Well, it's only been a few days and I am taking a short break between studies but I already have that urge in me to start considering my next steps. I think my main goal of course is to really elevate myself to a top tier level in the Cisco world. Whether it ends up only at CCNP or all the way to the CCIE remains to be seen but I definitely want to go as far as I can. I feel like after obtaining the CCNA, the whole world has opened and is such an awesome feeling! Of course, my other main goal is to actually get a job working with Cisco technologies being the main reason I'm pursuing my Cisco certs in the first place.
I have already received questions and suggestions from friends and colleagues as to what my next steps are. Most of the suggestions have been to immediately head towards CCNP and build a strong foundation on routing and switching. This seems like a very logical step to take. Also, looking at the other CCNA level certs look appealing.
So from a 50,000 foot level, how would you approach this decision? At the same time while I continue my studies, I feel like I'm ready to make my next step toward a career change in IT and will continue my efforts there. I have a degree and have been working with Enterprise Cloud Serrvices for over 6 years. With that said, how important is practical experience with Cisco technologies to go to the CCNP level or any other certifications at the CCNA level?
Looking forward to your thoughts and suggestions.
If you are currently employed in some field of IT but not network related, I would focus about 50% on finding a position that is closer to what you want to be doing and 50% of your time on studying for the CCNP (ROUTE, SWITCH, TSHOOT). If you aren't working in IT at all, you might want to focus a little more time on getting an entry level network job.
I was working in IT when I done my Cisco certs and done them in the followin order--CCNA, CCDA, CCNP, CCDP, CCSP, CCIE Security. There were some other minor specializations along the way. Although I took them in that order, I think CCNP is a solid next step after CCNA.
Hi Paul, thanks for the advice. Currently, I work for a large enterprise software company supporting the daily operations for Software as a Service (SaaS) systems such as change management, configurations, client configurations, upgrades, system monitoring etc. After doing this for a while, I have realized that my true interest is in networking technologies. The 50/50 approach seems to be a very logical and attainable approach.
Hmmmmm...... When you say monitoring systems, what kind of systems? Are you monitoring the network itself, or the servers that host the SaaS or the applications themselves? The reason I ask is that the CCNA SP Ops may be another route to consider.
Sorry for any confusion, when I said "monitoring systems", I was meaning the application servers themselves. Our clients applications run on Jboss and we monitor the health of the application servers and fix issues related to that.
Thanks for the suggestion, as that's interesting. I'm really amazed at how many different choices have become available.