One of the most popular Cisco certifications (probably after CCNA) is the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP). A CCNP is like the Master’s degree in the Cisco qualifications arena (CCNA can be considered the Bachelor’s degree and CCIE is the PhD degree!!). With a CCNP certification, a networking professional proves to be a highly qualified specialist for planning, building and maintaining medium to large IP networks.
On January 25, 2010 Cisco announced drastic changes to CCNP certification. The most important one is that instead of taking 4 exams you now need only 3 (ROUTE exam, SWITCH exam and TSHOOT exam). The old 4-exam certification path option will be available until July 31 2010. After that date, only the new 3-exam option will be available. However, from now until July 31 you can mix and match between the old and new exams accordingly.
More details about the new CCNP update below:
• BSCI, BCMSN, ISCW, ONT exams are available until July 31 2010.
• ROUTE exam (642-902) and SWITCH exam (642-813) will be available from March 10, 2010.
• TSHOOT exam (642-832) will be available from April 30, 2010.
• Exams are becoming even more hands-on (for example the TSHOOT troubleshooting exam is mostly hands-on practical concepts).
• Before July 31, 2010 BSCI exam can substitute for ROUTE exam or vice versa.
• Before July 31, 2010 BCMSN exam can substitute for SWITCH exam or vice versa.
• Exam price will be $200 per exam instead of $150.
Overall, the new CCNP update maps better to real-world network environments. Although the exams are less than before, I think it will be more difficult to pass without having actual practical experience with Cisco routers and switches (at least 2 years I would say).
For more details about the new CCNP certification, visit the Cisco link here.