Major changes announced for the Cisco CCNP track

January 29, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Cisco | 1 Comment
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This week Cisco announced sweeping changes to the CCNP certification track. Those of you who are already most of the way through satisfying the requirements for the existing CCNP track might be panicking…

Hurry, hurry, and finish your CCNP before it’s too late!

Okay, not really. First of all, the old exams will be available to take through July 31, 2010. If you pass all four before that date (or three, including 642-892 COMP), they count toward your CCNP. The required exams may be taken in any order:

  • 642-901 BSCI, Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks (through 7/31/10)
  • 642-812 BCMSN, Building Cisco Multilayer Switched Networks (through 7/31/10)
  • 642-825 ISCW, Implementing Secure Converged WANs (through 7/31/10)
  • 642-845 ONT, Optimizing Converged Cisco Networks (through 7/31/10)
  • 642-892 COMP, Composite BSCI and BCMSN (through 7/31/10)

What if I have completed a previous CCNP exam? Can I still count it towards my certification after that date?

To help out those that get caught in the transition between the old and new tracks, Cisco has published a table indicating ways you can mix and match the old and new exams. Anyone seeking certification after July 31 will be required to take the TSHOOT (642-832) exam, but not the replacement exams for the BSCI and BCMSN. Get the details here:

http://ciscocert.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5793/related/1/sno/0

and here:

http://ciscocert.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5792

So what’s the skinny on the all-new track?

After July 31, Cisco is changing the CCNP to a three-exam track. The new exams are Route, Switch, and Troubleshoot. (Yes, that’s what they’re called. Simple, huh. I like it.)  The 642-902 is an update of the 642-901. The 642-813 is an update of the 642-812.

  • 642-902 – ROUTE, Implementing Cisco IP Routing (Available 3/10/10)   **Replaces 642-901 BSCI
  • 642-813 – SWITCH, Implementing Cisco Switched Networks (Available 3/10/10)  **Replaces 642-812 BSMSN
  • 642-832 – TSHOOT, Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks (Available 4/30/10)

(The release date information from Cisco has changed a couple of times since we first caught wind of the new track, so this information is accurate as of today.)

Both the ROUTE and the SWITCH exams include a new emphasis on creating implementation plans. I’m also hearing from some of my contacts that the level of difficulty may increase noticeably for all three tests. The TSHOOT exam is all new and will go through a beta period before it is released. This is a common practice to make sure all the kinks are out of the exam before its starts counting.  Cisco used to include a Troubleshooting exam some years ago. My educated guess, based on what I remember of the old exam, is that it will focus on using show and debug commands to locate and correct problems.

Cisco has also increased the time limit to 120 minutes for each exam. (To me this is another clue that it may be harder, which would be extra incentive to finish up the old track in time!)

Rest assured we already are feverishly creating new practice tests for the new exams. Ann and I will keep you updated as we progress on this.

What about other Cisco certifications and exams?

Any certifications that take expiring exams (such as 642-892 COMP and 642-901 for the CCIP, or 642-901 and 642-812 for the CCDP) will be affected. You can find more details here:

http://ciscocert.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5794

Where can I get more information?

Directly from the Cisco website:

http://www.ciscopress.com/markets/detail.asp?st=44734

From Wendell Odom’s excellent overview:

http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/56413

Until next time,

–Troy McMillan

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  1. I am also hearing from some of my contacts that the level of difficulty can increase markedly for all three tests. The TSHOOT exam is all new and will go through a beta period prior to its release. This is a common practice to make sure that all sprains are out of the test before you start counting.


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