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Learn and Earn: Cisco Certified Network Professional

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What's the best route to your Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert credential? (Never mind the pun.) If you've earned your CCNA, it's time to keep the momentum going and obtain your Cisco Certified Network Professional. It's back-to-school time!

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Creating a Plan

You wouldn't build a house without a plan. At least, I hope you wouldn't. The same is true for the CCNP certification; you need a plan of attack. Remember: If you want to earn your CCNP, you first must pass the Cisco Certified Network Associate exam.

After you have the CCNA, evaluate the four required exams, and determine which is best for you to start with. Then take the exam objectives, and create a plan to learn each in detail. Decide early on if you need to attend the associated class or work through self-paced study material—or possibly even both.

I recommend that you focus on passing one exam at a time rather than hopping from class to class and then trying to pass all the exams. Knocking these exams out one at a time will build your confidence and help you develop good study habits.

School is back in session; new pencils and shoes with red stripes aren't required, but a daily recess is. Give yourself some downtime—but not too much. A walk around the block before, in the middle of, and after a training session can do wonders. Finally, reward yourself after passing an exam or grasping a new, difficult concept. Take yourself to the movies or a ball game, or organize a game of kickball.

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