How to Prepare for CCNP?


CCNP is actually an extension of what you learned in CCNA. That is  why Cisco has made CCNA as the pre-requisite for attempting CCNP exams.

In CCNP Routing and Switching, there are three Examinations that you need to pass in order to earn Cisco CCNP Cert in R&S. These exams are:

  • 300-101 ROUTE – Implementing Cisco IP Routing
  • 300-115 SWITCH – Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks
  • 300-135 TSHOOT – Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks

It is advisable to take CCNP Route first. The exam code for this as of now is 300-101. It is an extension of what you had learned in CCNA, but several topics are discussed in-depth. These topics include RIPv2, OSPF, BGP, and WANs. Try to solve all the chapter end exercises in the official Cisco Route book. You can take a few practice tests on CCNP Route available from third party vendors to test your knowledge. Note that the official fee for taking these exams is very high, of the order of 200-300 US$. The practice tests are cheap, as low as US$30 with good quality questions. Though you can read any reviews in forums, do not rely on dumps, usually, they are outdated and provide wrong answers.

Next exam that you would prefer to attempt is CCNP Switch. This exam is relatively easy, and would take less than a week, if you prepare full  time. Here too, take chapter end questions, and understand the concepts thoroughly. You may take a few CCNP Switch practice tests that are available for as low as US$30. It would boost confidence levels for passing the exam. It also helps you in knowing any weak areas that you may need to improve.

The toughest among the three is the CCNP TShoot exam. Not if you have sufficient hands-on experience with routers and switches. The exam is more about troubleshooting techniques that you may need when attempting to solve networking problems. Some vendors have netsims for hands on experience. You can also use Packet Tracer available from Cisco.  You may also check out the CCNA Netsim available from

Job Opportunities:

There are good job opportunities for CCNP certified candidates. However, note that you need to be pursuing networking as your career, rather than a stop gap arrangement. Average salaries range from around 90000 USD up to 130,000 USD. Checkout with portals that offer networking jobs in your geographical area.

Further Certifications:

Ofcourse, CCNP is not the end. You can continue your journey by going to the expert-level certs suchs as CCIE or you may also attempt other concentrations such as CCNP Cloud. It mainly depends on your interests and your present work area.

Good luck!