway as the certification, So That I knew what to expect new things that I needed to. You know go over again or you know all that, All that good stuff and with just those three things being used to study. It still took me almost a year to get prepped to take the ccnp exam. Those three things, I think, Were a good platforms and good material in order to get me coached up enough in order to take the zam when I think about it. In retrospect, But man it was a very long.

It was a very long journey in order to get the encore exam. I'm gonna be completely honest with you . I was discouraged a lot of the times, Because a lot of the material that was covered wasn't necessarily things that I would I was doing at my job. You know, And I just had moments where I was like. Man, You know, Am I really going to use all this information or you know? Is this going to be beneficial? Excuse me when it comes to seeking jobs or you know, Are t going to ask about this when it comes to interviews like when exactly am I going to use all this information? You know that's one of the things that was constantly in the back of my head because, Like I said a lot of things that were covered, It's not stuff that I was doing at work.

A cisco sd-wan is something that's going to be flourishing within the next couple of years, But you know me still trying to figure out exactly how I'm trying to angle my it career. You know I just had moments where I was just. You know a little on the fence on if I wanted to keep going down this path or if I wanted to pivot towards something else like I said there were so many topics, And so many things that were being talked about while I was studying for the Exam, Which was great information when it comes to like that tier two tier three level. As a network engineer, You know, Of course, Depending on the company, But you know me being still very early in my career. You know I just had you know just those moments of you know like just being at the fork in the road and trying to figure out exactly which way I was gonna go, Which is you know something. I think that everybody goes through.

You know, But anyways. Let's get on to the exam, So the ccnp exam was a beast. Testing 4 was relatively the same as it was with the ccna you get 2 hours and about 100 questions that you have to answer before. Completing the exam there's, No simulations, There's no labing during the exam the majority of it is multiple choice. You might have some drag and drops here and there or you might have some fill in the blanks, But the test is along the same lines as the ccna. So if you're, Taking the ccna, The structure of the ccnp and how you will be tested is relatively the same, Just like the ccna the two hours was very long me.

Personally, I used the entire two hours in order to take the certification. I know some people just fly through it. T get done.

Maybe 30 minutes early, But you know I was really trying to pay attention to what I was doing and make sure that I got. You know a thorough understanding of the question prior to answering them. As far as the exam topics t covered the exam topics fairly evenly. T had a good mix of architectural questions and virtualization questions.

T didn't really lean any direction when it came to you know, You know it's anything being talked about more than the other or anything along those lines. I think that everything was covered pretty evenly one exam topic that I wish that I had studied more and you know been more conscientious of was of course, Automation and automation is that thing that's becoming extremely relevant when it comes to networking and after Taking the ccnp, I realized that that's something that I'm definitely going to have to get comfortable with. If I want to continue going down this path to either get the ccie or just when it comes to progressing as a network engineer period, Because scripps and python and json and ansible all of those things are starting to become the work smarter instead of harder. You know kind of angle that people are using to approach network engineering and network development.

I scored a 951 on the exam, Which is very high, Very impressed with myself. Like I said, If you study the material passing, The exam wouldn't be hard. It's just studying the material, That's the hard part. The journey is like, Like most people say: oh it's not about the destination. It's about the journey. I concur with that 100.

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When it comes to the ccnp exam man, I I can't get over it. The the CCNP just studying, For it was just just a lot to be completely honest. It was like studying for two exams the amount of time that I used, Studying just for the ccnp encore by itself. I could have used to study two exams and probably pass two certifications when it comes to the article series, If I'm not mistaken, It's like roughly 53 hours or something like that when it comes to the c cbt nuggets article series and the specialties when it comes to the ccnp are about half the time I've seen maybe like 25 hours of articles or 28 or something along those lines.

Long story short: the point is. The ccnp encore exam covers all of the core topics. Everything that you need to know prior to getting that specialty certification like advanced routing or wireless solutions or automation or whatever angle you want to go after finishing the CCNP.

I was completely burnt out and I'm not saying this to discourage anybody. But that's just that's. Just how it was I wasn't even like I was more happy to be done with the exam than I was than I was when it came to actually passing it passing. It was fine.

I'm like great I passed, But I was just glad to be done because man is just a solid year of studying the same. It's not even the same material. It's just a solid year of studying. You know one book in one article series that kind of just took a toll on me man I was so burnt out after I took the exam. That's why it took so long for me to make this article, Because it was just so much man and it just wore me out so bad and on top of that shortly after taking the exam I got covered so on top of being burnt out, I was Out of commission for 10 days because I don't know how I managed to get it but I managed to get exposed to covet and catch it.

That's a whole another story, Man laura mercy. That was hard to deal with. While I was sick, I was trying to figure out the next avenue I was going to take when it came to my career and.

Just you know getting on the web and surfing the internet talking to a couple of people that I consider mentors and just trying to get an angle on exactly you know. What's in demand when it comes to network engineers. As far as specialties is concerned, I found out that some of the things that companies are looking for, That a lot of people don't really kind of focus on, Is you know, Network engineers that specialize in firewalls and wireless, Which prompt the question that I asked a Few weeks back, If whether or not when it came to specializing with the ccnp, If you would go the wireless route, That's one of those certs that not a lot of people focus on. I don't even think there's any article series on the ccnp wireless right now. Um but one thing I was debating on, But . One thing I was debating on after getting a recovery is which direction I was gonna, Go down and .

After doing some research and after seeing you know the kind of material that was available when it came to studying for either wireless or you know focusing on firewalls, I decided to focus on firewalls. So recently I just brought a dell poweredge r620 server and I've been doing a lot of work in order to try to get it set up so that I could do some labs. The next article we'll be talking about that.

But before we go into all of that, The ccnp, Shortly after obtaining the ccnp I wanted to ask myself: was it worth it? And that is a hard question to answer right now, Like I said it's still very early and it's not exactly the ccnp. Yet it's only half of the ccnp. I managed to talk to a couple of people, And you know you know get in the ear of a couple of engineers and you know ask if the ccnp was a good certification to get when it came to trying to obtain jobs. And I got a bunch of yes and notes primarily because I told you about them.

You know wanting people that specialize in wireless or network security, So it's a little too early to tell if whether or not this certification is worth it. Yet what I recommend for someone who has a ccna if t should get the CCNP, It's still too early to answer that as well. I will say that I've been reached out to quite a lot by recruiters when it came to you know different job roles and things along those lines, But you know it's weird.

I get a lot of weird job offerings. T ask for like senior senior network engineer. You know.

I need somebody with 10 years of experience and I'm like. I just became a network engineer a few months ago, But like you know, Once once you get this ecmp on your resume. Those are the kind of people that reach out to you,.

I haven't really had a chance to explore that side of things yet but that's something that would definitely be in the works over the course of the next few months, Or so you know, But anyways, That is . My review of the ccnp. But if you do stick with it and you go into the dungeon that battle the beast with all the studying and labbing that you put in, You will likely come out on top. One thing that I also wanted to mention is that when it came to studying for this certification there wasn't a lot of labbing that helped when it came first, When it came to studying for this particular certification. I noticed that none of the labs that I was doing really helped.

A lot of these topics were things that, Were, You know, Way above the likes of packet tracer, And you know a lot of the things that a lot of the topics that were covered in this particular certification. Wasn'T things that I can simulate in a program like that, Which is one of the reasons why I decided to purchase the dell server, Because I was going to try and see if I could potentially get my hands on some vms. That would simulate. You know wireless lan controllers, You know potentially sd-wan, I'm not sure.

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