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CCNP Enterprise Certification

By Sean Douglas    |    December 11, 2020

For many years, to obtain the Cisco Certified Network Professional  (CCNP) Routing and Switching certification, candidates had to pass three separate exams: ROUTE, SWITCH, and TSHOOT. That is no longer the case. The CCNP Enterprise certification has replaced the CCNP Routing and Switching certification. To earn the CCNP Enterprise, candidates will need to pass just two exams: a core exam and an enterprise concentration exam of their choice.

What Does a CCNP Do?

The CCNP Enterprise certification is one of the technology industry’s most respected certifications. Having this certification lets employers know that you can design, implement, configure, and troubleshoot complex enterprise networks.  The CCNP Enterprise certification prepares you for today’s professional-level job roles as a network engineer, systems engineer, support engineer,  and network technician.


How Much Can You Make with a CCNP?

There are many job titles commonly associated with the CCNP, and many variables including experience and location. The average US yearly salary for a CCNP Enterprise can range from about $50,000 to well over $100,000. The CCNP Enterprise certification will qualify you for an array of employment opportunities and the chance to earn a higher salary.


What is the Difference Between a CCNA and a CCNP?

The Cisco CCNA certification is a single exam is one of the most highly reputed entry-level networking certifications in the industry. The CCNA is a foundational exam that provides beginners with considerable knowledge about operating IT equipment. The Cisco CCNP Enterprise is a more advanced certification that requires a deeper level of knowledge and understanding of the overall technology used in today’s complex networks. You will also need to pass two exams.


Can I do CCNP without CCNA?

Absolutely. Another significant change to the new testing format is that there are no formal prerequisites for the CCNP Enterprise. Candidates are no longer required to have their CCNA, however they should have a good understanding of the technology before taking the exams.


CCNP Enterprise Exams

Candidates will have to pass one required core exam as well as one of the six CCNP Enterprise concentration exams to fulfill the requirements to obtaining the CCNP Enterprise certification. These concentration exams focus on emerging and industry-specific topics such as network design, SD-WAN, wireless, and automation. In addition, every exam in the CCNP Enterprise earns an individual Specialist certification also, so you get recognized for your accomplishments.


Required Core exam:

The Implementing and Operating Cisco Enterprise Network Core Technologies 350-401 (ENCOR) is a required exam that focuses on your knowledge of enterprise infrastructure including dual-stack (IPv4 and IPv6) architecture, virtualization, infrastructure, network assurance, security, and automation. Passing this exam will earn the Cisco Certified Specialist - Enterprise Advanced Infrastructure Implementation certification.


Concentration exams (choose one):

The Implementing Cisco Enterprise Advanced Routing and Services 300-410 (ENARSI) exam tests your knowledge of implementation and troubleshooting for advanced routing technologies and services including EIGRP, OSPF, BGP, and MPLS. Passing this exam will earn the Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Advanced Infrastructure Implementation certification.

The Implementing Cisco SD-WAN Solutions 300-415 (ENSDWI) exam tests your knowledge of Cisco’s SD-WAN solution, including: SD-WAN architecture, controller deployment, edge router deployment, security, multicast, as well as management and operation. Once completing this exam, you will receive the Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise SD-WAN Implementation certification

The Designing Cisco Enterprise Networks 300-420 (ENSLD) exam tests your knowledge of enterprise design, including advanced addressing and routing solutions, advanced enterprise campus networks, WAN, security services, network services, and software defined access (SDA). Once you complete this exam, you will also get your Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Design certification.

The Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks 300-425 (ENWLSD) exam tests your knowledge of wireless network design, including site surveys, wired and wireless infrastructure, mobility, and WLAN high availability. After passing this exam, you will obtain the Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Design certification.

The Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks 300-430 (ENWLSI) exam tests your knowledge of wireless network implementation, including FlexConnect, QoS, multicast, advanced location services, monitoring, and device hardening. Passing this test will earn you the Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Implementation certification.

The Automating and Programming Cisco Enterprise Solutions 300-435 (ENAUTO) exam tests your knowledge of implementing enterprise automated solutions including programming concepts, python programming, APIs, controllers, and automation tools. If you pass this exam, you will obtain the Cisco Certified DevNet Specialist – Enterprise Automation and Programmability certification.


CCNP Enterprise Exam Prep

One of the best ways to prepare for CCNP certification is to finish the Cisco CCNA exam first. Although not required, completing this exam will help substantially to build up the technological knowledge of the topics that will be covered in the Cisco CCNP. Once this foundational knowledge is firmly in place, it is time to solidify an understanding of the more advanced topics covered in the Enterprise exams using a combination of Pluralsight courses, Cisco technical books, configuration guides, and hands-on practice


Pluralsight Courses

Pluralsight has complete learning paths for many of the CCNP Enterprise exams. These courses will prepare you with the knowledge to pass both the Cisco CCNP Enterprise ENCOR exam, a variety of the concentration exams, and give you the skills to excel and be your technical best. These courses include:


Practicing for the Exam

Hands-on can be obtained using a work test bed, simulation, purchasing lab time from lab providers, building a home lab, or scheduling Cisco cloud lab resource access using DevNet Sandbox. DevNet Sandboxes offers fully scripted, customizable environments available almost instantly in the cloud for free. Work test beds are available to some current engineers and make life a little easier as the equipment can be used and the practice may be allowed within working hours. Home labs can be a great option; however, these are expensive and difficult to duplicate complex network environments. The Cisco VIRL simulator is an exception tool that runs the same operating systems used by physical switches and routers.


Someone once told me that when it comes to Cisco CCNP exams, “they don’t give them away.” Some exams are tougher than others, however they are worth it. The process that goes into preparing to pass a Cisco certification exam is quite subjective and depends greatly on the time and resources available. At his level of certification, we must know the content, be able to configure it, and understand how to troubleshoot it. Once you are ready, give it your best shot. Worst case, revamp and do it again. The key to being successful with Cisco exams is perseverance, persistence, and remaining positive.


About the author

Author Sean Douglas has more than 17 years of experience working extensively with Cisco technology. For the last decade, he has worked as a Cisco Systems Engineer that consults with a variety of clients to design, implement, build from the ground up, and maintain their Cisco Collaboration Solutions. Sean is CCNP in Routing and Switching, Wireless, and Collaboration.