When I first studied ROUTE last year, I went through a good portion of the official lab manual, but I don’t feel like I was as serious about it at that time as I am now. This time around, in addition to completing the entire lab manual, I thought I would write about my experiences, or takeaways, from the material as a reminder to myself of the knowledge I’ve learned for when I take the exam. Before, I read and took notes from The Official Cert Guide. This time, I read the Foundation Learning Guide and found that the lab manual perfectly coincides with the layout of the book. Very nice.
On Friday, I took and passed the CCNP SWITCH exam with a score of 967/1000. I knew there were going to be simulation questions on the exam, and of course the very first question I received was one of them! What was kind of funny was that that single question consumed approximately half of the total time I spent taking the exam! The remaining questions went fairly quickly (and easily).
This is the first Cisco Professional-level exam I’ve taken. I must admit, it feels pretty good and I feel like I’m moving forward. Instead of taking a break, I immediately jumped into re-studying for the ROUTE exam as soon as I was done with taking the test. I am glad to be finally studying seriously for the ROUTE exam once again.
In March of 2012, shortly after I passed the CCNA, I began studying for the ROUTE exam. However, it was still bothering me that I hadn’t passed the CCDA (which was the very first Cisco exam I ever attempted, and I failed by approximately two questions the first time). So, even though I had studied for ROUTE last year, I decided to set it aside to finish the CCDA.
After passing that, I looked over the material for SWITCH and thought it might be a better place to start for the CCNP. So I studied for that. Then I set that aside to study for and take the CCNA Voice exam (as it was becoming relevant to my work). And of course, after that I re-studied for and passed CCNP SWITCH.
Looking back on it, it makes perfect sense to me now to take SWITCH before ROUTE. They call it “routing and switching,” probably just because it is alphabetical, but the majority of the topics in SWITCH cover Layer 2 of the OSI model, whereas of course ROUTE covers Layer 3. It just makes sense now to get down the topics of Layer 2 before moving on to Layer 3.
So now that I have a better foundation than when I first started studying for ROUTE last year, I expect things to progress much more rapidly this time around. I’m hoping to take the ROUTE exam in less than two months. Then of course TSHOOT, and right now I also intend to take ARCH to achieve the CCDP. As part of getting back into ROUTE, I re-typed the notes I had posted from the ROUTE Official Cert Guide PDF I created last year. This way I was forced to read the whole thing as I went, instead of just copying and pasting 🙂
Beyond that, I definitely intend to pursue the CCIE R&S, but I may study for and take the JNCIA exam before that time. After all, Juniper is more or less the #2 behind Cisco, and I don’t believe it would hurt to learn a little more about another vendor’s equipment.