There are more or less 500,000 individuals around the world who hold one or more Cisco certifications. Acquiring one is definitely a strong credential that an individual can use in getting a well-paid job. A highly sought after Cisco certification is CCNP or Cisco Certified Network Professional, a proof of an individual s ability to install, implement and troubleshoot local and wide area networks for organizations with 100 to 500 end devices. Because of this, a lot of job positions await CCNP certification passers and these include Network Technician, Network Engineer, Level 2 Systems Engineer, Network Administrator to name a few. Indeed, CCNP does not only provide a career to increase an individual s market value, but it will also pave the way in achieving expert level certifications such as Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE).

Looking back, Cisco started out giving CCNP certifications several years ago. However, a change on the structure of the exam was implemented in April of 2003, introducing four revised courses and exams. These revisions revealed a greater emphasis on topics that include converged networks, security, virtual private networks (VPN), quality of service (QoS) and broadband technologies. This change also gave way for the expansion of CCNP s hands-on component, which means that candidates will be more exposed to remote lab simulations and exercises. This added more value to a candidate s qualification to perform multiple tasks such as designing, configuring and troubleshooting enterprise networks.

But then again, learning and discovering new or revised network solutions should not end after getting a CCNP certification as this will only last for three years. There is a need for recertification and one should pass a Composite exam first before obtaining the CCNP title once again.

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