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Just passed TSHOOT first try(CCNP completed!) - Some Thoughts on the exam

The tickets in TSHOOT were completely fair IMO and I know I got them all right. However, the test environment was a little buggy and SLOW. Each ticket took a long time to load, and I almost clicked done on my first ticket because I thought my test was broken.

The only things I got wrong were a couple of multiple choice questions that I really wasn't prepared for. This is probably because I had to wait a month to take it after I took ROUTE due to budgeting.

My advice to anyone looking to take it is to take it as soon as possible after your second exam. Just take a week or two to build the topology in your homelab and really practice break/fixing it. Memorizing the topology saved me SO MUCH time. Also, not taking too long will allow you to still have some of that information fresh from the other exams that you will need for the multiple choice questions.

Well, I am now a CCNP and I am damn proud of it. I'm going to take a short study break of a week or two and move onto the CCIE.

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Congratulations!

Nice job! Keep it up!

Nice job.

Hell yeah. Congrats!

2 points · 15 days ago

Congrats. I’ll be sitting in a couple of weeks and hope to have your experience!

Just re-certed on TSHOOT yesterday. The multiple choice questions are terrible. I noticed spelling mistakes in the tickets in the actual configs, and at least one ticket had 2 issues, and yet you can only choose 1 answer.

Traceroute/ping gave different results for the same device, so that was fun. Certain show commands gave conflicting information on at least one ticket too. The tickets did load very slow, and they really have no improved the test at all in the last 3 years. The multiple windows required to be kept open really is cumbersome while troubleshooting multiple devices.

Memorizing the topology is a time saver though!

Traceroute/ping gave different results for the same device, so that was fun.

I ran into this as well. Very annoying, especially after paying $300 for it. I actually failed last Friday. I ran out of time and I think part of that was the fact that the IPv6 questions had really funky ping/traceroute results.

Hopefully you can take it again soon and knock it out. I got stuck on one IPv6 question for awhile too. Not great.

Scheduled for the 16th!

congrats, but might I ask why you bothered with CCNP if you were considering CCIE? last I checked, there are no prereqs for CCIE?

Original Poster5 points · 15 days ago

There aren't any, but my reasoning is kind of two-fold. First, my job is mostly layer 2 stuff, so I'm going through the certification track in order to learn everything. Second, I know it will take me more than a year to study for the IE, so I'm hoping putting the NP on my resume might help me get a higher paying job.

gotcha. more power to you. I wasn't even considering CCNP myself but it looks like it is valued in the marketplace more than i was led to believe and my current CCNAs (R&S, Security) are set to expire this year, so I figured I might as well go for it. no aspirations for CCIE though. my head is reeling from switch alone so far (I do light switch stuff day to day, so a lot of this I rarely touch if ever)

If you don't have the knowledge required to pass the CCNP, you couldn't even come close to passing the CCIE written, nevermind the CCIE lab.

Here's a peek at what study for that looks like. I'm working on a lab currently with 31 routers, two switches, 7 different IGP instances (including 5 different areas), MP BGP, DMVPN, ipv4 and ipv6, multicast, qos, and encryption. The only thing done for you when you start is the vast majority of IPv4 addressing is assigned (no IPv6), and the devices are "wired" to each other as they should be, mostly. You have to check about 75-80 interfaces to make sure they're ACTUALLY connected and addressed correctly before you even start with any of the fun stuff.

My first run through, I had full connectivity between all devices in about 3 hours, with probably another 90 minutes to complete the odds and ends, w/o looking at any book, documentation, or anything. There's simply no chance that you would be able to do that if you don't have a complete mastery of the CCNP skills, nevermind do it getting 80%+ of the points in 6 hours.

Sure, you can learn all of the CCNP topics w/o taking the exam. However, the time to learn things to the NP level vs the IE level are years apart for most people, so it's nice to have something to show the progress in between. On top of that, it's a good check to make sure you've truly mastered the foundational topics before moving on to the IE. It's a lot cheaper too, the NP exams are far less than a single IE lab attempt (not counting travel and expenses).

Well, I am now a CCNP and I am damn proud of it. I'm going to take a short study break of a week or two and move onto the CCIE.

Just a question about the above and I've been wondering this for awhile. Are you already a network engineer or something and just trying to get the certs to boost your credentials or is this something you are pursuing to learn more about networking in general and move to the next level of your career? I am asking because I work as a "network technician" but I am not a full fledged network admin or engineer. I've already passed my CCNP switch and am slowly transitioning to ROUTE but I don't work with routing outside of static routes in our environment. I am also wanting to go further in my career than where I am at now so I thinking a CCNP will help me make the leap to a network admin but I am unsure if I will just be treated as another "CCNP on paper only". I've delved into VRFs and BGP and feel like I've learned something completely new and different so that shows my experience already.

Original Poster3 points · 15 days ago

Kind of both?

I work as a network administrator in a school district and my job is mostly layer 2, with some basic routing. So I want to learn everything. But also, I know that the CCIE is going to take me a long time to study for and I'd like to put the CCNP on my resume in hopes of landing a better gig.

As far as being a "CCNP on paper only" I honestly don't care about that stigma. I'm learning A LOT and I am doing labs every day. I realize that someone with more experience will be payed better or have the leg up on me in an interview but it is what it is. I love learning the material and I don't do dumps or any of that bullshit so I can answer any interview question or configure whatever I need to (of the stuff I know so far). Plus having the cert helps get past HR to land interviews, and I am strong in interviews.

So learning, plus the possibility for more money makes these certs well worth the time for me.

As far as being a "CCNP on paper only" I honestly don't care about that stigma. I'm learning A LOT and I am doing labs every day. I realize that someone with more experience will be payed better or have the leg up on me in an interview but it is what it is. I love learning the material and I don't do dumps or any of that bullshit so I can answer any interview question or configure whatever I need to (of the stuff I know so far). Plus having the cert helps get past HR to land interviews, and I am strong in interviews.

So learning, plus the possibility for more money makes these certs well worth the time for me.

That is where I am with getting my CCNP. I figure I might not have the experience of a true NP but at least I will learn a lot in the process and it will get my foot in the door for an interview. ROUTE has been a challenge to learn as I don't use ROUTE topics very much in the day to day hustle.

Congrats on your NP cert anyhow.

Comment deleted14 days ago

Well said! "You're an NP on paper only because you don't touch frame relay on a daily basis!" LMAO

I feel like everything is an exaggeration. If you work for an end customer/enterprise/whatever, you probably aren't running BGP and OSPF and EIGRP and ISIS. But you're probably running at least one IGP and BGP in some form. The fact that you don't use EVERYTHING on a daily basis doesn't make you a "CCNP on paper only", but if you don't use MOST things, then you certainly risk being in that territory.

Again, there's always some room for interpretation. If someone moved from enterprise to service provider and found themselves no longer doing the L2 work they once did in exchange for hardcore MPBGP, that's not a paper cert. If they never had any working knowledge of L2 or any routing stuff outside of MPBGP, that might be.

Comment deleted13 days ago

I think you're treating the statement too rigidly while also putting to much faith that "viable organizational structures" inherently produce or maintain good network engineers.

You can be the master of BGP troubleshooting at Google, but that doesn't not itself make you a good network engineer or useful to anyone else, you'd just be a person who knew a whole lot about a little, and worked for someone with a big name.

There's no strict formula that determines if someone's CCNP really has backing or if they got it from a book; overall though it really depends on how many topics they actively use or have used in the past and maintain some sort of reasonable proficiency on. You could be working in the industry 20 years, but again if you only work at a place that runs EIGRP on a few devices, has relatively standard L2 implementations, and uses BGP solely to dual home to a DIA ISP, that probably doesn't give you a real strong justification to say you're truly CCNP qualified.

The idea behind the CCNP is not that you know a few things well, it's that you know most everything it covers well, and that's very hard to do if you don't have stick time on most of them. People typically can and will determine this in an interview, as you coming out as a consultant, etc.

I think you misrepresented my position on this. I was just asking OP why he felt the need to get an NP and then start with the IE? I've been debating about finishing my NP because I only do a lot of L2 with Cisco switches but not a lot regarding L3 and routers. I've been told that I shouldn't waste my time with the other stuff and that my lack of experience with routing would cancel out any efforts made to learn by obtaining a CCNP. Maybe I received their advice wrong but I was just wondering if OP would share his insight to obtaining his cert in conjunction with their career goals.

Congratulations! I have my ROUTE exam Thursday, would you recommend proceeding to SWITCH straight after or do TSHOOT? I have heard TSHOOT involves a lot of ROUTE so may be worth doing it whilst it's fresh

Original Poster2 points · 15 days ago

This is a tough call. I did SWITCH first, then ROUTE, then TSHOOT and I found TSHOOT to be the easiest of the three. I think having ROUTE fresh definitely helps, but you still need to have the lab experience for the stuff on SWITCH.

Someone I know did this, which I thought was kind of an interesting approach: Learn the SWITCH material and focus hard on the labs, take TSHOOT while all the lab stuff is fresh for both exams (almost like a mid-term), then spend the next week or so deep diving into the SWITCH material for memorization stuff, etc. and take that as the final CCNP exam.

Congrats! Hard work paid off. Do you plan on hitting any of the CCNP offshoots before actually tackling the CCIE? Security, data center, etc.

Original Poster3 points · 14 days ago

No, I'm going right for the IE. I figure I'm better off while this info is still fresh. I waited almost 3 years between my CCNA and my NP and it was a mistake, so I won't do that again.

Yeah, that's what I wanted to avoid. Most of this stuff is extremely perishable and my career constantly has me shape-shifting into new roles that dont use this information consistently. Well, good luck on ccie. If you get some time, can you post your lab set-up for it?

Original Poster1 point · 14 days ago

Sure! I have 4 3650 switches and my routers are all CSR1000v virtual routers that I have on ESXi. My boss was nice enough to let me take home an HP server that was recently decommissioned.

For reference look up the INE topology, that's what I'm using going forward.

Excellent! Thanks a bunch

If you have ESXi, I'd strongly encourage you look at a GNS3 virtual machine and use IOSv over the 1Kv's. I used the 1Kv's directly in ESXi for a long time, and INE's lab book is built for that, but they tend to be buggy, will sometimes not like to come back up after a reload, take forever to reload, and use a ton of resources. There are some things you're going to need them for if you're covering all of the certification topics from every track, but for the most part you can completely do away with them for CCIE level skills in favor of IOSv devices. I've got 31 devices running and am using less than 13% ram (out of 64 gig) and about 65% CPU. I'd probably tank my box before I hit 20 on ram alone with the 1Kv.

Congrats!

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